How Appearance Relates to Success

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“Clothes make the man” is an old adage coined by someone who understood the correlation between personal appearance and success.  Over the years, other expressions have become popular to make the same point: “Dress for success” is sound advice for anyone going on a job interview. During their training sessions, salesmen, who rely on their image and communication skills to make a living, are advised that they need to look successful if they want to be successful.


Dressing for Success

Successful people tend to look successful. Business attire or “business casual” is the standard we expect of them. The important thing for women to remember is to steer clear of provocative clothing that would be better suited to the beach or a night club. Many men have become sloppy about their clothing, wearing baggy pants and oversized t-shirts, so they need to remember that an unkempt look makes a disastrous impression on people who care about personal appearance.


First Appearances

All of us make judgments about people based on their appearance. People who proclaim their individuality by refusing to conform to accepted standards of personal appearance only set themselves up for failure and self-delusion. It may be unfair to judge people by their appearance, but this is the way humans instantly evaluate each other, and if people who proclaim the injustice of this were to be completely honest with themselves, they would realize that they are no different from the rest of us when it comes to making judgments about people based on first impressions.

“You only have one chance to make a good first impression.”The truth of this adage has been revealed in studies about the way people communicate. Most people make judgments about new acquaintances within the first few seconds of interaction. Appearance is almost everything at this point because there hasn’t been time to reveal much else. To make a good first impression, it is important to wear attractive, appropriate clothing and be well-groomed, and remember that a smile is the expression that puts people at ease.



Probably the most important aspect of personal appearance is that it reveals how people feel about themselves.  Self-confidence is crucial to success, and well-groomed people look confident even if they may not always feel it. Confidence in personal appearance will help to compensate for other insecurities and help to build confidence.


Unforeseen Opportunities

It is important to make the effort to dress neatly every day when going out into public because opportunities can present themselves at any time. It can be disappointing to miss out on a chance to make a positive impression on someone because of an unkempt or inappropriate appearance.


Everyone who wants to make a mark on the world needs to understand the relationship between personal appearance and success. The way we dress is a crucial part of the way we present ourselves to the public. It is a part of us that speaks to others without the need for words. We all make judgments about  each other based on our personal appearance, so it is important to think about what kind of image we want to project to the world. Dressing for success is one of the first steps towards feeling and becoming successful. Since first impressions are the most important and lasting, successful people understand the need to look their best whenever they go out into public. Opportunities often come unannounced, so it is worth the effort to always try to present ourselves in a positive way. Most importantly, the way we dress projects the way we feel about ourselves. An attractive appearance projects self-confidence, whereas a sloppy or slutty appearance projects a negative self-image.