first impressions

First Impressions

More than first impressions. You are about to read several facts that suggest conclusions which we don't pretend to fully understand or condone. However, we do wish to empart this information upon you such that you may use it to your advantage. What you ask, would have us so pensive that we would make such claims about not "creating" or "owning " this message ourselves? Well, the data suggests discrimination and societal bias which is exactly WHY YOU CARE! (and probably why you clicked on that sweet vixon above). Let's start with an obscure but relavant definition of the word lookism from Meriam Webster's online dictionary and then we'll get into the facts...all necessary before we get into first impressions.

LOOKISM: prejudice or discrimination based on physical appearance and especially physical appearance believed to fall short of societal notions of beauty

Now The Facts, Looks Matter:

  • Attractive Men Make More Money

    • In the U.S. above average looking men make 5.4% more than average looking men*
    • Below average looks in the U.S. are penalized by as much as 9% relative to average men*
    • Young men in the U.S. recieve a premium of just over 10% for being attractive*
    • In Shanghai, Australia and the UK, attractive premiums are smaller but the penalty for below average looks range from 18- 25%
  • Taller Men Make More Money

    • Taller Men make approximately 1.5% more per inch for every inch over average height**
    • Every two inches over average height is equivalent to one year of experience in pay**
  • Weight has been shown to be inversely proportional to wage

    • That means as weight goes above average, wages have been shown to fall below average
    • A study by professor John Cawley found that 65lbs overweight costs a woman as much as 7% in potential wages

Ouch! looks matter! premiums for being better than average and penalty's for being worse than average. This applys to looks, weight and height! Lookism sounds great if your in that better than average category but anyone that knows a thing or two about distributions realizes that if normally distributed, 50% of the male population falls below average. That's for each category, when it's all said and done, far more than 50% of the male professional population is slapped with one of these below average penalty's.

So what's a man to do? Well, we all know who's in controll of your weight. That one is back at you. If you're less accountable to yourself than the average man then it's time you own up and get your ass in gear! if you have a truely legit excuse, there are slimming techniques that you can use with your wardrobe.

Wardrobe as a matter of fact is your best solution or advantage to all of these unfortunate realities. you can help people percieve you to be taller, help them percieve you to be thinner and as a matter of fact, move people to think your more attractive by employing the right practices into your dress and style. Before we go into detail on tips & tactics for each, there's something else you should know...

First Impressions

Initial impressions are established within 30 seconds. Study results from various sources conclude that instant impressions are established between 7 and 17 seconds of an intial interaction. Some studies conclude less than 20 seconds and as low as 5 seconds, others conclude that "thin-slicing" can take up to 30 seconds to generate a lasting impression. Regardless of which study you choose to be your reference, the overwhelming consistency is that first impressions are immediate upon initial interactions!

Additionally, the effort and time required to change a first impression (not yet scientifically proven) is enormous. Some suggest that upwards of the 35% of people will never change thier first impression and as many as 60% of people seek multiple examples and interactions that disprove their first impression hypothesis. Suffice it to say, changing someone's first impression is difficult and requires an investment on your part.

first impression composition So what's the composition of a first impression? good question, how can we manage it if we don't know what it's made of? This simple pie chart helps explain. The overwhelming component is physical appearance which makes up 55% of a first impression. The next most important piece is voice inflextion and tonality; the friendliness factor. lastly, the part that should matter most but matters least; your actual message or words.

Why is all this relavent? Well, the truth is you don't actually have to be tall or attractive or even fit. You just have to help people think you are . If you learn how to property manage proportions and establish symmetry in your wardrobe you can actually emulate what humans and nature constitue as beauty. Beauty in nature is symmetry as well as the golden ratio (phi: 1.618, roughly). The golden ratio and symmetry is your friend learn to use them in your dress and help others to relate you to beauty.

For all things perception when it comes to human impressions, the wardrobe can be magical. Learn how to use it to your advantage and you won't be penalized for being below average in a category that has no relavance to the true you. That's why you care!

*Hamermesh & Biddle, '94

**Leigh & Kortt; The University of Sydney & The Australian National University

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