Do Man Make Clothes or Do Clothes Make Man?

The Second Contribution

The Tree of Knowledge by Lucas Cranach the Elder

~ The Contributions is a collection of work not personally done by me but by friends who with sincere generosity have allowed for publication here.

Therefore, work found in the contributions may not be similar with my general line of thought. Thus, I will not comment, scrutinize, plagiarize, and justify anything that has been written here.

However, work posted in the contributions is in my sincere and humble opinion worth reading not only for knowledge but for pleasure!!

And like Voltaire, I may disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

~ ESZ, James Ee

The Emperor’s New Clothes by Vilhelm Pedersen

Clothes makes the man

When I tell you to visualize Superman, Batman or any superhero, what immediately comes to mind? You may think that it’s their powers set them apart, but really, it’s their outfits that make them each so uniquely memorable.

Despite you might say that it is his powers that make him superman, it is his suit that tells everyone who he is. Simply put, I am talking about projecting your identity through your external appearances. As a student of communication and social sciences, I understand that the way you project yourself is how others perceive you as a company or an individual.

You know that old saying? Don’t judge a book by its covers? Throw that saying away! Because whether we like it or not and whether its right or wrong, people do judge based on appearances. It’s a sad but true fact of the world we live in. An example, if you were a millionaire, and one day, out of boredom, you decide to dress up like a beggar. When you a take a stroll in the park, would people see you as a millionaire or a beggar?

Whether it is the first date or that very important job interview, most people would firstly consider what they would wear on that occasion. Why? Because we know, if we were to employ someone, or get involved with them romantically, we would first think about how they have impressed us. We can’t control our DNA, so we can’t control our facial features, and unless you are rich enough for plastic surgery. The one thing we can control is the way we look and carry ourselves. And that’s the key to a good impression, because it’s pretty much impossible to impress upon others your good character, your amazing personality or whatever traits you might possess all within the first few minutes of meeting someone new, so indeed we must leave it up to our appearances to make a good first impression.

Most of the time, before we even open our mouths, our appearances have already communicated what we are really like to those around us. I am sure most of us here have seen a person walk pass and without even so much as a “Hello!”, you’ve already decided what kind of character that this person might have. If he dress formally, you would conclude that he were a business man. If he were in black, he is obviously a goth.

Put yourself in this situation. Imagine you are a person who is generally clean and neat, and on way to an important meeting, you have somehow managed wrinkle your suit and get stains on it. When meeting your prospective client, and he sees that mess. Do you think he would believe that your are responsible and capable enough to handle his account seeing as how you are not even capable of taking care of yourself. Despite how capable you are, if you are perceived otherwise, you have already lost the account. And the tool to manipulate this perception, is… well, you are wearing it right now as you sit there reading this.

The way you project yourself is what makes or breaks you. However, while this effects how other people perceive you, you must not forget, that the very first person who sees you every day, is actually yourself. Perception of one self, believe it or not, can also be largely impacted by what you see on yourself. You’d say, confidence is supposed to be an intrinsic emotion, but most of the time, it is built by extrinsic appearances. That is why women would spend their hard-earned salary for branded clothes and to get their hair done in the newest fashion. And these days, the same can be said for many guys. By wearing something good or attractive, it makes us believe that we are as good and attractive. But sometimes it works as a form of reinforcement for an existing feeling. An example, ever wake up one morning, feeling lousy, so you grab any clothes you can find and put it on, and then go out. Then, when you are out of the house, you suddenly feel self-conscious about how you look. You wonder when someone would suddenly jump out and exclaim “Have you no fashion sense?”, and this ends up effecting your mood and how you feel about yourself throughout the day.

Generally, you come to believe something by what you see. Despite the fact that I have used clothes in each of my examples, what I am saying is definitely not limited by just clothes. It encompasses a large variety of things that could project your identity, be it your car or accessories. And of course, it is false that perception of a person is solely based on appearance, but to gain better understanding of a person requires time, but if you don’t have a good impression of a person in the first place, would you even bother to stay back and gain that “better understanding”.

So, what I suggest to you all is this, the only way for you to be seen as confident and comfortable as who you are is to always make sure you present yourself as such not just to others but also to yourself, turn that projection into a belief and it will definitely take you places. An English writer, Robert Oxton Bolton once said, “A belief is not merely an idea the mind possesses. It is an idea that possesses the mind.” When you believe you are as good or attractive as that person in the mirror, you will be.



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