The Clothing We Wear-Part 3
The Value of Making a Good First-Impression
Do you realize the value of making a good first impression? As human thinking has shown, “It’s in our nature to form hasty opinions and make quick generalizations”.  People notice what we wear, and they form opinions of us based on that first instantaneous glimpse.
This is the third part of my four-part blog on The Clothing We Wear. Stay with me as we further explore the type clothing people wear and the reasoning behind it.
Next, read through the story I am about to tell and contemplate your own daily fashion statement.
Pajamas in the Park
Sitting in the park in the early morning with the warm breeze blowing through my hair, I close my eyes, roll my head back, and lift my face to the sun. The warmth of the sun is comforting as I lean back on my arms and swing my legs which dangle from the picnic table top that I chose to sit on. Somehow dangling my legs makes me feel free and child-like, without responsibilities. It feels good to be alive at this moment in time. I inhale a deep breath and lower my face to look out over the park, observing the people that are passing through.
Something catches my attention at the corner of my vision. Is that man walking a dog actually wearing his pajamas? My eyes cannot look away and my mind is stunned. The reality hits home that indeed he is. To amuse the onlooker, even more, his comical reddish-brown hair is sticking out in every direction. Apparently, his appearance is not a major concern of his daily presentation. The faraway look in his eyes depicts a man lost in thought. The dog is oblivious to the man’s exhibition however and happily trots along in front leading him on a routine daily walk, unimpressed by the leash to which he is tethered.
The pajamas are loose and baggy, navy blue in color with small defined designs on them. As he comes closer into my field of vision the designs appear to be mini Scottish Terriers, a fitting replica of his own little pooch. The tortoiseshell framed glasses perched on his nose and the dark-colored jogging shoes complete his attire.
I would think he simply rolled out of bed and hooked up the dog before heading absentmindedly out the door except for the jogging shoes and glasses. I wonder if he is even aware that he is out in public, traipsing through a city park.
Dressing the Way You Feel
Have you witnessed this scene before? Are you someone that can be seen walking your dog or going out to the mailbox in your pajamas or bathrobe? Or even more entertaining, do you run to the grocery store dressed in clothes that would be better off worn at a burlesque costume party?
Maybe you are not feeling well or perhaps you’ve had an argument with your best friend. Need the comfort of Mom and home cooked food? Out come the sweatpants and chicken soup.
If you’re like most people, your emotions can be identified by your facial expressions. But your clothing can be extremely revealing as well.
As human beings, we are subject to daily mood changes according to our body chemistry. On some days we are concerned with how we appear to others. Other times, we experience indifference worthy of a sloth.
“Your personal style is a form of nonverbal communication, just like your facial expressions and your body language. If someone were to smile while giving you some really bad news, you would feel especially uncomfortable. If an acquaintance invited you to her house for a friendly lunch and then sat with her arms folded and legs crossed, you would think something was amiss. Similarly, when your clothes do not match who you are as a person, you and others around you experience a lack of harmony, a dissonance.”
“It’s hard to convince others — but more importantly yourself — that you are a vibrant human being when you look like you can barely convince yourself to roll out of bed in the morning.” (Chivers, 2010-18)
Is it really that important to be concerned about what we wear at all times? Maybe not while you’re in the comfort of your own home. Don’t discount the encouragement you can feel with your clothing choice, however. A better clothing choice can make you feel like a happier person. “Often we can change the entire day simply by changing our perspective, and choosing to have a good day.”
“The clothes you wear and the way you groom yourself will change the way other people hear what you say. It will subconsciously tell them if you’re like them or if you’re different. It will determine whether they listen or ignore. Trust or distrust. How you dress yourself changes who you are. It changes the value of what you have to say. At least to the people who are looking and listening.”
The Clothing We Wear to Work
Now that we have briefly touched on what you wear at home let’s look at the clothes you wear to work.
Dressing for the Job Interview
You’re concerned about the effect you will have on a potential new boss at a job interview, so you dress in a new suit you have recently purchased for this occasion. You want to exhibit your best side so your hair is gelled to perfection and your shoes are polished. You hold your head high with your shoulders back displaying good posture. This makes you feel good about yourself. Why, because you are dressed to impressed. You know that you are looking your best and you feel proud of yourself. Take note here that you have taken the time to project a good image.
The Business Suit
Think of a debonair man in a business suit and tie jumping out of airplanes and taking on the evil masterminds of the foreign world. Yes, the infamous James Bond comes to mind. He is suave and sophisticated. Women drool over his vision and men want to emulate him.
The modern-day suit is the image of a polished, well put together man, of the business world. It demonstrates someone in charge of the situation that people look up to with respect.
But where does the suit have its beginnings? And why has it retained the appeal and status for so long?
“In fact, the suit’s prehistory begins in the evolution of court dress in Britain. After a nasty outbreak of plague in 1665, the lacy and elaborate court outfits suddenly seemed like a political liability to Charles II, who ordered his nobles to begin dressing — for a while — in modest tunics and breeches in your usual office-drab colors (navy, grays, shudder-inducing taupes).” 
“ We do not know exactly who had the idea for the first lounge suit (as our modern suit is properly called), or what he designed it for. But the first one did appear in the mid-19th century, and quickly became both a casual garment for the elite and a dress-up item for the working class.” 
“Eventually, we Americans figured out how to dress ourselves. This newfangled vestment was so darn easy to wear! It appeared on everyone from cab drivers to business executives and made all appear polished and professional. Hollywood picked the look up and ran with it.” 
An interesting bit of trivia about the suit is also revealed. “And, though you may find it hard to believe, at one point Americans associated the suit with rebellion in the Zoot Suit Riots of 1943.”  The riots were called such because “zoot suits” with broad, padded shoulders, double-breasted coats, plus ultra-baggy-legged trousers that tapered at the ankle were worn to intimidate. It must have worked as roving bands of teenagers crowded the street corners looking for a fight.
The business suit has since become the chosen attire of every well-dressed man in the business world who wants to be taken seriously. Even women have taken up the look in the boardroom, with the freedom to pair it with pants or a skirt. It commands respect.
Uniforms in the Workplace
There are certain professions that have an established uniform for their work attire. Have you ever wondered why that is? Let’s take a look at the various professions and the uniforms that they wear to set themselves apart from everyday people.
Uniforms of Police, Military, Fire, EMS, Security, and Tactical
When any type of clothing can be worn with the same results of covering the naked body, then why is a uniform necessary?
“If the dress of the members of an organization remains the same then there is a sense on commonality which develops amongst them. Uniforms also depict solidarity, and this has been this way throughout, right from the days of the Roman Empire to the modern day manufacturing houses.”
“When everyone has a uniform appearance they feel like they belong to a group.” “Research has also suggested that even slight alterations to the style of the uniform will change how citizens will perceive the officer.” 
“These days wearing a uniform is common with the paramilitary organizations like police etc and the armed forces. These help them, stand out of the crowd so that they can be easily recognizable and also distinguish them for the service they do. (sic) These uniforms not only make them feel proud but also have an imposing effect on others and with the presence of a person in uniform, can change the mood of people around.”
Police and Security
Police officers need to be easily identified for a variety of reasons. “The crisp uniform of the police officer conveys power and authority. When a police officer puts on his or her uniform the officer is perceived in a very different way by the public. He or she is viewed as embodying each person’s stereotypes about all police officers.”
“Research has suggested that clothing has a powerful impact on how people are perceived, and this goes for the police officer as well. The uniform of a police officer has been found to have a profound psychological impact on those who view it.” 
When uniforms are worn by the police force it makes them appear to be more united and approachable, making the role of the uniform more important. But why the color blue? According to “The Psychological Influence of the Police Uniform“, the colour blue has several functions in relation to a police uniform, one of the main ones being that it is much easier to clean and maintain than a lighter/brighter colour and that it shows stains and marks less easily”. 
“Another reason listed by the boys in blue today is that the dark shade of navy blue makes an officer harder to see at night, making it easier for them to sneak up on bad guys. “The officers feel safer with the dark shirts on at night. It’s the perception, and the perception is as important as reality.”  The dark colors are also worn by security officers for the same reason.
Military uniforms have gone through significant changes over time. The solid colors of the military in the past have been changed to camouflage for protection and identification. Camouflage is used to blend into the surrounding area to disguise a person from the terrain and hide from the opposing enemy.
Firefighter and EMS
Firefighters wear a uniform not only for identification but also for protection. While “fighting actual fires, firefighters must contend with smoke, water, hot embers, falling objects, and collapsing floors.”  Their uniforms are made of two-layer heat resistant material that wicks away moisture that gets trapped inside. The reflective stripes make them easy to identify through a haze of smoke.
EMS or Emergency Medical Services is a specialized team of people responding to medical emergency situations. Their uniforms are designed to distinguish them from the surrounding situation and easily identify them at a moment’s notice. While they are primarily associated with ambulances they can also be found in helicopters and other various types of transport vehicles.
The Medical Field: Doctors and Nurses
The main reason nurses wear uniforms is to display a unified, professional look to patients so that patients or other interested parties can easily recognize a nurse when they need one. Most hospitals and other health care facilities require their nurses to wear uniforms of some kind while on duty, as part of an effort to maintain a professional image. Ideally, uniforms always stand for consistency and uniformity.
“A nurse is seen as a representative of a very noble profession and therefore the clothes she wears at work are expected to represent the seriousness of her call. When people think of nurses, they envision well-mannered, compassionate people in white respectable in appearance, caring for patients tenderly. This image has survived for centuries and even today, this is the standard image for a nurse. As such, the strong public opinion is that nurses have an ethical obligation to wear proper attire that befits their vocation. If not white uniforms, then they should follow a strict dress code that stands for the utmost professionalism and cleanliness.” 
Doctors and pharmacists are well known for the white lab coats they wear. This is not only for identification but for protection of their clothing. It also promotes a respectable appearance that people look to as an authority figure.
Uniforms in Other Fields
While uniforms are certainly understandable in the medical, police and military fields, there are other establishments that take advantage of uniforms as well.
Construction workers can be identified with neon orange or yellow vests with reflective tape and hard hats. This serves to make them easily identifiable and visible on the dangerous highways and construction sites.
Uniforms for sports activities are for identification as well. However, the colored uniforms in this instance are known to establish unity and team spirit. It would be difficult to tell one team from the other if they were to wear street clothes.
Private schools have also used uniforms for the purpose of unification and recognition for many years. This not only creates an environment where competition is kept to a minimum, but students will clearly stand out from the faculty. A dignified reputation is of utmost importance here. The Citadel, a 175-year-old public military college in South Carolina provided a statement from the college president, Lt. Gen. John Rosa. He explained that “the uniform is central to the leadership training at the college, as cadets give up their individuality to learn teamwork and allegiance to the corps.”
There are also many other industries that use uniforms to designate authority or association with a particular field. Airline pilots, delivery and postal workers, auto mechanics and service technicians, are just to name a few.
Religious Leaders and Their Followers
In reference to religious leaders and the type of clothing or uniforms that they wear, a variety of reasons are to be found. “A simple robe can make a Buddhist monk feel closer to Buddha, while a modest sweater can help a Mormon missionary project a professional image as she proselytizes.” 
“Some religious communities may require that religious personages (e.g., priests, monks, nuns, shamans, priestesses, and others) garb themselves with appropriate types of religious dress at all times, whereas other religious communities may only request that religious dress be worn during rituals.”
The garments or robes, of a Buddhist Monk “create a “uniformity of intention” visible at first glance”. The robes themselves represent the simple life that the monks have vowed to live. The colors of the robes can vary by region. The yellow color of robes is probably obtained through dyes made with saffron and turmeric.
According to the Directory for the Ministry and Life of Priests, the “clergy must dress in a way that distinguishes them from the laity. “It is particularly important that the community be able to recognize the priest, man of God and dispenser of his mysteries, by his attire,” the document states.”
In relation to the order of the nuns or sisters, on the other hand, each order displays different habits. Their garments often use different colors with their own symbolic meanings. These serve to highlight the characteristics of each order. “At its core, the habit is a visible sign of the nun’s complete consecration to God and unity with other nuns in a religious community.” 
The Orthodox Jews have their own standard of dress for daily living. “Orthodox men typically wear long black garments to indicate a “lack of concern for color and other dictates of fashion and thus helps keep priorities straight,” according to Chabad guidelines. Orthodox Jewish women on the other hand “are encouraged to cover their hair and wear skirts below their knees as a sign of modesty.” 
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints or Mormons
Those of the faith of the Mormon religion are required to “wear modest clothing and plain hairstyles. Women must wear either blouse with skirts or dresses that cover to the knee. Men must wear business suits. The clothing guidelines are meant to ensure that missionaries look “professional” and “attractive,” according to the website of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.” 
To some people, many forms of the Muslim dress may seem odd or excessive. “The shari’ah, however, assigns it moral, social, and legal dimensions.” ”The dress should not be such that it attracts men’s attention to the woman’s beauty.”
“The manner of dress of Muslims has drawn great attention in recent years, with some groups suggesting that restrictions on the dress are demeaning or controlling, especially to women.”  “In reality, the way in which Muslims dress is really driven out of simple modesty and a desire to not draw individual attention in any way. Although Islam has no fixed standard as to the style of dress or type of clothing that Muslims must wear, there are some minimum requirements that must be met.”  Thickness, looseness, & overall appearance are always considered.
Quran Laws for Men and Women
For Women: “The Quran has no requirement that women cover their faces with a veil, or cover their bodies with the full-body burqua or chador, as in Iran and Afghanistan. But the Quran does address the matter of veiling in such a way that it has been interpreted historically, if not necessarily correctly, by Muslim clerics as applying to women.”  The veiling of women was not an Islamic innovation but a Persian and Byzantine-Christian custom that Islam adopted.
For Men: “The minimum amount to be covered on the body is between the navel and the knee. It should be noted, though, that a bare chest would be frowned upon in situations where it draws attention.”  “Neither excessively fancy nor ragged. One should not dress in a manner intended to gain the admiration or sympathy of others.” 
While this blog by no means covers the entirety of the subject of making a good first impression, it has at least scratched the surface. Hopefully, it has piqued your interest and you will investigate further with the references listed below.
Uniforms are a part of our life, whether a business suit or a sacred religious robe. Conformity and unification are a part of the human desire to bond together. Nurturing the social connection is paramount to the survival of our civilization.
Just remember, “Whatever message you’re trying to send to the world, never forget the clothes you put that message in will determine the way it’s received. So, dress it carefully.”(sic) 
 https://www.reference.com/business-finance/nurses-wear-uniforms-ad9603defb55153d Why do Nurses Wear Uniforms?
 https://myhometableau.com/dress-the-way-you-want-to-feel/ Dress the way you want to feel December 3, 2012 · by Johanna
 http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2014/09/police-wear-blue-2/ Why Do The Police Wear Blue? September 5, 2014 Karl Smallwood
 https://www.policeone.com/police-products/apparel/undergear/articles/99417-The-psychological-influence-of-the-police-uniform/ The psychological influence of the police uniform, Article updated on August 11, 2017. By Richard R. Johnson, MS
 http://www.impact.ms/5-reasons-why-wearing-a-proper-uniform-is-important/ Impact Marketing and Design By Dione|September 18th, 2015
 https://work.chron.com/kind-gear-firefighters-wear-9547.html What Kind of Gear Do Firefighters Wear? by Clayton Browne; Updated March 30, 2018
 https://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2012/07/where-did-business-suits-come-from/260182/ Where Did Business Suits Come From? EMILY CHERTOFF JUL 23, 2012
 https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/why-these-six-religious-groups-wear-what-they-wear_us_55ce7bcae4b055a6dab07ad0 Why These 6 Religious Groups Wear What They Wear By Antonia Blumberg
 https://www.reference.com/world-view/nuns-wear-religious-habits-62b3a8c393f3b71f Why Do Nuns Wear Religious Habits?
 https://www.britannica.com/topic/religious-dress Religious dress written by: E. Michael Pye and James Dickie
 https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/grade-point/wp/2016/05/10/the-citadel-will-not-allow-an-exception-to-the-uniform-to-let-a-muslim-student-wear-her-hijab/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.2fd911a8e4ba The Citadel will not allow an exception to the uniform to let a Muslim student wear her hijab By Susan Svrluga May 10, 2016
 https://www.islamawareness.net/Dressing/dressing_article0001.html Muslim Clothing Requirements According to the Qur’an & Sunnah, From a paper compiled by Jamal A. Badawi
 https://www.thoughtco.com/islamic-clothing-requirements-2004252 Thoughtco. Islamic Clothing Requirements
 https://www.thoughtco.com/quran-require-women-to-wear-veil-2353510 Thoughtco. Does the Quran Require Women to Wear the Veil?