clothes make the man – solc2018#19

Today is a cool, cloudy, gloomy day, with storms predicted for the afternoon. When I dressed this morning I put on black pants, a brown shirt, and brown, clunky tennis shoes. And a black vest to keep away the chill.

My clothing choices reflected the weather of the day. This is often the case. I do try to wear something appropriate for the predicted temperature, but I often, subconsciously, choose colors and styles that reflect either the sky outside or, sometimes, my mood. That was the case today.

I don’t suppose this is unusual. But I can’t wait for warmer, sunnier days – with brighter, happier clothing!

As I thought about titling this piece, I remembered the words, “clothing makes the man.” I don’t believe this is a true statement, not in today’s world anyway, but I do believe that the way we present ourselves says a lot about who we are – or maybe who we hope to be.

I wish I were a better dresser, but I am definitely not of a fashion mindset.  I tell myself I’d do better if I lost some weight (and I would!), but the style gene skipped a generation with me. My mother had it and now my daughter does too. Meanwhile I adopt trends slowly and I wish I had more traditional choices in my closet, too.

Today’s fashion is sometimes “anything goes.” I am smitten by the tailored clothes in old movies (almost as much as by the decor…), and I feel like it is a sign of respect to wear your best for certain occasions – which I do. But things are not as they once were.

As I discussed in a previous post, my memory isn’t what it used to be, so I Googled this phrase.

There is a lot of history to it:

Clothes make the man: what one wears is taken by others as an essential signal of status. The proverb is recorded in English from the early 15th century, but an earlier saying in classical Greek is, ‘the man is his clothing.’

And psychology:

One study observed an interesting phenomenon: wear a white coat you believe belongs to a doctor, and you’ll be more focused. Wear a white coat you believe belongs to a painter, and you won’t see that improvement. It’s been well-established—in the scientific literature and real life—that what we wear affects how others perceive us. Women who wear more masculine clothes to an interview (such as a dress suit) are more likely to be hired. People dressed conservatively are perceived as self-controlled and reliable, while those wearing more daring clothing are viewed as more attractive and individualistic.

I like the quote attributed to Mark Twain the best:

“Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence in society.”



2 thoughts on “clothes make the man – solc2018#19

  1. Very interesting take on how our clothing choices affect the rest of our lives. I was just thinking about this yesterday. I don’t enjoy shopping, but I need to get some more outfits. The only way I can tolerate clothes shopping is to bring an enthusiastic friend who finds it fun to shop and is fashionable.

  2. Tricia Mac says:

    Haha, love your quote from Mark Twain! Perfect ending! Yes, clothes matter…to a point. Thanks for the post and historical framework for your quote.

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