The last article I published on 9/9/17, entitled “Soft Skills: Jobs, Work, Social Skills and the Liberal Arts” pointed out that communication, social abilities, manners, following directions, punctuality, understanding of human nature, critical thinking ability, dress and appearance carry as much, if not more power to get a job, keep it, and advance, than the job requirements.

This article discusses the influence and relevance of dress and appearance. These ‘soft skills” make a man more appealing in ways we will discuss in this article and delicious bait for the discerning female.

The common thought is that dress and apparearance are superficial and, at best, decoration. Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!

Dress and appearance broadcast their messages immediately. Right On, Right On, Right On!

Why you ask? The immediate impact you have on the viewer (fellow dudes at work, including bosses and the ladies) leaves an impressive impression on how well your brain works. It’s a loaded proclamation (shout out) on your status, your self-worth, your habits of hygiene, your ability to discriminate between good and bad taste, and your desirability to be recognized, are instantly communicated visually.

The visual cues contained in dress and appearances (shlumpy or smart and fashionable) are brimming with information, most of which are sending subliminal messages to the viewer, as well as an immediate response, whether it is attractive or repulsive. Pick you “ive”.

Because dress and appearance are important, does not argue against competence in payable job skills. You were hired for that job, after all. However, they argue for making these skills more payable. Why? For many, first impressions are extremely important. This isn’t just superficiality; they carry influence over a long period of time. More to come on that.

Smart attire and attention getting appearances, are part of the DNA of masculinity. It is the male in most species of animals who struts their stuff. Consider the male peacock in his full show; the female looks like she needs a serious make over compared to him. The male lion in the splendor of his fur, overshadows the lioness in sex appeal by far. Rawwrrr…

In tribal and primitive societies the men adorn themselves lavishly with feathers, tattoos, colorful body paint, and ornaments of all kinds. Throughout history, particularly in western society from the late middle ages throughout the Enlightenment period men dressed as flamboyantly as women. They had no qualms about wearing wigs that could rival the coiffeur of their female counterparts. Yet these kinds of men had the courage, education, intelligence, and foresight to establish a country unlike one that ever existed in history—-The United States of America.

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Yet, it wasn’t just their brain that was effective; it was the image they reflected to the public, of their integrated masculinity. In other words, they were highly respected and tuned into both sides of the brain.

Even until the 1960’s men dressed in style. I recall my father, who was an engineer, left for work in a suit and tie and wore a fedora. What the hell happened? Today it is the era of indifferent causal, sloppy, unappealing, and often repellent looking attire and appearance. In my opinion, the haphazard, baggy, ill fitting and color blind clothes most mean wear today are symptomatic of a pervasive, unrecognized depression among men.

The indifference to dress and appearance reflects a denial of feeling hopeless, confused, and lacking power over one’s life. A man who is proud and in touch with his masculine power and knows that he is significant, displays his body image as something of high value, worthy of respect, and attention. Just look at Harvey Specter in “Suites”. You can’t help but respect his agility, his good looks and the suits he wears. It may be a TV show, but in the real world, it is just as impressive.

This is one mark, that you, the man of the 21st century can display. Being more integrated and having both sides of the brain functioning, you display an inviting appearance and attire that reflects the special quality of your awareness and masculine confidence. Now you know that an inviting appearance is important, both for success in work and personal interaction, particularly with the female gender.

Many people commonly believe that judgments made at first glance from appearance and attire soon goes away. Some evidence indicates that this assumption is not true. Judgments on appearance can carry on for a long time. An article in Psychology Today (October 2017), entitled, “The Big Picture”, presented evidence to indicate that judgments made at first glance, from just a picture of a person, influenced how a person would interact with him or her.

The point being!! That first impression do not erase quickly from the mind. They certainly do last and will inadvertently shape people’s attitude and behavior to the image they see at first glance.

Dress and appearance are a two way street.

They affect not only how others perceive the man, but also how the man perceives himself and even performs. An example posted on August 24, 2012 in Psychology Today by Jorden Ganer Levin,Ph.D., illustrates the point. “In the first experiment, 58 participants were randomly assigned to wear either a white lab coat or street clothes. They were then subject to an incongruity task in which they had to spot items that didn’t belong to a set (for instance, the word “red” written in green ink). Those in white coats made half as many errors as those in street clothes.”

The message is that dress and appearance are not arbitrary, superficial, insignificant, or ornamental accesses to manhood. They influence even cognitive functioning. Dress and appearance have a powerful influence. Hence, they are part of the basics that complete a man and set him on the path to his full potential and thereby winning.

As a Man of the 21st Century you will not neglect the right side of your brain (art, dress social skills, aesthetic sensitivities and intuition). Now you know that appropriate dress and a well groomed appearance enhances self confidence, desirability, and respect. And the 21st century man embodies those very qualities.

Shakespeare in Hamlet: “For the apparel oft proclaims the man.” YES! Go on and proclaim.

J.Douglas Lee

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