Shakespeare said it best in Hamlet when he said:
Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,
But not express’d in fancy; rich, not gaudy;
For the apparel oft proclaims the man,
And they in France of the best rank and station
Are of a most select and generous chief in that.
Now, many centuries later, we make similar judgments – we look at a person’s clothing and decide whether or not they are professional, classic, poor, and/or worthy of our company.
Or do we?
A recent experiment just concluded in Australia when a male news reporter led a year-long support effort for his female counterpart by wearing the exact same suit every day for ONE YEAR – and the big news? No one noticed. Watch the time lapse film that documents his experiment, however, I challenge you to really keep your eye on him because what we really notice is his co-anchor and her clothes.
During his year long singlar suit experiment he realized that no one cared what he wore; they listened to him, respected him and looked to him for the latest news. His female anchor? Not so much. She received emails and social media criticism for her choice of clothes, suggestions that she change stylists and “what was she thinking” commentary. Rather than offer her the equal respect of viewing her as a news reporter with a story to tell, they first had to judge her by the clothes she wore.
Reporter Karl Stefanovic sums up the experiment this way:
“No one has noticed; no one gives a shit,” he told Fairfax Media. “Women are judged much more harshly and keenly for what they do, what they say and what they wear.”
“I’m judged on my interviews, my appalling sense of humour –- on how I do my job, basically. Whereas women are quite often judged on what they’re wearing or how their hair is.”
Sadly, this one isn’t a debate, it just is. So with that in mind, check out our series of style videos: Professional Style for Career Advancement in which Traci McBride offers tips and suggestions for looking for your best so that people will listen to what you have to say rather than pick apart what you wear.