University of Arkansas, Fayetteville Division of Agriculture


First impressions, dressing, perceptions


Dress preserves history, embraces traditions, and links different generations together. With the ability to communicate non-verbally, dress conveys a picture or sends a message about its wearer to those who observe the individual. Therefore, dress can create first impressions for the beholders. Previous research reveals that professional dress creates more positive first impressions. The goal of this study was to identify whether college students would react differently to different types of dress and whether specific types of dress would have influences on college students’ first impressions of a male or female peer. Results of the study indicated that college students did not form positive first impressions upon looking at professional business dress. They preferred casual and business casual attire, which was supported by their indications that they were more willing to have a conversation with those who were dressed in these styles. Both male and female college students expressed their preferences for casual and business casual clothes. The study reinforced findings of previous studies that dress and first impressions are related.