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As a child, I remember hearing classmates talk about designer clothes. In certain schools it was considered very important, designer brands meant you ‘fitted in’. Luckily for me, this was of no importance in the school I attended. I have never had anything with designer brands, when I was young and still not to this day. I don’t know many people in my circle who are interested in designer brands.
Is the need to be dressed in the ‘correct’ brands something only young people have to deal with or have you also experienced this at your work? And if so, what is the influence of designer clothes on your career?
I started to think about this after reading the results of a study. The University of Tilberg (Netherlands) researched the influence work clothes have on people and the consequences. The outcome. It does influence how you are perceived.
The researchers first investigated whether people were quicker to engage with someone when that person is dressed in designer clothes. They had a lady in a shopping centre ask passers-by questions. When she wore a shirt with the Tommy Hilfiger logo on it, 52% of passers-by were keen to participate in the research. When wearing a non-branded shirt only 13% were prepared to cooperate. This is a striking difference.
Another experiment looked at job interviews. Participants were shown photos of applicants wearing branded clothing and non-branded clothing. The logo was the only difference. When wearing a logo the applicants were assessed as being more suitable for the position. Employers were also inclined to offer the candidate wearing a branded shirt a salary averaging about 9% more. It was also shown that the brand name loses its ‘status’ when the item is known to have been received a gift as opposed to being purchased by the wearer. The findings of the study are the same for both men and women. The only difference that stands out is that men wearing clothing with no logo and viewed in a better light than men wearing logos of cheap brands.
Journalists at The Economist link the results of the survey to the art industry where a similar phenomenon prevails. The value of a work of art is highly dependent on the artist who created it. Show someone a painting and tell them it was created by a well-known artist, he or she will give the artwork a higher value than if you mention the name of an unknown artist. The people in your circle also have an enormous influence. When people around you place value on a product you are likely to do the same.
I think it’s quite a fierce result. Probably because I am not so into brands and logos. In fact a visible logo can put me off buying an item of clothing. I don’t want to stand out because of logos and brand names. Can you believe that you might receive a job offer and a higher salary due to wearing a logo on your shirt? Does anyone have any experience with this? I would love to hear from you.