What Clothing Reveals About Your Background

Whenever I’m in a crowd, I like to watch people. Young, old, rich, poor, thin, thick – you name it, crowds always provide entertainment. For within that cluster of bodies, you can learn much about the people in them, from the well-mannered to the insecure to the natural leaders among us.


It’s almost spooky. Once you begin to see the connection between the clothing and the person, you can begin to read people like a book. You don’t just have to rely on what they say, which can often be wrong; you can glean information from the entire non-verbal package to get a more accurate picture.


Here are a few of the most common “types” of people I see:


Neat Appearance


Since most children aren’t neat and tidy by nature, a neat and tidy appearance as an adult is often the result of years of training at the hands of stern parents — or years of wearing a uniform to school or in the military. Or, it could be the strong desire to be the antithesis of a sloppy parent. Whatever the reason, it points to an uncommon discipline that often translates into a strong work ethic and a habit of following through.


Sloppy Attire






Clothes that are too big, too small, stained, frayed, or unkempt, usually imply that the wearer lacks discipline and isn’t into details. It can be a result of growing up in a household where dressing well wasn’t a priority, or it can be a show of rebellion against a stern upbringing. Often, the sloppiness is also reflected in a cluttered work space, a dirty car, and an unkempt house. But it doesn’t necessarily mean the person is sloppy in everything; many of these folks tend to be exceedingly meticulous in one or two areas, excelling beyond average. They would enjoy more success, however, if they were better rounded instead of so tunnel-visioned.   

Sloppy attire

Fashionable, But No Common Sense


Ever see someone following fashion at the expense of common sense, like wearing bare legs in the dead of winter or sandals in the snow? It means she’s insecure and is blindly following the trend to garner attention, feel important, and bolster her self esteem. I know, because I used to do this myself as a teen. I loved the attention and was sure everyone who stopped to stare was in awe of my fashion savvy. Little did I know they were merely stunned by the extent of my lemming-like behavior. Yes, people judge you by how you look so it’s important to look nice. But when you blindly follow things without stopping to consider the ramifications, you mark yourself as a dupe. As the old saying goes, “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.”


Sloppy Attire, Status Accessories


What do you get when you mix sloppy clothes with a status handbag, watch, or shoes? A wannabe – as in “I wannabe seen as rich, but I don’t have the class to pull it off.” Okay, that’s a bit snarky, I’ll admit. But relying on status symbols to give cachet is a sure sign of an aspirant, not someone with real money. The truly rich don’t have to rely on labels to show wealth; they do it with luxury fabrics, expert workmanship, and uncompromising fit. They don’t put on sweat pants and tennis shoes with their Prada handbag and call it a look. Neither should you.


Eye-Popping Displays of Flesh






Plunging necklines, low-rise pants, and high cut skirts are all trendy, but not necessarily a smart choice. While there’s no substitute for properly-fitting clothes, there’s a fine line between showing off your figure and flaunting your body. “I like my clothes tight enough to show I’m a woman, but loose enough to show I’m a lady,” Mae West once said. Times haven’t changed. Men still view women who show excessive skin as potential bedmates; women who are more modest tend to be viewed as more appropriate life mates. Dress according to your goals.

Too much skin

Right Event, Wrong Clothes


People who wear clothes that are inappropriate to a situation are often viewed as unschooled. If they don’t know what constitutes proper business attire or cocktail attire, for example, others assume that their education is lacking. It’s usually the truth. What’s the difference between getting an A and a C on a test? More studying. What’s the difference between the “A” crowd and the “C” crowd? More studying.

Cocktail attire

These are just a few of the characters I encounter in crowds; you may notice the same or different. But the result is the same: how you dress reveals so much about you that may not even realize it.


So study a few people next time you’re in a crowd to see what you can glean. Then, take some time with your own appearance to determine what you’re revealing to everyone else. If you don’t like what it’s saying, change it. You may be delighted with the results.



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