First impressions really do count

editorial image

BOFFINS at the University of Hertfordshire have measured what makes a good first impression at work.

Women wearing skirt suits and men who have bespoke tailoring emerged as creating the most favourable impression, according to the study.

Professors Karen J Pine and Ben Fletcher along with Neil Howlett looked at the findings of an online study.

Some 306 participants had up to five seconds per image to rate eight pictures (four male, four female) on confidence, success, trustworthiness, salary and flexibility.

In their report, The Effect of Appearance on First Impressions, carried out in collaboration with Mathieson & Brooke Tailors Ltd of Harpenden, they found the man was rated more positively on all five attributes when wearing the bespoke suit.

The woman was rated more positively on confidence, salary, and flexibility, when wearing the skirt suit.

This study is the first to use images that were devoid of any facial features or expressions, and because of that researchers say it can be concluded with confidence that the impressions arose from the clothing alone and were not confounded by the physical appearance of the model.

Professor Pine said: “The two suits worn by the man looked very similar at first glance, yet the subtle differences clearly made an impact.

“This is big news for the fashion industry and certainly highlights the importance of good tailoring.”