Friday, October 28, 2016

Tim Gunn on the science of getting dressed

The design professor turned Project Runway adviser, Tim Gunn, says he believes in semiotics--using signs and symbols such as clothes to influence perception.

Ephrat Livni, writing in Government Executive, says five studies by Columbia University psychologists concluded that dressing up makes people feel more powerful and changes their thinking and way they speak.

When dressed informally, people spoke differently, acted differently.

When dressed formally people are less approachable and appear more powerful.

Clothes can also be a defense mechanism--the late Bill Cunningham, street fashion photographer par excellence, said, "Fashion is the armor to survive the reality of everydaylife."

Getting dressed is an important rersponsibility, Gunn adds.

The business suit, for example, evolved from European and British court outfit. It was darn easy to wear.

The little black dress also became a go-to.

Gunn recommends giving dressing some thought. Whatever your style, he says, "Make it work."

You may be making more of a statement than you think--and to people you aren't even aware of.

When I was looking for pix of Tim, yes, he was often in his signature pinstripes, but he also had on a black leather jacket in one, pressed jeans in another. He also is not afraid to pattern-mix. But whatever he dons, he always looked polished.

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