Draft 2: Physical Appearance: Focus On Apparel

This topic submitted by Stephanie Mills, Liesl Jung, Bart Cusick on 10/26/03 .
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Natural Systems 1 Syllabus---Western Program---Miami University

Does the way we dress affect relationships between same sex friendships, opposite sex relationships, and employee to employer relations? We will be studying the importance of a nice clothing appearance vs. an untidy appearance. This study dwells on reactions of people to the way a person dresses. The importance of the way a person dresses must influence others, we intend to research and discover these reactions.

A. Hypothesis: We hypothesize that the better the appearance will matter more in the work place.

Question: Does physical appearance matter more in opposite sex relationships, same sex friendships, or in the work place?

Prediction: We predict that employers will consistently rank the most professional looking as the most suitable employee. In relationships, we predict that there will be a variety of rankings, but they will be similar in a way that the dress casual and casual pictures will generally be ranked higher.

B. We decided that we wanted to study a subject that includes human behavior. As students, we deal with different relationships. We thought it would be interesting to research the affects clothing appearance has on relationships.

C. We plan to accomplish an understanding of the importance of appearance. We plan to discover in which scenario appearance matters most. Additionally we will learn more about relationships between people and what the majority of people at Miami University think of being nicely dressed as opposed to the more grungy look.

D. This is an interesting question because we deal with appearance issues everyday when we dress to go out with friends or to a job. We were curious whether dressing well or not has an affect on relationships, friendships, and getting a job.


In our world, appearance plays a great role in our lives. In both relationships and on the job we find ourselves judging others. It is natural, when looking for relationships, that we are attracted to the better looking people. Humans are known to have a tendency to appreciate aesthetic beauty” (Johnson). There is no great mystery that attractiveness is what first catches the eye. Relationships start with a general attraction to each other’s physical features. It is an instinct to start a relationship based on attraction (Griffen). Physical attraction is a beginning block for relationships and especially one of the most important factors in getting a job. “You want to look your professional best, but you also want to appear as if you ‘fit in” (Clothes…). Most people realize that the better appearance you have, the better chance you have in getting the job. Yet once you have th job, you are required to look your best. As an employee, you will be representing the business you work for and therefore will reflect the business with your physical appearance. A good appearance is necessary in the work place, but just generally admired in relationships.
There are many different characteristics, whether they are physically or mentally that go into making a person’s personality. When the word appearance comes into mind the physical is obviously the aspect that we are talking about. People can make a judgment about another without them even opening their mouths. For this reason, individuals are constantly concerned with the way they look and are bombarded with pressure to look a certain way. A focus on clothing appearance will narrow the variables that a complete appearance includes. A greater question might be answered because we will be interviewing Miami University students. The common description of the apparel of these students has been labeled “Jcrew U” which means that Miami University students generally wear nice clothes. In our study, we might be able to prove or falsify this description depending on the results of how people are affected by clothing appearance.

Annotated Bibliography

Rhodes, Gillian Leslie A. Zebrowitz, Facial Attractiveness : evolutionary, cognitive, and social perspectives. This article discusses how the mind and social actions are influenced by attractiveness. It also relates the evolutionary perspectives in attractiveness, focusing on the face.

Jones, Doug, Physical attractiveness and the theory of sexual selection : results from five populations This source describes the theory that physical attraction does play a role when selecting a partner. At least at first, a person recognizes and is attracted by physical features.

Buss, David M. The Evolution Of Desire : Strategies Of Human Mating
The article talks about human sexual drive and a portion discusses that physical attraction is part of the desires one has.

Botting, Kate and Douglas, Sex Appeal : The Art And Science Of Sexual Attraction
Survival Of The Prettiest : The Science Of Beauty by Nancy Etcoff
This source parallels survival of the fittest with the survival of the more attractive. People who are more attractive will generally live better lives and attract better partners in the course of their lives.

Kauth, Michael R. True nature : a theory of sexual attraction
This resource relates theories of attraction that affects the sexual affairs of humans. Physical attraction does play a role in the whole aspect of being sexually attracted to another person.

Hendricks, Chris, Dawn Olson, Seth Hall, and Jonathan Batt, Physical Attraction: Attributions. http://www.units.miamioh.edu/psybersite/attraction/attributions.shtml.
Part of the article speaks that the more attractive people are, the more money they earn and happier they are. These attractive people have an increased social self-confidence that propels them forward.

Attraction and Relationships: Who Wants What? http://psychology.about.com/cs/attraction/a/attract4.htm
This site explains that men are more concerned with physical attraction than women. In the studies, women prefer to look at financial and social status in a partner.

Like a bear to honey. http://www.ivenus.com/relationships/personal/File
_72520001019110816.asp This article explains some of the underlying qualities required for attraction for a woman to a man. There are different characteristics that women go for in men.

Frayser, Suzanne G. and Thomas J. Whitby, Studies in Human Sexuality
In this source, portions discuss the behavior tactics of humans relating to sexuality including the affects of appearance.

Loyola University, Your Responsibility as an Employee. http://www.luc.edu/resources/hr
/responsibility.shtml#appearance In this source, it proves that as an employee, you are obligated and required to dress nicely. The university is a professional businessit states that professional dress reflects the business

Clothes Make the Man (or Woman). http://careerplanning.about.com/cs/dressingforwork
/a/dress_success.htm This article addresses what to wear when going to work. It stresses that neatness is vital and ‘casual’ never means sloppy.

Inappropriate Dress and Conduct. http://career planning.about.com/cs/dressingforwork/
A/inapprop_dress.htm. This article discusses that some forms of dress are inappropriate for a work place setting. Some dress codes are in writing and others are implied.

“How can you become the object of his desire?” (pgs. 173-174); Cosmopolitan, 2003 October In this article that is focused on women, it talks about how men are attracted to women who exude confidence. They like it when a woman can walk around in their presence feeling totally comfortable in whatever they are wearing. It also lists a few ideas for women on how to show off their sexy bodies.

“Beauty Report: Irresistible Skin” (pgs. 428-434); In Style, 2003 September This article is more of a guide about beauty than an article talking about a certain subject. In the beginning it talks about how these days it is popular to show a little skin, so a vital part of that is having flawless skin. Then the rest of the article goes on to talk about different beauty products you can buy to get and maintain this perfect, smooth skin.

“She lost weight, he got angry” (pgs. 42-44); Shape, 2003 November This piece discusses the idea of changing your appearance in a way that is unpleasing to your partner. In this particular case the woman lost weight and got in shape and her husband took it in a negative way. It has put a strain on their relationship and the way they view each other, all of this as a result of physical features.

Jeffes, Steve. Appearance is Everything: The Hidden Truth Regarding your Appearance Discrimination (pgs. 13-15); This book was written all about appearance and the various aspects of your life that are affected by it. There are chapters that show you how to rate your looks, a chapter on how it affects your employment and chance of getting a job. It also talks about how it relates to everything from dating to marriage and even to friendships. The general idea is how outward appearance can determine your success and happiness.

“You’re A to Z Guide to Men” (pgs. 250-253); Hugh O’Neill; Glamour, 2003 September Lastly, the final article deals more with the likes and dislikes of males more than anything else. It is not so much what they like and dislike in women but in other areas of their life. Since it is in a mainly women’s magazine, it seems to me to be a tool for women to figure out how to please men in other ways than through looks. It is possibly a way for women to align their personalities with men they are interested in, and leave the physical aspect behind.

Specific Research Designs:

In order to determine any results, we will be talking to three categories of people: males, females, and respectable employers (these will be defined as upper level restaurants, hotels, and professional businesses) We interviewing 25 of each category. Students will be found randomly as to not focus on one group of people and shown a series of five pictures. One series of pictures will be a female dressed in professional dress, casual dress, casual, scrub, and club apparel. The other series of pictures will be of a male in a professional dress, casual dress, casual, scrub, and athletic apparel. Interviews will go like this:
Ex: a male will be asked to rank the 5 pictures of the girl on the subject, “which would you most likely consider dating?” He will then be asked to rank the 5 pictures of a guy on the subject, “who would you most likely be found hanging out with as good friends?”
Ex: a female will be asked the same accordingly
Ex: an employer will be asked to rank the 5 female pictures and then separately rank the 5 male pictures (In this way, we will not have to notice any preference for males over females, or vice versa.)
These techniques will give us enough data to come to conclusion. After tallying up the records we will know which appearance is more favored in relationships, friendships, and in the work place.

Materials and Methods
We will have 5 pictures of the same male and 5 pictures of the same female who will be dressed in different attire. We will have a tally sheet that will compile all of our data. We will involve the class by asking each person to rank the pictures with the aforementioned questioned thus including them in our study.

Examples of Tally Data Sheet
#1 Male Dressy Dress Casual Casual Scrub Club Wear

#1 Female Dressy Dress Casual Casual Scrub Athletic

#1 Employer Dressy Dress Casual Casual Scrub Athletic



Research Timeline:
Week 7 10/7-10/9 Lab Proposal
Week 9 10/21-10/23 Lab Packets
Week 10-15 10/28-12/4 Post Progress Reports
Survey People
Compile Results
Week16 12/9-12/11 Lab Reports

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