Clothing is a powerful nonverbal communicative tool and form of self-expression that provides others with clues about our personality, mood, education, culture, financial status, and social ranking, amongst numerous other impression cues. Research shows that physical appearance plays a prominent role in the formation of initial judgments and is significant in shaping a person's overall impression on others (Richmond, McCroskey, & Payne, 1991). The present study sought to quantitatively explore the effect that different styles of dress have on initial judgments formed about women in workplace settings. Using expectancy violation theory, the study investigates workplace gender bias and whether or not certain styles of women's dress garner different initial reactions. Results showed that models in feminine attire are perceived to be lower in ratings of dominance and expertise, and models in more masculine attire are perceived to be lower in ratings of kindness and friendliness.
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Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Sciences
Communication; Mass Communication
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Lower, Jamie, "Style Speaks: Clothing Judgments, Gender Stereotypes, and Expectancy Violations of Professional Women" (2018). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2004-2019. 5785.