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Journal of Business and Psychology, Vol. 21, No. 1, Fall 2006 (2006) DOI: 10.

1007/s10869-005-9022-1

DRESSING TO IMPRESS: BELIEFS AND ATTITUDES REGARDING WORKPLACE ATTIRE Joy V. Peluchette
University of Southern Indiana

Katherine Karl
Marshall University

Kathleen Rust
Elmhurst College, Center for Business and Economics

ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to examine individual differences in beliefs and attitudes regarding workplace attire including: the value placed on clothing, the impact of attire on workplace outcomes (e.g., promotions, raises), the effort and planning involved in dressing appropriately for work, how their clothing made them feel, and whether they used their attire to manage the impression of others in the workplace. Results from a sample of MBA students indicate that those who valued workplace attire used it to manage the impressions of others and believed that it positively impacts the way they feel about themselves and their workplace outcomes. Dressing to impress appeared to have particular utility for high self-monitors and those in management/executive positions. Women were found to be more interested in clothing and experienced more appearance labor when compared to men. Suggestions for future research are proposed. KEY WORDS: workplace attire; clothing; impression management; dress.

The past decade has seen an explosion of books in the popular press providing advice on how one should dress to be successful in the workplace. Pioneered by John T. Molloys New Dress for Success Book (1988), others have followed suit with such titles as How to Gain the Professional

Address correspondence to Joy V. Peluchette, School of Business, University of Southern Indiana, 8600 University Blvd, Evansville, IN 47712, USA. E-mail: jpeluche@ usi.edu The authors wish to thank the University of Southern Indiana for its sponsorship of this research through a 2004 Faculty Research and Creative Work Award grant. 45
0889-3268/06/0900-0045/0 2006 Springer Science+Business Media, Inc.

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Edge: Achieve the Personal and Professional Image You Want (Morem, 1997), The New Professional Image: From Business Casual to the Ultimate Power Look (Bixler, 1997), Your Executive Image: The Art of SelfPackaging for Men and Women (Seitz, 2000) and Beyond Business Casual: What to Wear to Work to Get Ahead (Sabath, 2000). The impetus for these books was, in part, to guide the attire decisions of the many women who entered professional positions in corporate America. It was also to help those who were struggling with clothing choices, given the trend toward more casual clothing (business casual) in some workplaces. The common theme in these books is that clothing decisions can make a difference in how one is perceived by others and that clothing wearers can use their attire decisions to inuence the impressions formed by others in the workplace. While there is theoretical support for the argument that individuals use clothing as part of how they construct their image in the workplace (Frith & Gleeson, 2004; Goffman, 1959; Rafaeli & Pratt, 1993; Trice & Beyer, 1993), research has focused almost solely on how attire is perceived by others. Some studies, for example, have examined the impact of instructors attire on students perceptions of teaching competence (Chowdhary, 1988; Morris, Gorham, Cohen, & Huffman, 1996; Roach, 1997). Others have examined patients attitudes towards medical professionals attire (Gosling & Standen, 1998; Menahem & Shvartzman, 1998). In addition, a number have studied the perceptions formed by recruiters in job interviews (Christman & Branson, 1990; Forsythe, Drake, & Cox, 1985; Gibson & Balkwell, 1990; Goudge & Littrell, 1989; Jenkins & Atkins, 1990), or by supervisors in performance reviews (Galin & Benoliel, 1990). Although insightful, this approach ignores the role of the wearer, and it uses attire as articial stimuli, overlooking everyday clothing practices. What is lacking in the literature is an investigation of the attitudes of those wearing attire and the extent to which they might use their clothing to inuence the perceptions of others or to achieve certain workplace objectives. The few studies of attire wearers suffer signicant limitations. Most have small sample sizes and have focused primarily on women (Guy & Banim, 2000; Rafaeli & Dutton, 1997; Rucker, Anderson, & Kangas, 1999; Tseelon, 1992). In addition, while the qualitative methodology used for these studies has provided a rich theory base, no measures exist for empirically studying this issue. The purpose of this paper is: (1) to investigate the attitudes and beliefs of individuals with regard to their attire in the workplace and (2) to examine the extent to which individuals use attire to accomplish certain objectives in the workplace. This study will target both men and women working in corporate work settings. Specically, we will present a theoretical model, propose testable hypotheses, discuss the sample and methodology, and present the results of our data analysis, and make

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suggestions for future research. Given the lack of empirical research on this issue, our research will be exploratory in nature.

THEORETICAL RATIONALE As indicated by Rafaeli and Dutton (1997), ones workplace attire is inuenced by the process that individuals go through in taking on roles in their workplace. Roles help structure the work of organizations and guide individual behavior (Katz & Kahn, 1978). By taking on roles and performing them effectively, individuals must read the cues of others and react to the expectations that those cues signal (Graen & Scandura, 1987). Individuals develop cognitive frameworks, or schemata, about what behaviors are appropriate for their role and use symbols in executing their role schemata (Fiske & Taylor, 1984; Taylor & Crocker, 1981). Individuals use dress as an informative role symbol for engaging in their work and how they relate to others in the execution of their role, as found by Rafaeli and Dutton (1997) in their study of female administrative employees. While this may generally explain the manner in which individuals attend to and use their attire to fulll workplace roles, individuals may differ with regard to the value and importance they place on their workplace clothing. For example, Rucker et al. (1999) found differences between members of ethnic minority groups in how they viewed the symbolic use of clothing for personal advancement and inuencing others. Similarly, females have been found to show a stronger interest in clothing and placed greater importance on attire for accomplishing their roles when compared to males (Solomon & Scholper, 1982). However, males have been found to believe that clothing can enhance self-perceptions of various occupational attributes (Kwon, 1994). Given the evidence for individual differences, the following model examines the relationship between individuals level of clothing interest, value of workplace attire, and self-monitoring behavior on (1) their use of attire to manage impressions; (2) the level of appearance labor they experience; and (3) their perceptions regarding the impact of their attire on both workplace outcomes and the way they feel about themselves.

General Clothing Interest and Value of Workplace Attire Individuals are likely to differ in the extent to which they are generally interested in or conscious of clothing. Most of the investigations of these differences have focused on gender. For example, early research on clothing interest showed that females possessed a higher level of general

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clothing interest (Drake & Ford, 1979; Minshall, Winakor, & Sinney, 1982; Musa & Roach, 1973; Solomon & Schopler, 1982). Research has also shown that those who are more generally interested in clothing are more likely to see its value in terms of having a positive impact on various workplace outcomes and their own perceptions of themselves. Solomon and Schopler (1982) found that both males and females indicated that the appropriateness of their clothing affected the quality of their performance and their mood in the workplace. Similarly, Kwon (1994) found that those who described themselves as properly dressed believed that it made them look signicantly more responsible, competent, knowledgeable, professional, honest, reliable, intelligent, trustworthy, hardworking, and efcient than when not properly dressed. Thus, given the evidence from previous research, we propose: H1: The greater their clothing interest and value of workplace attire, the more likely respondents will believe that their attire has a positive impact on the way they feel about themselves (i.e., their selfperceptions) and their workplace outcomes. Self-Monitoring Self-monitoring behavior may explain why some individuals are more sensitive than others to the choices they make in terms of what to wear. As a personality trait, self-monitoring refers to the extent to which individuals attempt to exercise control over the way they present themselves to others (Gangestad & Snyder, 1985). Those who are high self-monitors want to behave in socially acceptable ways, are highly concerned about what others think of them, and are especially sensitive to cues about the appropriateness of their behavior (Day, Unckless, Schleicher, & Hiller, 2002; Miller & Cardy, 2003). According to Snyder (1987), features of ones appearance, such as clothing and jewelry, are part of a front or image that an individual will use to convey to others. Although the link between self-monitoring behavior and clothing has received limited empirical attention, it would appear that high selfmonitors are seen as being particularly concerned with their outer appearances. Previous research has, in fact, found high self-monitors to have higher fashion awareness than low self-monitors (Hirschman & Adcock, 1978; Shim, Kotsiopulos, & Knoll, 1991; Synder, 1989). In addition, high self-monitors have been found to have rather large wardrobes with a diversity of styles and accessories, providing sufcient variety to choose from in their quest to present the correct or desired image (Snyder, 1987). The image consciousness of high self-monitors has also been linked to their concern about the furnishing and decorating of their work space and their interest in conveying a positive workplace

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image for achieving high performance and advancement opportunities (Day et al., 2002; Kilduff & Day, 1994). Thus, we propose: H2: High self-monitors compared to low self-monitors will be more likely to believe that their attire has a positive impact on the way they feel about themselves and their workplace outcomes. Use of Attire to Manage Impressions While self-monitoring behavior focuses on sensitivity to cues from others in how to portray oneself, some individuals take a more active role in managing or manipulating the image they portray to others. Known as impression management, this process assumes that individuals actively monitor their environment for clues as to how others perceive them and are motivated to construct an image to change or inuence others perceptions (Leary & Kowalski, 1990; Rosenfeld, Giacalone, & Riordan, 2001; Tedeschi & Melburg, 1984). Although limited, there is some evidence to suggest that high self-monitors use impression management behaviors effectively. For example, Davis and Lennon (1985) found that high self-monitors select items for their appearance (such as clothing and personal effects) according to their strategic value in controlling the image they wish to project. Similarly, Snyder and Copeland (1989) indicated that high self-monitors tailor the image they present to others in such a way to best meet their own interests. Likewise, Fandt and Ferris (1990) found that high self-monitors were more likely to manipulate information so as to present a more positive image of themselves. More recently, Turnley and Bolino (2001) found that high self-monitors were able to use impression management behaviors more effectively than low self-monitors in order to achieve favorable images among their colleagues. Thus, we would argue that high self-monitors would be more likely than low self-monitors to manipulate or use their attire in managing the impressions of others. Although there is signicant anecdotal evidence that sensitivity to and manipulation of ones attire can generate positive workplace outcomes, there is limited empirical evidence to support this. In their study of self-consciousness and clothing, Solomon and Schopler (1982) found that both males and females responded favorably when asked whether they believed that their attire inuenced others impressions of them. However, males who were high in public self-consciousness (involving overt behavior regarding ones appearance) placed greater value on the strategic utility of clothing when compared to females. A study of women by Tseelon (1992) found that respondents rated the importance of appearance as highest when among strangers, which she argued was consistent with impression management theory in that more attention is

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devoted to appearance when the audience is less familiar. Similarly, Guy and Banims (2000) qualitative study found that women used clothing to create various images, whether it be competent or distinctive. Based on this evidence, we would argue that those who use their attire for impression management would perceive such behavior as positively impacting workplace outcomes and the way they feel about themselves (i.e., their self-perceptions). Thus, H3: High self-monitors compared to low self-monitors will be more likely to use their attire to manage impressions. H4: The greater the belief that attire positively impacts workplace outcomes, the greater the use of attire to manage impressions. H5: The greater the belief that attire positively impacts the way one feels about oneself, the greater the use of attire to manage impressions. Appearance Labor Dressing appropriately for work takes a certain amount of physical and mental effort on the part of the attire wearer, particularly for those who care a great deal about their workplace image. There may also be a certain amount of dissonance between what individuals believe that they are expected to wear and what they would prefer to wear. Given that the effort and dissonance involved are similar to what one may experience with emotional labor, we refer to this process as appearance labor. There have been very few studies that have addressed this issue. The most focused of any study to date is a qualitative study of administrative personnel by Rafaeli and Dutton (1997). These researchers found that appropriate attire required a signicant amount of physical energy both on and off the job. While some respondents referred to the energy involved in shopping for the right kind of clothes for work or making corrections to garments in order to make them appropriate, others cited the effort involved in wearing appropriate attire on the job. Respondents also indicated that a signicant amount of mental effort was required in terms of planning what one would wear to t the various events or interactions necessary in a given work day. This conrmed earlier ndings by Solomon and Schopler (1982) that individuals placed a great deal of signicance on the various situations that they expected to nd themselves in during the day when planning what they were going to wear to work each day, indicating considerable mental effort and planning. Besides the physical and mental effort involved in appearance labor, it is also likely that a considerable amount of money is invested in purchasing and maintaining a workplace

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wardrobe which may be stressful. Given the evidence for appearance labor, we propose: H6: The greater their clothing interest and value of workplace attire, the more likely respondents will be to devote physical, mental, and nancial resources to their attire. H7: The less their clothing interest and value of workplace attire, the more likely respondents will be to dislike the physical, mental, and nancial resources that they spend on their attire. Individual Differences It is likely that there are individual differences in attire-related beliefs and behaviors. Gender differences have received some research attention with regard to attire but results have been mixed. For example, Solomon and Schopler (1982) found that females expressed signicantly higher clothing interest and indicated a greater connection between their attire and the quality of their performance when compared to males. However, males demonstrating high public self-consciousness were more likely to express high clothing interest and use their attire to inuence others. In a more recent study by Kwon (1994), males were found to believe that proper attire enhanced their perception of certain occupational attributes, but this was not found to be true for women. Position level might also explain different reactions to and use of clothing in the workplace. For example, Rafaeli and Dutton (1997) found that their respondents were very aware of hierarchical and functional level schemata in their workplace attire decisions. They indicated clear distinctions in terms of what was considered to be appropriate for those in management positions as opposed to non-management positions. Given the mixed research evidence on individual differences and the exploratory nature of our study, we will examine differences with respect to both gender and position level in our data analyses but will not make any specic hypotheses with regard to these relationships. METHOD Sample This study utilized a sample of graduate students enrolled in MBA programs at three medium-sized universities, two located in the Midwest and the other located in the southeastern part of the United States. Of the 200 surveys distributed, 109 surveys were returned, producing a response rate of 55%. Because three of the surveys contained missing data, 106 useable surveys were submitted for data analysis. Slightly

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more than half of the respondents (60%) were male. Although respondents ranged in age from 22 to 59, the mean age was 30 years. With regard to position, nearly half of the sample (48%) consisted of management or executive personnel. About 25% of the sample was currently working in banking or nance institutions, 22% in manufacturing, 11% in healthcare, and the remaining portion in education, government or non-prot organizations. Most (61%) worked in mid- to large-sized organizations (with over 500 employees). The mean number of years of full-time work experience was 9 years (SD=8.02), with 80% of the respondents having worked in their current department for 57 years. Survey Instrument The survey instrument consisted of two sections: (1) self-monitoring behavior and (2) personal beliefs and attitudes about attire. Demographic information was tapped through several single item questions, including gender, age, position level, years of full-time work experience, tenure in current department, size of organization, and hours worked per week. Self-Monitoring Behavior This measure was developed by Gangestad and Snyder (1985), consisting of 18 items with a reported coefcient alpha of .70. The response to each item is a true or false option. Those with scores of 11 or greater are considered high self-monitors and scores of 10 and below are low selfmonitors. Sample items were: I nd it hard to imitate the behavior of other people, I would probably make a good actor, and I am not particularly good at making other people like me. Personal Beliefs and Attitudes about Attire This section of the survey instrument consisted of six measures: (1) general clothing interest; (2) value of workplace attire; (3) use of attire to manage impressions; (4) appearance labor; (5) beliefs regarding workplace outcomes; and (6) self-perceptions. All items in this section were rated on a 5-point scale (1=Strongly Disagree, 5=Strongly Agree). The measure of general clothing interest was developed by Kwon (1994) who reported a coefcient alpha of .85 for this four-item scale. The items were: The way I look in my clothes is important to me, I consider clothing to be important in presenting myself, I have a high level of clothing interest and I am sensitive toward peoples clothing. The value of workplace attire was measured with four items developed by the authors. The measure assesses the extent to which one values others perceptions of ones attire. Sample items include: I value what others

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think of my workplace attire, and I enjoy the comments or praise that I receive from others on my workplace attire. The use of attire to manage impressions measure was developed by the authors, using several items identied by Rafaeli and Dutton (1997) regarding the use of clothing for workplace objectives. The total measure consisted of 7 items. Sample items include: I believe that what I wear inuences others impressions of me, I use my attire to inuence others impressions of me in the workplace, and I use my attire to accomplish certain workplace objectives in my relationships with others (e.g. establishing rapport, authority). The appearance labor measure was developed by the authors, using several items identied by Rafaeli and Dutton (1997) regarding the effort and planning involved in dressing appropriately for work. The total measure consisted of 8 items. Four items measured the attention devoted to planning and maintaining an appropriate wardrobe for work, with regard to time, money, physical effort and mental effort. Sample items include: I devote considerable mental effort to planning what to wear to work or work-related events and I devote considerable time to planning and maintaining an appropriate wardrobe for work or work-related events. Four items measured the extent of dislike involved in wearing or planning and maintaining an appropriate wardrobe for work, with regard to money, time, physical effort and mental effort. Sample items include: I dislike the amount of mental effort that I must spend on planning what to wear to work or workrelated events and I dislike the amount of time that I must spend on planning and maintaining an appropriate wardrobe for work or workrelated events. The measure for the beliefs regarding impact of attire on workplace outcomes was developed by the authors, consisting of 12 items. Four items measured the belief that ones typical workplace attire would positively impact the views of others. Sample items are: I believe that my typical workplace attire will have a positive impact on my co-workers views of me and I believe that my typical workplace attire will have a positive impact of my superiors views of me. Two items measured the belief that ones typical workplace attire would inuence others. These items include: I believe that my typical workplace attire will give me greater inuence over others at work and I believe that my typical workplace attire will give me greater power at work. Six items measured the belief that ones typical workplace attire would positively impact work-related outcomes. Sample items include: I believe that my typical workplace attire will help me to receive promotions and I believe that my typical workplace attire will have a positive impact on my pay/compensation.

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The measure for self-perceptions was in part adapted from Kwons (1994) occupational attributes measure with a reported coefcient alpha of .84. The measure was expanded to 20 items, which were grouped into ve categories of work-related self-perceptions, namely dependable, friendly, competent, productive, and inferior. All of the items were measured with the same statement My typical workplace attire makes me feel . The dependable subscale consisted of four items: trustworthy, honest, reliable, and responsible. The subscale for friendly included three items: cheerful, friendly, and approachable. The competent subscale consisted of six items: competent, professional, self-condent, intelligent, inuential, and powerful. The productive subscale included four items: productive, hard working, efcient, and energetic. The subscale for inferior included three items of unimportant, inferior, and ugly.

RESULTS Tables 1 and 2 contain the mean scores, standard deviations, correlations, and reliability coefcients for the variables measuring clothing interest, value of workplace attire, self-monitoring, attire impression management, appearance labor, self-perceptions, and perceptions of workplace outcomes. The mean scores indicate that respondents were generally interested in clothing (M = 3.83, SD = .73), placed a high value on workplace attire (M = 3.94, SD = .71), and indicated a high interest in using attire to manage the impressions of others (M = 3.66, SD = .73). Respondents demonstrated low self-monitoring behavior, although there was considerable variation (M = 9.45, SD = 3.67). We should note that the self-monitoring measure was recoded as a dichotomous variable for the data analysis according to the cutoff established by Gangestad and Snyder (1985). With regard to appearance labor, respondents indicated that some level of effort was devoted to planning and maintaining their attire for work (M = 2.82, SD = 1.05), but that this was not generally disliked (M = 2.62, SD = .91). Respondents strongly believed that their attire affected others views of them (M = 3.57, SD = 1.05), but saw their attire as less effective in affecting their power/inuence (M = 2.69, SD = 1.09) or work-related outcomes (M = 2.76, SD = 1.04). Respondents generally felt that their typical workplace attire inuenced their feelings of being dependable (M = 3.55, SD = .66), friendly (M = 3.42, SD = .77), competent (M = 3.59, SD=.72), and productive (M = 3.32, SD = .79). Few felt that their typical attire made them feel inferior (M = 1.82, SD = .83). Correlations were used to test hypotheses 1 and 2. Consistent with expectations, there was a signicant positive relationship between

Table 1 Means, Standard Deviations, Reliability Estimates, and Correlations for Predictor Variables, Appearance Labor, and Workplace Outcomes M 1.39 3.83 3.94 2.82 2.62 3.66 3.57 2.69 2.76 (.82) .60*** (.70) .58*** .46*** ).08 ).06 .42*** .52*** .29** .57*** .19 .35*** .22* .35*** (.91) .22* .44*** .40*** .30** .33*** (.83) .11 .29** .25* .36*** .49 .73 .71 1.05 .91 .73 1.05 1.09 1.04 101 (.75) 109 .25* 109 .28** 109 .16 109 ).12 109 .33** 89 .25* 89 .23* 89 .24* SD N 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.

Self-monitoring General clothing interest Value of workplace attire Effort devoted to attire Dislikes effort devoted to attire Dresses to impress Believes dress affects others views Believes dress affects ones power/inuence Believes dress affects work-related outcomes

(.81) .57*** (.92) .48*** .61*** (.89) .49*** .68*** .86*** (.92)

J. V. PELUCHETTE, K. KARL, AND K. RUST

Note: Scores of 11 or greater on the self-monitoring scale were recoded as 2 and scores of 10 and below were recoded as 1. Coefcient alphas are in the diagonal. *p < .05; **p < .01; ***p < .001.

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Table 2 Means, Standard Deviations, Reliability Estimates, and Correlations for Predictor Variables, Use of Attire in Impression Management, and Self-perceptions Self-monitoring .02 ).01 .27* .08 .00 .03 .13 .36*** .14 .00 .20 .20 .55*** .24* ).20 General clothing interest Value of workplace attire Dresses to impress .33** .28** .60*** .32* ).23*

Self-perceptions

SD

alpha

Dependable Friendly Competent Productive Inferior

3.55 3.42 3.59 3.32 1.82

.66 .77 .72 .79 .83

92 92 92 92 92

.82 .66 .83 .80 .83

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*p < .05; **p < .01; ***p < .001.

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general clothing interest and two of the three beliefs in workplace outcome measuresothers views (r = .29, p < .01) and work-related outcomes (r = .22, p < .05). A signicant positive relationship was also found between the value of workplace attire and all three beliefs in workplace outcome measuresothers views, ones power/inuence, and work-related outcomes (r = .57, p < .001; r = .35, p < .001; r = .35, p < .001, respectively). These ndings provide support for hypothesis 1. With regard to work-related self-perceptions, general clothing interest was signicantly related to the feeling of being competent (r=.36, p < .001) but was not found to be signicantly related to any other workplace emotion. There was also a signicant positive relationship found between the value of workplace attire and two work-related self-perceptionsfeelings of being competent (r = .55, p < .001) and feelings of being productive (r = .24, p < .05). These ndings provide partial support for hypothesis 2. As predicted, the results of our ANOVA analyses showed that high self-monitors were more likely than low self-monitors to believe that their attire had a positive impact on beliefs in workplace outcomes. Specically, high self-monitors (M = 3.89, SD = .96) were more likely than low selfmonitors (M = 3.34, SD = 1.1) to believe that their attire inuenced others views of them [F(1, 87) = 5.82, p < .05]. High self-monitors were also more likely than low self-monitors to believe that their attire had an impact on their power and inuence [M = 2.99, SD = 1.11 and M = 2.47, SD = 1.04, respectively; F(1, 87) = 5.05, p < .05] and work-related outcomes [M = 3.06, SD = 1.08 and M = 2.56, SD = .98, respectively; F(1, 87) = 5.15, p < .05]. Thus, hypothesis 3 was supported. With regard to work-related self-perceptions, high self-monitors (M = 3.82, SD = .70) were more likely than low self-monitors (M = 3.43, SD = .69) to report that their attire inuenced their feelings of competence [F(1, 87) = 6.54, p < .05]. No signicant differences were found between high and low selfmonitors on any of the other work-related self-perceptions (i.e., productive, dependable, friendly, inferior). Thus, only limited support was found for the fourth hypothesis. Consistent with expectations, high self-monitors (M = 3.97, SD = .60) were more likely than low self-monitors (M = 3.45, SD = .78) to demonstrate impression management behaviors [F(1, 99) = 12.26, p < .001]. Those using attire to impress others were also more likely to believe that their attire had an impact on workplace outcomes. There was a signicant positive relationship between the use of attire to impress others and all three of the beliefs in workplace outcome variablesothers views (r = .57, p < .001), ones power/inuence (r = .48, p < .001), and work-related outcomes (r = .49, p < .001). Also as predicted, there was a signicant positive relationship between the use of attire to impress others and four of the work-related self-perceptionsdependable (r = .32, p < .01), friendly (r = .28, p < .01), competent (r = .59, p < .001), and

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productive (r = .32, p < .01). A signicant negative relationship was found between the use of attire to impress and feeling inferior (r = ).23, p < .05). Thus, these ndings provide support for hypotheses 5, 6, and 7. With regard to appearance labor, the ndings were mixed. Respondents general clothing interest and value of workplace attire were signicantly related to the effort they devoted to attire (r = .58, p < .001; r = .46, p < .001, respectively), providing support for hypothesis 8. However, neither clothing interest nor value of workplace attire were signicantly related to the dislike of effort devoted to attire (r = ).08, p < .36 and r = ).10, p < .28; respectively). Thus, hypothesis 9 was not supported. Finally, when we examined gender and position level differences for our entire set of variables (i.e., self-monitoring, clothing interest, value of workplace attire, effort devoted to attire, dislike of effort devoted to attire, use of attire to manage impressions, the three beliefs in work-related outcome variables, and the ve work-related self-perceptions), we found only a few signicant results. Women were more likely than men to devote effort to their attire [M = 3.09, SD = 1.02 and M = 2.58, SD = 1.03, respectively; F(1, 106) = 6.56, p < .05] and to have greater interest in clothing [M = 3.98, SD = .68 and M = 3.70, SD = .75, respectively; F(1, 106) = 3.89, p < .051]. With regard to position level, managers were more likely than non-managers to report they devoted more effort to their attire (M = 3.06, SD = 1.1 and M = 2.61, SD = .69, respectively; F(1, 104) = 4.84, p < .05], that they used their attire to manage impressions [M = 3.85, SD = .69 and M = 3.48., SD = .75, respectively; F(1, 104) = 6.91, p < .01], and that their attire made them feel competent (M = 3.76, SD = .74 and M = 3.43, SD = .69, respectively; F(1, 87) = 4.57, p < .05].

DISCUSSION From our results, it is evident that attire plays a key role in individuals attitudes and beliefs regarding workplace outcomes. Of primary interest in this paper was the question of whether individuals use their workplace attire to manage the impressions of others. As expected, respondents who placed high value on their clothing saw its strategic use in managing impressions. There also appears to be a strong belief that such behavior has a positive impact on workplace outcomes and selfperceptions. By manipulating their attire, individuals believed that they could inuence others views, achieve greater power and inuence, and obtain work-related outcomes, such as advancement or compensation increases. Respondents also indicated that, when using their clothing to impress others, they experienced positive self-perceptions such as feeling

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dependable, competent, productive, and friendly. Dressing to impress proved to have particular utility for those who were high self-monitors or in management/executive positions. In general, the respondents in our sample appeared to place significant value on workplace attire and believe that it positively impacts several workplace outcomes. For individuals to see this link, it is clear that organizations must be recognizing and rewarding employee attention to attire. Our ndings suggest that this appears to be of particular concern to women. The fact that women, compared to men, were more interested in clothing and devoted signicantly more resources (physical, mental, and nancial) to their work wardrobe indicates that they see their image as playing a critical part of their career success. Seeing the value of workplace attire and its implications for workplace outcomes is likely to come more naturally for some individuals than for others. For example, high self-monitors were found to be more generally interested in clothing and see the value of workplace attire, as compared to low self-monitors. Those with high self-monitoring behavior also believed that attire would positively impact others views, their level of power or inuence and work-related outcomes, such as compensation and career advancement. High self-monitors are, by nature, able to perceive cues from their environment and adjust their image accordingly. For low self-monitors, attention to image would be more of a challenge since they are less perceptive of cues in their environment. However, failure to attend to ones image could be costly career-wise. Another important nding was that both men and women who value their workplace attire indicated that it makes them feel more competent at work. This link between employees attire and their feelings of competence may have important managerial implications. Feelings of competence are similar to Banduras (1995) concept of self-efcacy which is dened as beliefs in ones capabilities to organize and execute the courses of action required to manage prospective situations. Self-efcacy makes a difference in how people feel, think and act. With regard to feelings, a low sense of self-efcacy is associated with depression, anxiety, and helplessness, as well as pessimistic thoughts about accomplishments and personal development. Regarding thought, a strong sense of competence facilitates cognitive processes including quality of decision-making. When it comes to action, individuals with high selfefcacy choose to perform more challenging tasks, invest more effort and persistence, and, when faced with setbacks, recover more quickly than those with low self-efcacy (Bandura, 1995). Thus, for some individuals (i.e., high self-monitors, those who have high clothing interest and those who see the value clothing), dressing appropriately for work may result not only in feeling more competent, but also being able to perform more effectively on a variety of tasks.

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While our research ndings provide some interesting insights into individual beliefs and attitudes regarding workplace clothing, we are faced with just as many puzzling questions. If individuals value workplace attire and believe that it inuences others views, why are they not devoting more effort to their workplace wardrobe? Responses to our devote subscale for appearance labor resulted in a mean score that was slightly less than neutral. Likewise, our respondents claim that they dress to impress others, yet they do not devote a signicant amount of resources to this endeavor. Is this because our sample was relatively young and may not have the time or money to devote to their attire? Do they see the value of attire but devote little effort to it because they have low self-efcacy regarding their ability to choose the appropriate attire that will impress others? Or, do they feel that they are able to dress to impress when necessary, but do not at the present time have jobs or positions where their attire matters? Another interesting question relates to the nding that individuals believe that their attire impacts others views of them but are more ambivalent about its impact on their level of power and other workrelated outcomes. Why might this be so? These questions beg further investigation. We acknowledge that our study is not without limitations. While trying to extend previous research by examining men and women in current business settings, we utilized a sample of MBA students. However, this was a convenience sample and resulted in a small sample size. Future research needs to broaden the scope, targeting a larger more experienced sample from a broad range of occupations and positions. Second, many of the measures we used were created specically for this study. Additional studies are needed to ascertain the validity of these measures. Third, there are undoubtedly other unmeasured variables that would greatly increase our understanding of the how and why individuals use their workplace attire in impression management. For example, it is possible that a highly political workplace culture might prompt individuals to utilize a wider range of resources, including attire, to promote their image. A fourth limitation is that, although we asked respondents about their beliefs regarding their typical workplace attire, we did not ask them to describe their typical workplace attire. Research should examine the impact of various dress styles on employees attirerelated beliefs and behaviors. Those individuals who work in environments where professional business attire is the norm may be more likely to believe their attire has an impact on workplace outcomes than those who work in environments where casual dress, uniforms, or corporate wear are the norm. Finally, an additional avenue for future research involves further examination of the concept we have labeled appearance labor. We developed this concept assuming that there might be some individuals

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who resent the time, money, and mental and physical effort required to maintain an appropriate workplace wardrobe. One benet of casual dress policies may be that employees experience less stress and feel more positively toward their organization than employees who work for organizations with either a professional business attire or business casual attire policy. On the other hand, it is possible that employees may feel less competent or less powerful when dressed casually. In this study, we measured ones effort devoted to workplace attire, as well as ones dislike of the effort devoted to attire. Another important aspect of appearance labor would be employee opinions regarding their preferred mode of dress and whether the attire they are expected to wear by their employer is consistent with what they would prefer to wear. To conclude, we believe that this study has made several important contributions to the literature regarding attire in the workplace. Specically, it has provided an empirical investigation into the beliefs and attitudes of male and female attire wearers in business workplace settings. Our ndings with regard to self-monitoring behavior, dressing to impress, and appearance labor were particularly unique contributions.

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