This BBC news story which could equally be a clever PR stunt is attributed to new kid on the Savile Row block, black fashion designer Oswald Boateng.

He also suggests that it’s not about wearing a suit in business which makes you melt into the crowd of other suit wearers, making you less special; but also that a made to measure suit says so much more about who you are compared to off the peg. (Well he would say that, wouldn’t he).

Research by Karen Pine, a psychology professor at Hertfordshire University indicated that people are judged on their overall appearance within seconds – with clothing as biggest element of this first impression.

So buying a business suit for say £5,000 versus £500. Does the former make your first impression ten times more powerful?

Personally, I think wearing a £5,000 does have a distinct advantage, but it probably has little to do with fashion or people spotting a Savile Row masterpiece. Surely the £5,000 suit has everything to do with the effect on the wearer.


Let’s be frank. Most people are not going to be aware of how much you spent on your outfit. They will however be totally aware of how the clothing is worn and consequently how the wearer comes across. By wearing expensive clothing, the wearer will probably have more self confidence, acting and behaving differently – and it’s this that translates to you giving a great impression.

Think of someone like Paul McCartney or other ageing rocker. When he appears on TV to be interviewed he’s probably not wearing a suit, or even a jacket. You would have no way of knowing how much he paid for his outfit – even if the clothing belonged to him as opposed to the TV station’s wardrobe department.

But Macca doesn’t have to impress people any longer and we are already impressed even at a subconscious level by who he is. In the early days however he did have to pay attention to his suits, his shoes, his haircut and the image he was promoting or told to promote. Good quality clothes would have given him the outer confidence to win the battle with his inner confidence.

In short, if you feel haven’t made the grade you aspire to get to yet, then do think about what you wear. Chose things that make you feel good and especially that make you feel more confident. How much you actually spend in reality is of secondary importance unless of course you’re aware of the massive confidence lift a £5,000 would bring you…

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