Salesclerks offer faster and friendlier service to well-dressed people.

How to Tell My Friend She Needs to Dress Better

by MollyAnne Cerreta Smith

When telling a friend that she needs to dress better, you may have her best interest at heart. However, that does not make the conversation any less awkward. Approach your friend kindly about the subject. Then offer her facts about how dressing better can change people's first impression of her, help her get better service at stores and even help her reach success in her career.

Be Kind in Your Approach

Female friends have an important bond -- one that can actually improve their health, according to a UCLA study on friendship among women. Scientists believe that hanging out with female friends can counteract stress that women encounter on a daily basis. To ensure you do not cause your friend any added stress, approach the topic gently and assure your friend that you have her best interest in mind.

Clothing Makes a Lasting First Impression

In a "Psychology Today" article, Ben C. Fletcher, professor of occupational and health psychology at the University of Hertfordshire and professor of fashion at Istanbul Bilgi University, writes, "It is important to choose our dress style carefully because people will make all sorts of assumptions and decisions about us without proper evidence." He adds that while people may consider fashion to be a "profligate indulgence" and "our sunny personality will eclipse our dull attire or detract from the soup stains on our anorak," that thinking is false. He asserts that conscientious dressing is worthwhile because what we wear broadcasts a great deal of information to others.

Well-Dressed Women Get Better Service

If your friend thinks she doesn't get treated fairly when shopping, she's onto something. According to a study by Sharron Lennon, professor of consumer sciences at Ohio State University, and Minjeong Kim, now an assistant professor at Oregon State University, salesclerks treat well-dressed people better because they believe they are more likely to buy. The results of the study, published in "Clothing and Textiles Research Journal," determined that "well-dressed and groomed women received the friendliest and, in some cases, fastest service from salesclerks." Advise your friend to dress well when she goes out to receive better service.

Dressing Better Helps People Succeed

According to, people who dress better have better opportunities for advancement in their workplace. The article "How to Dress for Success at Work" reveals statistics from a survey that shows 41 percent of employers are more likely to promote people in their organization who dress professionally than those who do not. The article suggests keeping work attire professional -- leaving tight, revealing, sloppy, wrinkled or very casual clothes at home. Advise your friend to opt for professional staples such as black slacks, button down shirts and dark dress shoes.

About the Author

MollyAnne Cerreta Smith has more than 15 years of experience as an editor and writer in print and online media. She regularly contributes to online publication, where she shares her parenting (and other!) insights with thousands of readers and writes for other local print and online publications as well.

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