Does it Matter What We Wear? A Sociolinguistic Study of Clothing and Human Values

Mohammad Aliakbari, Khadijeh Abdolahi


This paper sets out to examine the differences in people’s reactions to each other as a function of dress style to see how a stranger clothed in different modes of dress is reacted against. Effects of two dress conditions, the former normally worn by upper-middle class members of society and the latter often worn by lower-class members (style A and style B, hereafter), were investigated under controlled conditions. To this end, three female housewives clothed in the two sets of polar garment styles were selected as buyers to have shopping experiences in different settings. Results indicated that participants (clients) of the study received different reactions from their respondents (sellers) in the two different conditions of dressing. In other words, participants in style A were accepted more readily than when they were dressed in the style B. This seems to indicate that clothing has a great impact on social interaction and impression management.

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International Journal of Linguistics  ISSN 1948-5425  Email:

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