In the famous study conducted by Townsend & Levy (1990) the two scientists wondered about the effects of status (as signified by clothing), AND attractiveness, on both male and female subjects willingness to engage in romantic relationships (on the Craig David scale.. eg going for a drink on Monday, and though until Wednesday...).
The big question for the chaps was whether high status was enough to compensate for less handsomness?
To test this, a selection of male targets were pre-rated for physical attractiveness and divided into two categories - described as handsome, and 'homely'.
The targets were then assigned one of three outfits:
Outfit number one included sharp suit, shirt, tie and a Rolex watch. Targets wearing this garb were described as being doctors (high status).
The second outfit included a simple plain white shirt and trousers and its wearers were described as having medium status occupations.
The third outfit was the uniform of a Burger King employee. Obviously, low status.
In the results, and for the most part, the women subjects expressed a preference for high status males, regardless of good-looks than with medium or low status / handsome males
The clothes maketh the man, it would appear?
Or is it simply the status?
Of course, we wondered if this would replicate in advertising agencies, given that dress codes are somewhat reversed.
Here’s an experiment to try.
Get three groups of agency males together of varying good-lookingness, and a panel of agency women.
Group 1 outfits. Ironic t-shirt, beards and tattoos. Described as being creatives (eg high status).
Group 2. Cardigans, brogues, glasses. Described as being planners (medium status – although we all know that they are the most important people in the agency).
Group 3. Expensive suit (slightly too small a la Norman Wisdom, no socks, slip-on shoes. Described as being Account handlers (low status).
We can compare data at a later point.