Appearance and dress as a source of information: A qualitative approach to data collection

Kim K.P. Johnson, Nancy A. Schofield, Jennifer Yurchisin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


A content analysis of 39 women’s responses to open-ended interview questions revealed a) what impressions they formed of others based on appearance and dress, as well as what cues they chose, and b) that they believed that others also used appearance and dress cues when forming impressions of them. Neither participants’ impressions of others nor participants’ beliefs regarding others’ impressions of them contained information that extended beyond the perceived person to include other people or things associated with the perceived person. Instead, the content of the information inferred included personality characteristics, information about behaviors, biological traits, health and hygiene, and social roles. Most participants believed that both they and others were accurate at decoding information from general appearance and dress cues, although some participants believed that accuracy was dependent upon the situation or related to specific appearance or dress cues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)125-137
Number of pages13
JournalClothing and Textiles Research Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2002


  • Appearance
  • Communication
  • Dress
  • Social perception


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