Researchers at the Harvard Business School claim that people who do not follow "normal fashion" get more respect from others. Doctoral student Silvia Bellezza and two of her colleagues examined how we view the social status and competence of people who do not conform to "normal" ways of dressing. They discovered thatthe more outlandishly people dress, the more respect they get. Participants in the research considered others who had a "weirder" fashion to be more unique. Researchers said that rather than think badly of someone scruffily dressed, many people believe that dressing down is a sign of confidence. Ms Bellezza said: "Ifyou're willing to deviate, there are upsides."
Bellezza conducted a number of experiments to test how people reacted to non-conformity. In one, people indifferent types of clothes shopped at expensive boutiques in Milan. One group wore casual sports clothes, while the other donned expensive-looking outfits. The sales assistants assumed the ones in the sports gearwere the bigger spenders. In another test, students rated an unshaven, T-shirt-clad professor above an academic wearing a suit and tie. Bellezza says high-profile entrepreneurs who dress down may be responsible for changing our perceptions. In particular, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's wearing of hoodies and the lateSteve Jobs' trademark jeans, sneakers and polo neck tops.