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Choosing Clothing

People judge you by who you represent yourself to be. Clothing is a major part of this. We talk about clothing selection and having a checklist to assess the clothing you are considering buying.

Erasmus Erasmus : Clothing is critically important. Most people judge you – on how you present yourself.
Kinkajou Kinkajou: Sure, but that’s not really that important, is it?
Erasmus Erasmus : Well let’s look at an example.
An older man is going to the beach. He is dressed up in his old rash shirt and old shorts and has a pair of ugly looking beach sandals as footwear. He has sunburn cream smeared over his face and arms, making him look quite “seedy”. He is carrying an old beach bag. On the way to the beach from where he has parked his car, he eventually walked up to a traffic light. At this traffic light, are a number of people including a middle-aged woman (the mother) and a very young and very attractive young lady in a very brief bikini. This the older man looks around, looking at the people, the dogs they have with them and happens to glance across the young lady.

The mother notices glance. She becomes angry and begin shouting. How dare you look at my daughter. She’s only 14 years old you know. Dirty old men like you shouldn’t be looking at young girls, you pervert. The abuse and the yelling continue to escalate. The older man decides the only escape possible is to run across the street, dodging the traffic to get away from the angry yelling woman.

Young Lady in BikiniOld Man at Beach Would you like this guy to be talking to your daughter?

Goo the Numbat Goo : The problem is very basic. The older man looks like a hobo because he is wearing beach clothes and sunburn cream which has not quite all melded into the skin. The woman is upset because she believes her daughter should not be eyed over by such a “non-valuable” member of the community.

Kinkajou Kinkajou: Escaping from the woman, could well have caused an injury to the older man because he has been forced to run across a road with active traffic to escape the hysterical shrieks of the mother.

Erasmus Erasmus : Replay the scenario. An older man is going to the beach. He intends to go to the café next to the beach first. His hair is meticulously and carefully presented. His skin is lightly tanned. His clothes are very expensive. His watch is very expensive and flashy. His shoes are very well presented and well shined. The man is carrying an expensive leather bag of obvious quality.

Professional Older man Professional Older Man

Kinkajou Kinkajou: What is going to happen when this man looks around?
Erasmus Erasmus : Likely something very different is going to happen this time. The mother may well talk to him. If he is friendly and personable, she may well introduce him to her daughter, and you never know may well even invite him to dinner.
Goo the Numbat Goo : The difference between these two situations? The answer is clothes. Most people will judge you on how you present yourself. Look like a hobo and get treated like a hobo. Look like a pleasant rich older man and you’ll be finding people smile at you and doors open.

Erasmus Erasmus : Young women from time immemorial have realised how differently men treat pretty and well-presented women. Very different from the treatment they give to a “boiler”. (A description given by Sir Bob Ansett to older female staff at his airline. In effect, describing the older female staff as old birds suitable only for boiling and barely edible). 

Goo the Numbat Goo : In short, clothes matter. They matter a lot. They will be the basis upon which people decide they will help you or hinder you. So, it is important to always dress as acceptably and as professionally as possible – appropriate to the circumstances in which you find yourself.

Erasmus Erasmus : The basic principle of choosing your clothes is easy. Pick clothes for different seasons of the year. Pick clothes are suitable for business or work, leisure (semiformal) – going out, working in the garden or doing messy activities, and home/leisure.
Best to present this as a table. The issue is to keep this in mind when selecting clothes. If you’re buying clothes, make sure you put a tick in every box of the table.


Business or Work Clothes

Leisure (Semi-formal) - going out

Work or Garden: doing activity in a messy environment

Home Leisure













What you’re trying to do is make sure you have clothes that are suitable for the situations in which you’re likely to find yourself.

Some clothes are a bit more occasional than the above table shows. For example, in Brisbane, a friend of mine has only one suit. He explained this by saying that he only manages to find an occasion to wear this suit, only once every few years – births/weddings/funerals/official occasions or court.

Court is definitely one of those critical life events. Judges judge you on how you present yourself. So, if you’re going to court, you should think carefully of the image you are portraying to the judge. Because it is likely that you will be treated differently depending on what you wear. Look like a professional and be treated like a professional. Look like a Yobbo and get treated like a Yobbo.

Kinkajou Kinkajou: I had a friend who went to get an emergency passport because he had suddenly realised, he had lost his passport in the couple of days prior to his overseas trip for a relative’s funeral. The passport office was full of Australian yobboes, wearing stubbies (shorts) and thongs – all going to Bali. They were even arguing with the staff behind the counter about needing to pay to get a passport. (This is a government determined standard fee). The usual waiting time for a passport was given as a month.

My friend attended the passport officer. He was immaculately dressed in professional clothing. He had everything the passport officer required to enable an application to be processed. He did not quibble about the fee and was quite willing to pay an extra emergency fee to have the passport processed quickly.

In short, he stood out from the crowd – as being a pleasant and reasonable person in a serious crisis. The passport officer pulled out all the stops to help them. The passport will be ready in three hours. And apart from the standard passport charge, there would be no extra fee.

Yobbo in Stubbies and Thongs Yobbo in Stubbies and Thongs and drinking as well.

Goo the Numbat Goo : Yes. I think I would believe that how you present yourself does make a difference to how people treat you. Present well and get treated well. Presenting badly invites being treated badly.

Kinkajou Kinkajou: What we are aiming to give you by creating the table above is to give you some way of choosing what clothes you’re going to wear and in what situations. In short, you will aim to have a wardrobe which gives you something to wear in all the possible situations that may present themselves to you in life.

Erasmus Erasmus : Personality is an important factor in the choice of clothing.

For example, Enneagram threes favour good official business wear and very casual comfortable leisure clothing almost akin to rags.

Whereas Enneagram nines favour smart leisure clothing and are quite comfortable in business wear that is quite ordinary. They are far more likely to meticulously iron their leisure clothing than their business wear. The difference here is one of orientation. 

Enneagram threes are workers and put a lot of emphasis on success in their work. Whereas Enneagram nines relax into a work mode and hence favour smart leisure clothing. Neither choice is right or wrong. However, genetics play a big role in your choices. And what is really strange is that so many people do not realise how their genes dictate for fashion choices.

Enneagram Ones prefer a meticulous and careful dress appearance, especially favouring white clothing. 

Enneagram Eights always seek to be the most impressive – most formal.

Enneagram Fours are more likely to choose to want to stand out and break away from the pack. So, you’re likely to see them wearing the most colourful, most flashy and most discordant clothing as a rule. Alternatively, they develop a unique and “standout” image. Something distinctive, if not flashy or discordant.

Personality subtypes can again completely change the presentation of a personality. A social Enneagram  three is likely to emphasise meticulous and impressive social wear especially including business wear. Whereas a self pres Enneagram three   is likely to accentuate just getting the job done, even if the job is dirty or messy and would expect to wear clothing that “efficiently” matches the task.

Kinkajou Kinkajou: Choosing clothing requires training. Yes, we can all choose what we like. But we are not born with an inherent fashion sense. We learn this by looking at what our friends or neighbours or acquaintances wear. We learn this by looking at TV and magazines. Young people in the first flush of earning money will make very different clothing choices several years down the track when they have gained more experience with purchasing and wearing clothing.

Erasmus Erasmus : Choosing clothing requires time. Every piece of clothing that is selected should be tried on in the stores’ change rooms.

Every item tried on must be assessed in terms of:
is it functional? (Can you move your arms and legs fully? For example, if your shirt is too tight across the chest ,you may not be able to abduct your arms properly or raise your arms properly).
Is it comfortable?
Is it suitable for purpose? (The right colour, the right shape, the right number of pockets, able to fit belts or other accessories that we already have).
Is it able to be combined with other items in our wardrobe?
Does the clothing suit your dress needs? (People who have some middle-age spread, who are working in a city like Brisbane - tend to not tuck their shirts into their trousers. Shirts are allowed to drape over the top of the trousers/trouser belt. However not all shirts are cut at the bottom in a suitable fashion to allow them to be draped over clothing rather than tucked into it.

Shape Women

Goo the Numbat Goo : In short put it on, try it on, have a look and have a think
about what you are buying.

Erasmus Erasmus : I particularly remember one man who had been dragged to a New Year’s sale by his wife. He was too impatient to even try on a pair of shorts. What sort of a fool thinks that every item of clothing is made to suit him? You can just imagine what he would look like at home as clothing becomes more worn out and tatty and dishevelled.

A person who has no real interest in selecting clothing would do okay, if he would simply allow his wife to select some items for him and then cooperate with her in assessing them. All it would take is a simple assessment of “does this fit”?
To refuse to spend any time or effort in selecting clothing means you are doomed to look “poor” or to look like a hobo.


Shape Men

Kinkajou Kinkajou: Other general hints for choices of clothing?
Erasmus Erasmus : Weight gain can be a common problem for many people in our society. People tend to gain weight from about 40 years of age. Gaining 4-5 kg is equivalent to gaining 2 inches on the waistline. This can be enough to render almost everything in your wardrobe unwearable. A total revamp of the whole wardrobe may be required if you gain weight. This can be very costly and very inconvenient if you allow the situation to develop to a crisis point where only one or two items of clothing fit you anymore.

Some people can get away with wearing just about anything and look good in it. I think it is pretty obvious that an attractive girl looks attractive almost no matter whatever she is wearing. But for many people thinking about clothing and body shape is important. Let’s think about some basic principles, little talked about.

A Belt that is the same colour as the trousers tends to make your legs longer and make you look taller.

Vertical stripes on clothing tend to make you look taller.
Horizontal stripes on clothing tend to make you look wider.

A good jacket can hide your upper body shape or the shape of your waist.

Younger people these days tend to choose very slim fit trousers. Yes, this is the fashion but yes it also accentuates thinness – or lack of obesity.

High waisted Jeans tend to accentuate the shape of the buttocks – quite attractive if you have a few good curves there. But some people have quite flat bums. Lower waisted trousers would tend to accentuate what little curves there are in the buttock area.

Cuffed pants create visually short legs while pants without cuffs create the appearance of longer legs.

Men tend to look unbalanced if their shoulders are not as wide as the hips. If that is your body shape you need to select clothing that adds a little bit to your shoulder width and shape. That can be a jacket, or can be a shirt with a bit more shoulder width.

If you are too thin, you can look heavier with clothes that this makes use of horizontal lines.
If you want to minimise your height, horizontal lines can divide the length of your body and make you look somewhat short.

To be slimmer, choose vertical lines that lengthen the narrow your body.

If you have a very broad shoulders, (surely broader than your hips), you need to add more dimension below the waist.

If you have high waist/short legs, this can be negated by trousers with a short distance from crotch to waistband, because the trousers will sit lower to your waist. Jumpers and slightly longer jackets will also help create the illusion of a lower waistline.

A low waist/ long legs can be negated by wearing trousers that have a long distance between crotch and the waistband. Having a wide waistband or belt that matches the trousers, can also visually raise the waist.

If you have a long neck, look for shirt collars that fit high on your neck.

If you have a round face, it can appear lengthened if your clothes are less baggy and slightly thinner with narrower shoulders. If your face is extremely long and thin, the use of bulkier clothes and more neutral colours can make the face seem to broaden.

As a general point when assessing clothing:
look at your face,
look at your neck,
look at your shoulders,
look at your waist,
look at your buttocks,
look at your leg length.

And just think about how this makes you look.

A simple modern non-clothing example of how you can change the shape of your body is with haircuts. A number of my friends have recently begun shaving the hair on the temple to quite short lengths, leaving the hair on the top of the head long. This has the effect of making the head look longer and thinner, and making the shape of the face- less round and less fat.

Kinkajou Kinkajou: Gets rid of your fat puffy round face, Eh?

Erasmus Erasmus : Indeed.

Kinkajou Kinkajou: When you select clothing, you are not only selecting clothing for yourself. You are also selecting clothing for other people.

The main groups are workmates and your home partner. There is no point selecting clothing that you love and your partner (husband or wife) hates. Life and relationships can be difficult enough without adding another constant little niggle to the relationship – reminding the other person about how unattractive or obstinate or difficult you can be.

And if you are selecting clothing to wear at work for example, you need to be selecting clothing that is acceptable to the group of people at work. Clothing can help you become more favourably judged and more accepted by others at work. So, think about your choices. They matter.

Dr Xxxxx Dr Xxxxx : Clean clothing is critical. Especially if you’re working outside in a dirty environment, I believe is absolutely critical to never put on dirty clothes at the start of any day. Once you have suffered an episode of heat rash from wearing dirty clothing, you will think about your choice of workwear with much more care. In any case, in our society, washing is easy. Stick it in the washing machine, add some powder and press the button. Pull it out and drape it across a clothes line where it dries itself over a day or two, (a lot less in Brisbane). Having clean clothing is easy and takes very little time. In many situations it does not even need to be ironed to be worn.

Stains look dirty. If you like white shirts, you may need to throw them out if they become irretrievably sustained, no matter how clean you may think they are.

Remember people judge you by the clothes you wear. You do not want to wear clothing that looks dirty and neglected – as would happen if the clothing were stained
Even tradespeople, if they are careful, try to wear clean clothing. Many painters for example choose white clothing. Even if the clothing is covered in paint spots, it still looks clean - if it is white. Whereas other colours tend to look relatively dirtier.

Goo the Numbat Goo : Interesting. Wearing "clean" dirty clothes makes you look much more professional. And remember, looking good likely increases acceptance and trust, by others.

Erasmus Erasmus :Keep your clothing in good repair. Stitching trouser bottoms (hems) is probably the most difficult thing that most people would need to do. It is not that hard to do manually although it can be a little time-consuming.
Buttons are easy to replace.
Clothing that is falling apart does not earn you any cookie points.

Kinkajou Kinkajou: Consider clothing styles and the extent to which they work for you. I have some friends who are particularly enamoured of cargo pants, especially if they are travelling. Having extra pockets to put things in makes life while travelling much easier.

It is interesting how people handle situational crises that can be assisted by clothing. For some people, fashion is everything even if the clothing is uncomfortable or unsuitable, (for example, as in having inadequate or inappropriate pockets to store someone’s phone). Some personalities would rather wear well presented clothes than functional or "useful" clothes.

Goo the Numbat Goo : Personality is part of every decision you make. There are no right or wrong choices. Just choices that tick the box in terms of being acceptable to you to wear in different aspects of your life.

Choosing Clothes

Choosing Clothes: what suits one person, may not suit others: look here at body shape, skin colour.

Do the assessment: face, neck, shoulders, chest , waist, hips >>
Note what a difference hair makes to the shape and aesthetic.


Erasmus Erasmus : For some Enneagram personalities, clothing just needs to look good – not work good. For some Enneagram personalities, functionality is everything. Cargo pants are often not the most stylish and trousers while travelling but they do solve a lot of problems with comfort and ease in safety and security – which very few other styles of clothing can manage.

Goo the Numbat Goo : What about other aspects of clothing besides shape and cut?
What about Colour?

Erasmus Erasmus : The final issue is that there are specific colours in clothing that suit people - or not.
Some colours will enhance your face making you look younger, healthier or more attractive. Facial lines and shadows can be hushed. The wrong colours and clothing can make you look more tired or sallow and may drain the natural colour from your face.

If your clothes stand out too much colour wise, people may spend their time looking at your clothing not at you. Your abilities and authority can be undermined because you do not project a powerful or harmonious image.

As a basic issue consider that universal fashion accessory for men – the white shirt. "White" actually covers a whole range of colours. For example, a white refrigerator or domestic appliance actually has very light grey tinge to the white, not pure white in colour. Same with shirts. There are yellowy white shirts. There are slightly grey white shirts. There are crispy white shirts.

When selecting clothing try to assess the clothing in light that is as close to pure white daylight as possible. Many shops have yellow lighting which gives a bit of a warm glow to your colour. But when you walk outside into the light of day, the clothing you have bought can look very very different.

The topic can get quite complicated. But the basic issue is to at least consider how different colour clothing affects how you look. When you buy clothing don’t just look at the clothes. Also look at your face, your hands, your shape and how it changes your complexion and appearance.

As a general rule – if you are not perfectly comfortable with the clothes that you are seeking to buy – look somewhere else. Our world is a very big place indeed.