The aesthetics we wear: How attire influences what we buy

Keisha M. Cutright, Shalena Srna, Adriana Samper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Every day, people make aesthetic decisions about what they will wear and how they will physically present themselves to the world. In the present research, we investigate whether one’s attire influences subsequent consumption decisions. We demonstrate that when people wear more formal, professional attire, their propensity to purchase goods is heightened-a finding replicated across a diverse set of categories and not intuited by either retailers or shoppers. We find that formal styling can increase purchasing behavior because it enhances a specific form of confidence, social confidence, which buffers individuals from the social anxiety associated with decision making. In addition to addressing alternative explanations (e.g., mood, status, or resource priming), we also demonstrate a reversal: In environments where norms dictate that formal styling is viewed negatively (i.e., counterculture stores), formal dress decreases purchase intentions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)388-397
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the Association for Consumer Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Marketing


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