According to the Dramaturgical Perspective, the “look” a person displays is usually geared for a particular audience and it is important for them to use this “look” in such a way as to make others view them favorably. To describe in short what a “look” is, in this article, defining a “look” is anywhere from a person’s attire (top, bottoms, accessories, etc.) to appearances (tattoos, facial hair, muscles, etc.) that a person is intentionally or unintentionally trying to convey on a daily basis. Closets hold many possible versions of our past, present, and future selves, so why do people choose (or not choose) to be a part of a particular “look?” Is this “look” attracting a specific partner? Through loose observation of stars such as Justin Bieber and Tom Brady, this article will outline their two “looks” as straightforward examples of what a “look” can be. There clearly are more “looks” than the two described here, but these two will be an exemplary representation of what clothes/appearances can do to attract a partner.
This article will take the Matching Hypothesis originally outlined by Berscheid, Dion, Walster, & Walster (1971) in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology a step further, placing physical attractiveness as more than just a “9 is attracted to a 9” approach. This article will also place clothing/attire as an aspect of physical attractiveness, as originally defined in studies by Guerrero, Andersen, & Afifi (2011) and Miller & Perlman (2009), and how similarity can be observed and grown through something as simple as someone’s appearance.
The two “looks” discussed in this article may have many variations of specific clothing, hair styles, accessories, etc. within themselves, but for the central task of describing a “look” that everyone can relate to or observe on their own, the description will represent more of a trend of looks from these two that is not to be taken too literally. The two “looks” outlined are the “Bieber Look” and “Brady Look.”
The “Bieber Look:”
If there is one look that has certainly changed drastically over the years, it is the “Bieber Look.” In just a few short years, the 20-year-old singer/dancer has transformed his “look” and demeanor from the tween-friendly, swoop-to-the-side bangs style to the now shirtless and tattooed “bad boy” style. These days, a “Belieber” would be hard-pressed to find a non-selfie picture of Bieber not displaying one of his now many tattoos with his shirt off. This is sure to be done intentionally as he is desperately trying to redefine himself in the public sphere. Who has been the pretty lady planted under his arm for most of this transformation? None other than a lady similarly trying to change her own image from “goody, goody tweenie” to “look at me, I am a woman now.” In just a few years, something as simple as a new haircut, sleeve tattoos, and a change from plaid shirts and ball caps to brightly colored leather jackets and gold chains has completely transformed the Biebs. His new “look” has now made him an ideal suitor for like-minded stars attempting to also transform themselves.
The “Brady Look:”
Being one of the best quarterbacks in the history of the game can unquestionably help a man bag a supermodel like Gisele Bundchen. However, Brady does not have a woman like that just because he has three Super Bowl rings. The starting quarterback for the New England Patriots is a man who exudes confidence on and off the field and that confidence can certainly stem from being a constant winner. But as shown in press conferences time and time again, even after a win or a loss, the man is a tactician when it comes to how he looks. The football player turned four-time GQ cover model, has mastered the art of looking sharp while “not trying” to look sharp with his attire and five o’clock shadow that apparently never finishes growing in. Brady is a self-proclaimed snappy dresser who clearly pays attention to how his “look” is displayed… and it shows. From his perfectly tailored suits to his high-end quality endorsements, Brady is a man that portrays his unmistakable enjoyment of the finer things in life. Perhaps that is why he has netted the world’s highest-paid supermodel.
To address the first question presented in the introduction, the point of simply outlining these two “looks” is to give a more visual representation of how a person can choose a “look” in order to be placed within a specific group, thus giving them a certain identity and membership into that group. Through the simple daily process of selecting a wardrobe, stars like Bieber and Brady actually can control the presentation of their identities. And whether being a part of the Justin Bieber or Tom Brady “look”, a person’s membership within these groups can be seen as attractive or not attractive to possible future partners. As Guerrero, Andersen, and Afifi (2011) simply put it, it is this desire to display a specific identity or version of themselves that shapes social interactions and influences relationships.
Now that a man has formed an identity and is a member of a certain group, it is important to discuss how perceived similarities can attract a man to their partner. Although identity can be expanded and protected within close relationships in the long run, the “look” a man can display initially not only places them as a certain member of a group and gives them an identity, but it can also attract others due to perceived similarities.
According to the Matching Hypothesis, we have a tendency to be attracted to people who appear similar to ourselves. To simply put it, good-looking people like good-looking people. Just as “hipster” looking people like “hipster” looking people or how “biker dudes” are attracted to “biker chicks.” Unfortunately, Berscheid et al. (1971) limited their hypothesis to strictly “a 9 is attracted to a 9” approach, ignoring other aspects of physical attractiveness.
As outlined in studies by Guerrero, Andersen, & Afifi (2011), physical attractiveness can include many other aspects, including attire and appearances (or “look”). Therefore, this projection of self is what can be seen as attractive to others. For example, simply having the “Bieber Look” or the “Brady Look” can make a man appear more attractive or not attractive to a potential partner because they are perceived as having similar or dissimilar interests in music, dance, riding on Harleys, and clothing or other qualities and actions associated with that specific lifestyle or “look.”
So back to the original question: Is the “look” attracting the lady? The answer simply is yes. Although there are many forces at work in attracting a woman, this public display of a “look” is more likely to draw a specific type of woman who shares a similar identity and has perceived similarities. The point is, whether a person’s style can fall under the “Bieber,” “Brady,” “Hipster,” “Nerd,” “Jock,” “Emo,” or any other kind of “look” a person can think of, appearances communicate identity and display similarities directly and indirectly.
Again, the idea is that the clothing a person wears or appearance a person is trying to convey is a representation of a host of personal qualities. To take this another step further, attire/appearances- or simply “looks”- can also represent race, religion, educational level, socioeconomic status, sexual preferences, and much more. Therefore, this sentiment holds true for much more than just the categories represented or the audience that had been targeted in this article. Whether a person is in a bar, at a concert, in the workplace, or simply walking around Hollywood Boulevard, it is important to realize that whether intentionally or not, the “look” is a very powerful tool in attracting a possible partner.
So men: although a change of identity and what type of women there is to attract with it can be just a simple wardrobe change away, be aware of the possible repercussions, because no one wants to end up with this…
Commentary by Ryne Vyles
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