IF THE SUIT FITS: THE IMPACT OF CLOTHING ON ELECTORAL SUCCESS
Political imagery has been an important consideration for as long as there were politicians. Franklin Delano Roosevelt famously hid his need for a wheelchair, as he believed that it would make him look weak and hinder his electoral success. A perusal of images of Vladimir Putin may have you questioning whether he spends more time bare-chested than not. And comedians have had a glut of material to work with recently with the fashion misadventures of politicians like Donald Trump and Roy Moore. However, these examples all come from popular media and little academic research has been conducted on the role of clothing and fashion on a politician’s voter appeal. Most contemporary research on appearance and political appeal has focused on physical features rather than malleable traits. This program of research has approached this gap in the study of clothing on a politician’s appeal to discover whether different categories of fashion clothing can impact a politician’s voter appeal, as measured by candidate likability and voting intentions. Using Bell’s (1991) categorization of men’s fashion, two studies were planned with a corresponding pre-study for each. Participants were drawn from undergrad students for each study.
fashion, political image, voter appeal
Master of Science (M.Sc.)
Edwards School of Business