All those dress for success formulas apparently forgot something important. Nonconformity can be a good thing when thoughtfully applied. However, if observers think you are unaware that your behavior or attire is not conforming–then you’re just a weirdo. Harvard researchers call this the “red sneakers effect” and here’s how it works.
Many of us think that there is a social cost to dressing differently or not following established norms. We might predict nonconformity would lead to social rejection, for example. On the contrary, in this research (which included 5 laboratory and field experiments), observers (from very different walks of life) saw the nonconformist more positively.
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