What to Wear: Businesswomen's Choice of Professional Dress
Previous research has shown that separately and in some combinations internal and external variables (e.g., fashion consciousness, the weather), in addition to the demographic variables of the individual (e.g., gender, age), can affect dress choice. The purpose of this study was to explore the relationships between the variables within the Choice of Professional Dress system and businesswomen's choice of professional dress along the classic–innovative fashion continuum (e.g., whether the professional dress is considered by the dress adopter as more classic or more innovative).
A model was developed for this study to illustrate the relationships between multiple variables that are proposed to influence an individual's choice of professional dress. A survey questionnaire was created to investigate businesswomen's choice of professional dress along the classic–innovative fashion continuum in regards to variables within two of the internal subsystems, the demographic subsystem, and the two external subsystems of the Choice of Professional Dress system. Data was collected via an online survey managed by a marketing research company. Participants were predominately married, Caucasian, businesswomen between 30 and 40 years old who held primarily occupations such as office and administrative support or management and financial operations. Multiple regression analyses and ANOVA were employed to test the relationships between the Choice of Professional Dress variables and businesswomen's selection of professional dress for work, as proposed in five main hypotheses.
Results of the multiple regression analysis and ANOVA indicated significant relationships between businesswomen's choice of professional dress along the classic–innovative fashion continuum and demographics (i.e., age, education), as well as internal variables (i.e., fashion consciousness, professional image/role, comfort, appearance labor, availability of professional dress) and external variables (i.e., company culture, company dress policies, profession). These results contribute to academia by providing a deeper and richer understanding of businesswomen's professional dress choice as well as the placement of these choices by businesswomen on the Fashion Continuum. Based on the findings, academic and practical suggestions as well as recommendations for future research were provided.