Date of Award


Document Type

Union College Only

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts






fashion, impressions, manage use students


During the past two centuries, fashion evolved from being primarily a class marker to being a way to express individual social identity. This project explored how people use fashion today to create identities and manage the impressions they give. To assess whether people are aware that they use fashion to manage impressions and how effective fashion is in impression management, a questionnaire was administered to 132 students in introductory classes at Union College. The survey measured attitudes about fashion and dress. A series of photographs was also used to assess consistency in attitudes about the appropriateness of outfits for different situations. Most students had a general awareness that they use fashion to manage the impressions they give. Although a majority expressed a shared understanding of what types of clothing were appropriate in different situations, students were more reluctant to admit that they use clothing to manage impressions. Sociologists should study a broader portion of the population to determine whether they are aware that they use fashion to manage their impressions and whether various social groups have similar ideas on what is appropriate dress. In addition, future researchers should explore the differences between men and women.