Thursday, October 11, 2012

Introducing The Compliment Project

When you start paying attention to natural signs around you some cool things are revealed.

This observation combined with my 2012 New Year's Resolution to "dress better" led me to conduct The Compliment Project: I tracked every clothing compliment I received over the last 4 months and analyzed the results with the end-goal of optimizing my wardrobe.

Why? Good question! What if you don't actually look good in your favorite clothes? What do other people think you look best in? You may be completely wrong and humbled, like I was. It's always good to verify your assumptions. 

The Compliment Project lets you verify your assumptions and more.

Okay - here are the Instructions, they're easy:
Record all clothing compliments you receive for at least 3 months. Record the person, date, and article of clothing complimented.  
(Disregard compliments from your Mother and/or significant-other as these people are commonly biased outliers :))

My Top Five Learnings:

1. I receive way more compliments than I thought. My monthly average is 5 for a total of 20 compliments. This made me feel great! To give you some context: my friends would have laughed me out of the room two years ago had I told them people compliment my clothes. I dressed very poorly for a long time! 

2. There was a correlation between clothing price and compliment frequency. Unfortunately the saying that "money can't buy style" is not true for my wardrobe.

A more likely explanation could be that the very few items I buy that are not on sale may already have to be exceptional to warrant the initial cost to buy them. 

At the same time often times financially cheap but "different" or noticeable items of clothing were complimented (read on for more on that). 

3. My most complimented items were totally unexpected. I was not complimented on some of my favorite things. Ouch!

For example, my favorite accessory, my watch, which I have been wearing daily since I received it 1 year ago, has only been complimented one time the entire year. I think this is because my watch isn't that noticeable and blends in easily, which leads to another top learning that...

4. ...The Peacocking Principle holds true: People were likely to compliment what's noticeable. This makes me wonder if any of the compliments I received were based on something looking good vs. something simply being noticeable! This principle could account for roughly 25% of my compliments.

5. My Mother should dress me. This is terribly embarrassing for me to admit: my mother bought me both of my top complimented clothing items. Yes, we still go shopping as a way to spend time together. She loves making me try on clothes she can't wear. This way I try clothes I otherwise wouldn't, and have someone to pressure me into buying an item when it looks good.  

 Without further ado, tied for first place my most complimented pieces of clothing are:

Above: J-Crew Jacket and J-Crew Pants

Pretty dull pieces of clothing - right? I would have never expected that a simple pair of black cords would end up tied for most complimented item, but once you start keeping track, you never know!

Hey Mom - wanna hit the mall?

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