Business jacket design: Preferences of working women
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Consumer evaluation of apparel is believed to be affected by three factors: the aesthetic quality of apparel, personal characteristics of the viewer, and the environment. The majority of empirical studies document design factors influencing the aesthetic quality of apparel. A limited number of investigations have focused on individual characteristics of the viewer. Since individual subjectivity may influence the aesthetic evaluation process, this research investigated consumer characteristics in relation to aesthetic preference of apparel, the business jacket in particular. A national cross-section of 1,500 working women was drawn for the study through a random sampling technique by National Demographics & Lifestyles. Nine hypotheses were formulated to address the relationships between consumer design preference and: (a) design attributes, (b) personal characteristics, (c) psycho-social identity, (d) job-specific-situational characteristics, and (e) physical characteristics. The research instrument consisted of two parts: visual stimuli and a self-administered questionnaire. Visual stimuli were 18 black-and-white computer-generated drawings of business jackets developed to measure design preference. The questionnaire assessed design attributes and preferences utilizing Likert-type scales adapted from previous investigations. Questions were developed to determine physical characteristics, demographics, and consumer characteristics. Dillman's mail survey technique was utilized for collection of the research data. The final data base was comprised of 265 female respondents who wore business jackets to work at least once a week.