Lesson 6: Self-Presentation (Clothing)

Individual confidently wearing a suit and tie.

Lesson 6: Self-presentation (Clothing)

Name(s) of student(s):

Age and grade level:

Goal from IEP connected to lesson:

Objective from IEP connected to lesson:

Purpose of lesson: To demonstrate the ability to choose clothing that represents the student the way she desires to appear.

Materials needed: Internet access, clothing, iron, washer/dryer access, dry cleaners


“Who would have thought your clothing choices are a part of social skills? Strange, right? Here’s the harsh reality: people quickly assume who you are or your capabilities based on appearance. There may or may not be truth to their assumptions: we will consider that irrelevant. Your job is to decide how you want to present yourself and dress accordingly. You may even become a little more confident when you make intentional clothing choices.”

Discussion: Presumptions

Questions for discussion:

  • How do you form a first impression of a new acquaintance?
  • Before you even begin speaking, what do others notice about you?
  • What combination of adjectives do you want others to presume about you? (Orderly, fashionable, fun, outdated, studious, lazy, neat, messy, put-together, bold, simple, interesting, dark, popular, clean, dirty, careless, professional, timeless.)

Exercise: Exploring Fashion

Utilize blogs, magazines, friends, clothing retailers, and/or articles to help the student learn how to choose clothing and accessories that portray her how she wants to be seen. Consider professional outfits in addition to everyday wear.


  • Learn trendy fabric, fit, and pattern choices if appearing current and fashionable is important.
  • If somebody you know dresses similarly to how the student would like to, have the student ask where the friend shops for clothing. Shop at the same or similar stores and ask the sales associate or a trusted friend who understands the desired look for assistance in pairing outfits.
  • Learn how to choose clothing that compliments the student’s specific body shape.

Discussion: Clothing Care

“Equally important, or perhaps more so, is the state of the clothing you choose. A nice outfit is no longer nice when dirty, wrinkled, faded, shrunk, foul-smelling, or tattered. I can’t think of a quicker way to appear unprofessional or incompetent than clothing that isn’t properly cared for.”

Have students work in small groups to develop a list of methods to care for clothing properly. Each group will present their list to the class.

Ensure the following are discussed: professional dry cleaning, ironing, washing, and drying (switching the load before the clothing mildews and immediately removing and hanging up dry clothing), use of fabric softener, hanging up clothing to reduce wrinkles, labeling or sorting clothing to denote matching colors and styles, hemming lengths of pants, mending holes, re-attaching buttons, and getting rid of clothing that is too worn.

Exercise: Ironing

Have the student iron pants and a shirt. If the student is beginning to learn to press clothing, set the iron to the “off” position.

Exercise: Washing and Drying

Teach the student to use a washing machine and dryer. Additionally and/or hand wash and line dry.

Exercise: Dry Cleaning

Take a field trip the dry cleaners to have an article of clothing cleaned.


“Today we considered how your appearance, specifically clothing choices and proper care of clothing, affects others’ assumptions about you.”

Progress notes, data collection, comments, and modifications: