With my personal experience and observation, image has been a huge factor in the hiring process (even with anti-discriminatory laws) and social acceptance. Not always but in most cases. That can be viewed as a disappointment to some but the reality is that if your image is not up to par (depending on the audience) then you can't be part of the team because you won't "fit in". It sounds so highschoolish but there are reasons why it happens. Let's look at our culture. We are so blown away with cool ads and marketing which makes you want to buy the latest and greatest. And then they add the very attractive woman and man, you feel that if you purchase it, you're just as cool.
Your clubs, associations, your confidence plays another factor that are part of your image. Educational institutions aside, where and who you hang out in that country club or night club can be a free ticket to acceptance. Let me give you an example. Just the other night, my friend and I went to this event which had free cover charge and drinks for 3 hrs. It was so popular that the line was around the block. At 39 yrs, there was no way I was going to wait..... I went to talk to the bouncer at a separate entrance, and asked if it made sense to have a drink somewhere else and come back later. He said that may be a good idea and I thought he was nice and honest so I asked his name and shook his hand. It just so happened then, that another guy was standing there and I decided to ask his name and shake his hand. Out of courtesy, I explained myself and he just happened to be the General Manager. Now this is where you do your homework, I read who was who on the club's website. I said, " Oh so you're...." Well that was a green light and my friend and I ended up going in a separate entrance to the event. Keep it in mind, that meeting owners, partners or general managers are important since that can really be a great network for fundraisers and business events so entrepreneurs and executives, take note.
The bottom line is that depending on where you want to "fit in" you need to research where you want to be part of and look at your self positively and tweak yourself accordingly. This process is not about beauty but in simple terms, don't show up at a job interview in shorts at corporate America or in a ball gown at an ACDC concert, resourcefully speaking.