If you’ve ever heard any fashion advice along the lines of “dress to impress” or “dress for the job you want, not the job you have,” you most definitely aren’t alone. These phrases are used as general rules to encourage all of us to dress well. They aren’t just advising people to look good.
Both phrases have a deeper meaning: that dressing well can affect the way you come across to others. Dressing in clean and tidy clothes that fit well and show off personality is one of the top ways to increase confidence and self-esteem.
Have you ever noticed you carry your head a little higher when you’re wearing a great outfit, and that you feel kind of drag when you’re wearing clothes you don’t like?
A number of studies have proven the profound effects of fashion psychology. Your clothes can play a big role in not only how you feel, but also how you perform at work and interact with other people.
The clothing we choose to wear is a reflection of us and in part, it helps others to form an initial opinion of what we are like as a person. You wouldn’t, for example, turn up to a job interview in a tracksuit – it isn’t professional and would suggest to the employer that you aren’t taking it seriously. Likewise, you wouldn’t turn up to an exercise class in a suit – it just isn’t practical.
But, while we have clothing that is suitable for certain situations, the outfit we wear can also affect how we feel. Take that job interview. You wear a suit so that you do make a good impression but the shirt is so tight you can barely lift up your arms and the skirt is so short you are constantly trying to pull it down a bit. The result? You feel uncomfortable and therefore unconfident – this will come across to those you meet and could cost you the job.
Here are some significant ways clothing can affect your mood and performance.
1. IT CAN BOOST YOUR MOOD
Studies have shown that people tend to dress according to their mood. If you’re feeling sad, you’re more likely to wear unflattering clothes. However, experts believe you can actively improve your mood by wearing bright, well-fitting clothing.
This theory—often called “dopamine dressing”—can help you feel happier and more confident, even on glum days.
2. IT CAN INCREASE YOUR FOCUS
There are also certain instances when clothing can help you pay attention. Essentially, you’re more likely to embody those traits while wearing the garments.
For instance, studies have shown people think physicians are careful, rigorous, and good at paying attention, and as such, they tend to embody these characteristics when wearing a white physician’s coat.
How can you apply this to your own life? Try dressing like someone you admire. When you’re dressed in a similar fashion, you may find yourself taking on their characteristics and trying to live up to that person’s image.
3. IT CAN SPARK FRESH IDEAS
Clothing can change the way you think, which can be especially helpful when it comes to solving problems or coming up with new ideas.
In particular, the researchers found when you dress to impress, you can more readily engage in abstract thinking!
5. IT CAN MAKE YOU FEEL POWERFUL
High-quality, well-tailored clothing can help you feel more confident and powerful, allowing you to take on challenges at work and in your personal life. Research has shown wearing formal clothing can actually change the way you view and approach situations.
“Putting on formal clothes makes us feel powerful, and that changes the basic way we see the world,” says study author Abraham Rutchick, a professor of psychology at California State University, Northridge.
Finally, wearing the right outfit makes you feel like you could take on the world – you look good, feel good, ultimately comfortable and most of all confident.
Have an awesome week.