We have all heard that timeless adage that we should “dress for success” and think about the clothing we are wearing.
While no boss will reward your power suit for landing a new deal and no yoga guru will praise your leggings for the mastered splits, the attire we put on for different occasions does seem to play a key role in how we perceive ourselves. Ultimately, it also affects our performance, our confidence levels, and it has an impact on our bodies, especially our hormone levels.
Studies support this notion and explain to what extent clothing, our sense of style, and our dressing preferences can change our mindset and our behavior alike. There’s even a term that unifies all of these effects into a single idea, called enclothed cognition. This one psychological term encompasses all the different ways in which our dressing habits change our attitude and our self-image. Let’s take a look at several ways in which you can use this idea to your advantage to increase your confidence and learn to appreciate yourself more than ever.
Athleisure For Game-Changing Confidence
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Even though the trend has only recently gained traction thanks to several celebrities introducing it to the world of high fashion, athleisure has always had a major impact on how we perform when we train. It affects how we see ourselves when it’s time to break a sweat, and serves as a source of motivation for the duration of your routine.
If you take a closer look, you’ll notice that avid gym-goers wearing their workout gear are more adamant when it comes to giving their absolute best every training session. Whereas the gym rookie wearing regular shorts and a tee will likely not feel as confident about their performance at all. Give yourself a moment to take a look at your mirror reflection wearing that workout-wear just before your training begins – it will give you the necessary willpower and resolution to persevere with your health and fitness goals.
Mood Elevators In Your Wardrobe
We have all been affected by the winter blues or a bad event that has caused our mood to plummet. Sometimes it can be a rainy day, a lost job, or a breakup, but no matter the cause, you’d be surprised how little tweaks in your behavior can help you elevate your own spirits. Start, for example, by choosing more brightly colored clothes instead of your black hoodie. Once again, our hormones play a part in the process, as we release more dopamine, or the feel-good hormone when wearing warm, bright hues.
The simplest way to do that is to head to your favorite clothes shops and treat yourself to a garment that will serve as your mood-booster, with a vibrant floral pattern, for instance, that will be your timeless go-to for gloomy days. Sometimes these colorful pieces can even outlive the beauty of your little black dress, as a testament to our desire to be happy.
You may not be a fan of formal attire, and you may not even feel all that comfortable suited up, but research has shown that wearing such clothing can actually impact several important factors for your self-esteem: how people perceive and treat you, how you behave, and your thinking patterns. Your brain on fancy clothes behaves differently in a way that it allows you to be more creative, enhances your problem-solving capacity, and it puts you in the right frame of mind for negotiation.
Thankfully, you now have a wider selection of powerful clothes, so you no longer need to stick to dull all-black or grey pantsuits. Now you can play with color and go for a royal blue or purple pantsuit, opt for velvet instead of cotton, or a pencil skirt and a shirt combined. All in all, the same research has shown that the “power” effect coming from such a style can be detected all the way to your hormones – people dressed in power suits had significantly higher levels of testosterone, exerting more assertiveness and dominance during negotiation.
Casual Days Matter
We’ve covered the importance of building up a success-focused mindset with the help of formal attire, but that is by no means the reason to completely limit your professional dress code to such garments. On the contrary, this might cause an adverse effect, as wearing formal, often pricey clothes can cause a rift between people at the office, as it leads to some form of social isolation through too much formality.
As a solution, it’s best to save the power suit for special occasions such as presentations and celebrations, while your office policy should include a more flexible approach. That way, you can be true to yourself even in a professional setting, without hurting your performance. Wearing less formal garments for those casual Fridays is a perfect way to prevent social isolation at the office, and promote closer bonds among employees.
Sometimes your source of motivation may come from the places you least expect it. Your closet may just be one of those places, waiting for you to use the clothing that you have to enjoy yourself more, build your confidence, and bring more joy to your life.
Do you feel better when you ‘dress for success’? Share your thoughts in the comments.