The Amazing Impact of Style

The clothing that we wear affects our psychological state and our behavior, causing us to choose clothing that will incite a powerful or hindered task-related performance. This reminds me of the phrase “dress well, test well.”
In a study published by Social Psychological & Personality Science, dressing more formally than your peers causes you to think more abstractly, holistically, and creatively.

Hajo Adams and Adam Galinsky from Northwestern University conducted three studies that examined the fact that humans think with both their bodies and their brains. The first test required some participants to wear white lab coats and the other participants to wear street clothes. The purpose of the test was to measure selective attention and their abilities to notice incongruities.

The participants wearing lab coats made half as many mistakes as those wearing street clothes.

In the second study, Adams and Galinsky divided the participants into two groups to test for heightened attention. One group put on doctors’ coats; another group put on artistic painters’ coats; and the last group was asked to simply look at the doctor’s coat that was laid out in front of them as they entered the room. This is interesting because the doctor’s coat and the painter’s coat were the exact same coat.

The group wearing doctors’ coats found more differences than those wearing painters’ coats. This displayed heightened attention based on what they perceived the coats to mean while on their bodies.

For the third study, Adams and Galinsky wanted to test whether simply looking at a physical item can affect behavior. They asked some participants to wear the doctors’ coats, and the other participants to wear the painters’ coats (same coat), while the other participants simply looked at the white lab coat laid in front of them while they took the test.

Each of the participants were asked to write essays about their thoughts on the coats, as well as complete the same visual test of heightened attention. The group that wore the doctors’ coats sustained their attention the longest.

These tests show that clothing has symbolic meaning. The meaning comes from the person wearing the clothing, as well as the impression that it invokes in their psychological blueprint.

   In other words, people must attribute a symbolic meaning to items in their closet, and wear these items, for the items to have a measurable effect. Think of it as putting on your power each morning.

Each item in your closet should represent your:

● Personality : a collection of your qualities

● Perceived Value : the worth you put out into the world

● Mission : an important goal fueled by strong conviction

● Vision : what is ahead

All of this creates the Image of your personal brand. 

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