You have probably heard the phrase “Dress to impress” or “Dress for success.” As we know, first impressions happen only once and we want them to be great. However, Clothes don’t just tell a lot about us the first time we meet someone but can actually affect our thinking and behavior in everyday life.

Do clothes affect our performance?

When we see a man in a business suit or a woman whose clothing is very formal, we would normally think of them as business people, probably successful in their fields of work.

That is an example your clothes make others conclude things about you. When others see you as an important, successful person, it’s natural that your self-confidence will be boosted and you will start seeing yourself like that, too. You might feel motivated and therefore do better in performing some tasks.

Study conclusions

A recent study backs up this theory. Michael Kraus of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and Wendy Berry Mendes of the University of California, San Francisco are psychologists and the co-authors of the study.

The study included 100 men, some asked to wear business suits while others wore casual clothes; T-shirts, sweatpants, and flip-flops. The men came from different racial and economic backgrounds. They were given tasks. One task was to think outside the box and look at the bigger picture while trying to find a solution to the problem. The men in casual clothes seemed to focus more on smaller details while the men in suits managed to think outside the box and come up with solutions similar to those of a boss.

Another task was to make a business deal. The suited men had higher expectations and got more from the deal while those dressed more casually tended to give up. Of course, this does not mean that there is much difference in natural intelligence or the way of thinking of those men, this is just to point out how clothes can affect our performance.

Clothes connected to feelings?

You have probably seen some of the makeover shows where a person’s physical appearance gets changed almost completely.

A change in wardrobe is one of the most important parts of each episode. We can just see the change in participants when an expert chooses clothes for them and they see themselves in the mirror Wearing it. Their faces glow, their smile is broad and they just appear more confident that exact minute. Of course, we are taught not to judge a book by its cover but when it comes to clothes, that cover can actually change us in a way. Casual clothes we wear at home give us that feeling of relaxation and rest. Wearing similar clothes to work can have a similar effect. On the other hand, formal wear gives us a sense of responsibility and importance and may affect the way we think by giving us more ideas and making us more productive.

Therefore, try wearing something formal to your interviews, important meetings and work in general and see if it affects your performance.

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