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“Clothes Make the Man. Naked People Have Little or No Influence in Society” – Mark Twain.
It Affects Your Self-Confidence
In a study documented in a Social Psychology and Personality Science paper – where half the subjects were instructed to wear casual clothes while taking an intellectual test, while the other half were told to dress formally – those who dressed nicer performed much better. This was even more evident when it came to such tasks as creativity and organization. Something to definitely think about the next time you have a big and very important day at the office.
Communication and Clothing
So it appears that the power of clothing doesn’t just stop at making us more creative and productive, because in a study out of the Journal of Experimental Psychology, when subjects were instructed to wear formal and informal clothing during negotiations – those in suits performed drastically better. They unconsciously asserted their dominance, and in turn, the people with whom they were talking too submitted to their demands (unconsciously of course). Interestingly, those wearing the casual clothes showed to have lower levels of testosterone and thus, became less persuasive. No wonder we’re told to wear suits to meetings.
Attention and clothing
In another fascinating study out of the Journal of Experimental Psychology, when subjects were told to wear either a painter’s smock, or a doctor’s white coat – both essentially the same – those wearing the doctor’s coat performed substantially higher in attention demanding tasks. In effect, the subjects imagined themselves to be high-achieving doctors, which proved to have a beneficial psychological effect on their ability to concentrate.
Color Causes Performance
Ok, so you can see how wearing a suit can change your psychology and influence your performance. But what about the color of your clothes? Well, in a recent study published in the Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, where athletes were asked to dress in either blue or red, those in red outperformed the blues. They were more dominant in activities such a lifting weights or combat sparring. The finding showed that apparently wearing red makes one more aggressive than any other color. No wonder Michael Jordan played so well for the red uniformed Chicago Bulls.
Clothes That Break Social Norms
To throw a wrench in these findings comes a very interesting study out of the the Journal of Consumer Research, that turns the social norms on its head. According to the article, a man that was instructed to wear a red tie to a black-tie affair was actually perceived to be more capable and successful in life. It appears his courage to break the rules, subconsciously translated into the mind’s of those engaging with him that he was a very confident, powerful person. The same results held true for a lecturer that showed up wearing converse instead of dress shoes. The audience perceived him to be more competent and intelligent than had he worn a suit. These finding appear to prove that it pays to be rebellious.
The Smell Of Your Clothes
Now that we know what we wear, and where we wear it, greatly affects our interactions with others. So what’s left? Odor, believe it or not. Yes, the way our clothes smell have just as powerful effect as how they look. In an article out of Livescience, it showed that scent quite drastically effects not only the way people think and act around you, but how you think and act on them. The take away here is that clothes that are often more difficult to clean and rid of oder – like shoes – should be taken into consideration when your day depends on your success of it. It appears, and smells, that clothes definitely make the man. And woman too.