As a textile designer, seamstress, fashion fanatic and as a human being, this question interests me so much and it must interest you too, since you've decided to read this!
This question can be answered in so many different ways as there is just so much information out there. From colour psychology and how the colours we wear can affect us to materials, the comfort they can bring to us and how that can affect our emotions and feelings, the answers are endless.
But for now, I am going to talk about the psychology behind clothing we wear and how we can take more control over how we will feel throughout the day based on the fashion choices we make in the morning as we get dressed for the day ahead.
In 2012, research from North western University in the US found that wearing specific pieces of clothing had an effect on the wearer's way of thinking and performance. Researchers found that garments have a symbolic meaning. When we wear an item of clothing with a specific meaning, these pieces can influence our psychological state. This is called "enclothed cognition."
For example, a suit is associated with businessmen and businesswomen; someone who is successful and professional. And so, when someone wears a suit, the very essence of these character traits are felt and experienced by the wearer.
I'm sure you've heard the phrase 'dress for success', meaning when we choose to dress in alignment with how we want to feel or how we want to be perceived, it can actually have an impact on how we think, act and do throughout that particular day.
I feel like I could argue against this too, as being a business owner myself, I feel like my most successful days or days where I feel and do my best work are the days where I choose to dress purely for comfort.
There was a week not too long ago where the sun was shining and I decided to make a real effort with how I looked that week.
'I am a founder of a fashion business after all', I told myself...
I wanted to try this experiment of dressing for success to see if it did improve my mindset, my performance and to see if I felt better and more confident in myself when doing this. The results are as follows...
Yes I did feel more confident with how I looked. Yes I felt like I was dressing more appropriately for the role of a fashion business founder.
However, I was distracted by how I dressed overall.
I wasn't as comfortable as I would normally be. I actually felt more on edge and anxious as the clothing I was wearing was more fitted and so I felt more aware of my appearance and actually cared more about how I looked. It restricted me from being productive as I wasn't as comfortable when carrying out daily tasks.
So overall, when comparing dressing for success to dressing for comfort, I'd choose comfort every time.
Dressing for comfort makes me feel calmer, I don't have the urge to think about how I feel in my clothing as much, I care less about how I am perceived and I am overall more productive because of these things.
However I do believe that dressing for success when having important meetings or events is key. Although less for comfort and more for style, I believe it's important to present yourself in a certain way.
Overall, dressing for success is subjective. Success looks different to every single person, so of course dressing for it will look different to everyone. Personally I love the intention behind the term to dress for success, but I choose what that means to me on that given day. And to be honest, every day it looks different. I believe setting your intentions for the day is more powerful than relying on what you're wearing that day for success.
Let me know your thoughts on this blog post.
What does dressing for success look like for you?
What are you wearing on your most successful days?
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