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  • Writer's pictureOzge McAree

Your clothes change the way you think

I don’t work in the fashion industry but I love fashion. I love it a lot. I do love the glitz and the glamour of fashion but I also look upon it as a business industry because it is. The truth is that the ‘design’ element of the industry is probably the smallest bit. The rest is about selling product and working out how to get people to ‘care’ about fashion.

As a businesswoman who has a Science degree and is forever researching stuff, I am very interested in how what we wear relates to our mental process and the way we think, feel, and function, in areas like attention, confidence, or abstract thinking.

We hear sayings like “dress for the job you want; not the job you have” and “look good, feel good” all the time.

Science says that the clothes we wear affect our behavior, attitudes, personality, mood, confidence, and even the way we interact with others. This is called enclothed cognition. And it's nothing new. Therefore the clothing we wear affects our psychological states, as well as our performance levels. Given their findings, individuals can intentionally choose to wear clothing that will induce more desirable psychological states and enhance task-related performance.

In addition the type of clothes you wear and how you use your accessories says a lot about you.

Writers and directors use fashion all the time to show clues about a character. Think about Harvey Specter's power suits in Suits. Harry Potter's glasses. The unique and individual styles of Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha in Sex and the City. Personal style is something that belongs to an individual—a means of self-expression.

What about you?

What is your current style? What signals are you sending?

Think about the movie version of your life. What would you be wearing?

Research shows that a person’s choice of clothing can heavily influence the impression they transmit and is therefore a powerful communication tool.

How you use colours is a great way to harness the power of fashion in your first impression.

So, how can we use the enclothed cognition findings to our benefit? What does each item of clothing in your closet symbolise for you?

Here’s something you can do. In the morning. Take a moment to check-in with yourself. “What do I want to feel like today?” Is it confident, composed, friendly or loving for example.

Next, ask yourself, “What article(s) of clothing make me feel confident, composed, loving?

What color(s) make me feel that way?”

Let’s say confident. I always wear high heels to work. They make me feel confident.

What color makes me feel that way? If I feel bold, a risk taker perhaps a little intimidating but always trustworthy I wear black. Black is also prestige, power, seriousness, and intelligence.

If I feel a mix of simplicity and perfection I wear white.

I have a soft spot for Baby Pink as it resembles my optimistic and positive outlook on life. I see the good in everyone. I am methodical and organized, although I can sometimes be rather flippant when the immature girly side of “pink” appears. I love the neon pinks when I workout. It gives me energy, joy and makes me feel creative.

For men it may be the tie you choose or your cuff links or your favorite pair of blue denim jeans that can be the key article that will enhance his day.

Ozge McAree


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