The Psychological Benefits of Dressing to Impress

May 8th, 2017
The Psychological Benefits of Dressing to Impress

Clichés are common in the world of fashion. We’re supposed to “dress to impress” or “dress for the job we want,” and not the one we have. And as the great style-seeking photographer Bill Cunningham once said, “Fashion is the armor to survive the reality of everyday life.”

As it turns out, Bill may be right. According to a study published in the journal of Social Psychological and Personality Science, there are positive “cognitive consequences” to formal attire. Put simply, dressing to impress has psychological benefits that many of us are unaware of. In this 2015 study, for example, subjects who wore formal clothing before a cognitive test experienced an increase in abstract thinking.

Researchers surmised the effect was linked to feelings of power: “The formality of clothing might not only influence the way others perceive a person, and how people perceive themselves, but could influence decision making in important ways through its influence on processing style,” they wrote upon publication of the study.

What’s more? Informal clothing has shown to hurt us in negotiations. In a December 2014 study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, male subjects who dressed up consistently obtained more “profitable deals” than subjects who dressed in sweatpants. Not only that, but those who dressed down reported lower testosterone levels throughout the experiment.

There’s also the matter of feeling authentic. One set of research published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology asked subjects to complete an attention-demanding task while wearing a white lab coat. Those who wore the coat made half as many mistakes as those who did not, and researchers believed this might be due to the increased amount of focus that subjects placed on a task when told they would be wearing a doctor’s coat, and not a painter’s smock.

So yes, Squire Fine Men’s Apparel customers. Keep up the good work. Your brain (and your boss) just might thank you for it.

Look good, feel good, dress well — Squire Fine Men’s Apparel.

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