Dressing Right: How to Change Your Self-Image

What is it about how you dress that compels others to change their whole persona like Clark Kent changing into Superman?
As I researched this topic, I came across several compelling studies and several topics that made several arguments. What I concluded was that this topic, although real and applicable, is in reality very small and does not hold a ton of researched experiments. However, We do know that something does happen in the brain that causes us to look and feel different when we wear certain clothes versus others. From sweats to suits, I believe what you wear makes a statement in social society. 
In the article, How Clothing Choices Affect and Reflect Your Self-Image by Jill Ferguson, I was introduced to the word Enclothed Cognition. The idea is that "Your style and the clothes you choose reflect and affect your mood, health, and overall confidence." Adam D. Galinsky and Adam Hajo further state that enclothed cognition, “...involves the co-occurrence of two independent factors — the symbolic meaning of the clothes and the physical experience of wearing them...” It can be summarized that the clothes you wear, and the meaning behind them help shape how you think of yourself. Our clothes bring us a sense of purpose and how we feel about our existence. 
I did notice that a lot of my findings came from Business Insider. These are a lot of articles out there, but combing through the interwebs can take a ton of time. Here are some notes I have drafted of what I have found that gave me a ton of insight on the role clothes play in social settings. I would also highly encourage the book I placed in the reference section. It has been added to my reading list and I will be working on starting that one pretty soon. 
Notes & References:
  • Professor Karen J. Pine, of the University of Hertfordshire (U.K.): “When we put on a piece of clothing we cannot help but adopt some of the characteristics associated with it, even if we are unaware of it (Mind What You Wear: The Psychology of Fashion).”
  • Lisa Stariha, The Body Empowerment Coach, "to feel more beautiful, confident, and strong, you must change out of the yoga pants and put on clothes that give you power,” just as Wonder Woman went from her Diana Prince uniform to her kick-butt Wonder Woman costume."
  •  Business Insider says that clothes don’t just affect your confidence levels, they can affect your success, as “clothing significantly influences how others perceive you and how they respond to you.”
  • Understanding the psychological dynamics of why the right-for-us clothing can contribute to our confidence, raise our self-esteem, and help propel us into the workplace has become big business
  • "Let's be clear: In the big picture of ultimate reality, what you wear neither defines who you are as a person nor determines your value as a human being," says Darlene Price, president of Well Said, Inc., and author of "Well Said! Presentations and Conversations That Get Results." "However, in the temporal realm of mere mortals, fair or not, people judge us by the way we look and that includes the way we dress." Especially in the workplace, clothing significantly influences how others perceive you and how they respond toward you, she says."
  • "...because perception is often reality, what you wear not only communicates who you are in the minds of others but also influences your level of career advancement..."
Well, Said!: Presentations and Conversations That Get Results - Darlene Price
  • The problem is, most people don't have a clear understanding of the different dress codes today.
  • Appropriate business casual dress typically includes slacks or khakis, dress shirt or blouse, open-collar or polo shirt, optional tie or seasonal sports coat, a dress or skirt at knee-length or below, a tailored blazer, knit shirt or sweater, and loafers or dress shoes that cover all or most of the foot.
  • "We all want to be judged on our merits and not a workplace dress code. However, how you present yourself does affect your professional capacity."
  • "It affects how others perceive you. It affects your reputation. Ultimately, it affects your ability to be productive and get things done."
  • "Professional Appearance – People like to work with/do business with people who look professional. It is in our nature as visually driven beings. It can give ease and a sense of trust. It’s hard to be taken seriously if you look like you just rolled out of bed and are wearing what you wore yesterday.
  • Shows Organization – Dressing professionally signals that you have your stuff together and are organized. If your clothes are clean, pressed, and professional, it shows that you went the extra effort to be prepared.Affects
  • Your Reputation – Simply put, your appearance affects your reputation. While we would like to think that everyone is judged solely on their performance, the truth is that you will be judged on your appearance, as well. You don’t need to wear fancy clothes or have an expensive wardrobe. But, you will want to dress professionally for your job or industry.
  • Confidence Builder – When you feel good about your appearance, you feel good about yourself. Confidence can make a marked difference in how you hold yourself and present yourself in front of others."

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