The competitive edge

The power of clothing to change our emotions is … well … powerful! It impacts how we think and feel, the way we perform and act, and what other people think of us

Clothes are an expression of who we are and how we project our character to the people we meet. Few people understand its importance, use this powerful resource, and dress to impress.

We all make an extra effort and take time to look nice for special occasions, and then the thought, energy and trouble often drops off in everyday life.

Scientific studies suggest that how we dress has a powerful impact on how we’re perceived and may give us the competitive edge needed to succeed in our professional and personal lives.

Enclothed cognition

We’re always hearing, “dress for the job you want; not the job you have” and “look good, feel good”, but most people underestimate the power of dress. Studies confirm that the clothes we wear affect our behaviour, attitudes, personality, mood, confidence, and the way we connect with others. This is called ‘Enclothed Cognition’.

Enclothed Cognition is used to describe the effect what we wear has on psychological processes such as emotions, self evaluation, attitude, and interaction with others. Also, as a society, we place symbolic meaning on clothing and we assess people based on how they present. Through years of social conditioning our unconscious decision making process goes into autopilot.

The subconscious connection

The clothes you wear and the way you present will change the way other people hear what you say. It will subconsciously tell them if you’re like them or different. It will determine the way they see you, whether they’ll listen to you, and whether they trust you.

When President Barack Obama spoke to an audience of working class people, he ditched the suit and wore his shirt sleeves rolled up. This sent a powerful message that he was hard working, relatable, trustworthy, understanding – and above all else, one of them.

We judge people during first contact based on what they wear according to the occasion, and we judge ourselves on how we present because of the way it makes us feel.

Looking good results in results

In 1998, research of a well known psychologist who surveyed over 500 firms showed that habitually informal dress codes ultimately resulted in relaxed manners, relaxed morals, and lower productivity, and this is still true today.

We all have days when we feel uninspired, flat, directionless and missing that spring in our step. Put on something dowdy, dirty and dishevelled and you’ll feel the part. However, if you wear your favourite outfit, the results will be amazing. You have more energy, inspiration, and the day looks more positive.

It’s simple. How you dress affects the way you feel and how you perform. Gym clothes put you in the mood to exercise. High heels make you feel glamorous, and confident. A suit puts you in business mode, and you’ll think smarter, faster, and command more respect.

Dress for the job you want

Extensive studies confirm clothing that is associated with certain roles encourage us to act accordingly. Dress like a judge, you’ll have authority, wisdom, power; dress like a fireman or policeman, you’ll be more heroic and run towards danger to save people.

Your appearance matters to others too. Being in the workplace often involves interacting with new people, co workers, and communicating with managers. Your reputation is a priceless commodity and visual presentation accounts for more than 60% of the impression we make on others – both initially and ongoing.

Research has established a link to suggest people unconsciously behave in a way that is matched to their dress. Ipso facto, dress for the role, have the role!

Clarke Kent mild mannered reporter, invisible and insipid. Changes into his cape and suddenly he’s a superhero. Cinderella, a housemaid who wears rags, puts on a ball gown and suddenly she’s a Princess! Same guy, same girl, just different clothes.

Think it into existence, speak it into existence, dress it into existence – and it will exist!

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