It is no secret that our clothes affect people's thoughts about us. Even if we are abstaining to reflect our emotions, apparently, our outfits are already speaking for themselves. The colors, shapes and styles of one's clothes are the guiding light to understand their psychology in numerous ways. Whether to have a successful interview or have a prosperous career, we should definitely dress carefully.
Oddly, people really can smell your fear only by looking at your jacket. Therefore, it is very crucial to dress confidently to reflect strong signals to people we are talking with. But, why is it important to look confident? Because, there is a simple relationship between confidence and success. The 21st century is the century of movement and speed. It is generally hard to keep up with a constantly changing environment but luckily, our outfit can be a fast track to the success.
Human psychology evolved to sense energy coming from someone. The trick is to send positive energy in order to receive a positive one. Therefore, it is obvious that how you feel actually affects how they feel. This reciprocity can be used in an interviews or to draw attention in crowded conferences and it can bring success.
If we move forward to the science of clothing, we can find interesting outcomes in the area. Psychology as a cognitive science may be the guide here.
The cognitive sciences aim to understand the mind and its processes. Especially psychology parses our behaviors in order to unravel the underlying reasons. Therefore, fashion can be an assistant to find those reasons.
Fashion psychology is not a new research area as its roots go back to the late 20th century. In 1982, Michael R. Solomon and John Schopler published a paper, "Self-Consciousness and Clothing," to show the relation between self-perception and our wardrobes. The study had interesting results.
According to the results of the questionnaires, clothing has a consistent correlation between public self-consciousness, and despite societal presumption, this correlation is higher in men than for women.
Regarding psychology, colors also may leave different impacts on the viewer. For example, white signifies hygiene or purity in many cultures, but also can imply absolute elitism. Warm colors like light blue or yellow reflect confidence and optimism. Red and grey, however, should be avoided because one reflects aggression and the latter reflects a lack of confidence.
Colors can be a real game changer despite us ignoring their worth in daily life. It is not a surprise that business fashion is dominated by white. Also, it is the reason they are called white-collar workers. As said above, white signifies elitism, and business life mostly address elitism and the highlife. It is not an offense, as wearing white makes you look like elite to fit the position you are looking for.
Wearing white is OK, but also a cliche, so you have to be innovative with colors and you do not need a haute-couture jacket for this. A colorful, satin scarf or a prismatic tie can make you look more creative and active.
According to a book by clinical psychiatrist Dr. Jennifer Baumgartner, our dressing habits reveal our characters. "You Are What You Wear: What Your Clothes Reveal About You" was published in 2012. Baumgartner also wrote a blog, InsideOut, which she described as "where fashion and psychology meet."
The book explained how we can understand the tendencies, life choices and even people's problems by looking at their outfits.
"The worst clothing is the kind that tries to undo, ignore or hide where or who you are or the kind that shows you didn't pay attention to your body/age/situation," Baumgartner said in an interview with Forbes.
As Baumgartner put it, clothes are a great deal to consider our perception about ourselves. A good fit is pretty important to give good signals to the people around us.
Vice versa: To wear is to feel
On the other side of the coin, we need to look up enclothed cognition in which our clothing reflect our own psychology. Here, clothes are not spoken to the observer but are spoken to us. This concept shows how an outfit can influence our way of thinking.
The report, "Enclothed Cognition," which was published in July 2012 in "The Journal of Experimental Social Psychology" by Hajo Adam and Adam D. Galinsky, has proven this hypothesis. According to the experiment, students who wear a lab coat made fewer mistakes in attention-related tests than those who do not because students who wear lab coats tended to be attentive.
To wear is to feel can be the magic that pushes you forward. We can add more cases to the lab coat research. For instance, if glasses make you feel focused, then you should definitely wear a pair. This is a kind of psychological placebo effect for our self-consciousness.
After hundreds of case studies, articles and reports, we can assume that thinking and dressing goes together. Whether to make ourselves feel confident in order to be successful or convince others to trust us about our abilities, we should definitely take a look in the mirror twice. It is not an obligation to always dress to impress others or live our lives according to other people's approval, but having a perspective on wardrobe psychology can be really useful from time to time.
Lastly, the reciprocal relation between our clothing and psychology has been proven to exist. A great amount of research is still ongoing in the area of fashion psychology. The fashion industry, fashion-related sectors and self-development books all focus on wardrobe. We need to remember that in order to be successful and radiate a good self-perception, we should dress to show we believe in ourselves before expecting others to believe in us.