Why we should look chic more often

There are days that seem to drag on aimlessly. You’ve planned so much – museum visit, read the newspaper, finally send that letter to the insurance company – but when it’s crunch time, you realize you actually haven’t got much done. Whereas Sundays are made for blissful earned idleness, for the rest of the week too much procrastination gets us frustrated. Motivation seminars with 10 key-point plans are not your only solution.

Clothes make the man, we say (and may I add, the woman). Although the saying refers to external impressions and appearances, it seems clothes have the power to influence our brain power and self-perception too.

The study “The Cognitive Consequences of Formal Clothing” conducted by

Columbia University and California State University, Northbridge, found that clothing has an immense impact on cognitive processing capacity. For this study, sixty randomly selected students, whose clothes varied on a scale of formality from 1 (very informal) to 7 (very formal), were asked to participate in a survey. The participants were asked to put objects in three categories: furniture, vehicles and vegetables. According to the study criteria, for example, a camel is an appropriate example of a “vehicle”. The higher the formality level of the contestants’ clothing, the greater was their abstract and strategic conceptual coherence.

In other words, when we dress in casual clothes, our brain switches on relax mode.

In order to verify the outcome, more surveys were conducted in which the participants’ clothing was controlled. Students had to bring two different sets of clothing – one was described as “clothing you would wear to a job interview” and the other as “clothing you would wear to class”. Once again, participants were more successful in abstract exercises when they were dressed in a suit or formal outfit. “We have found that people dressed more formally feel more powerful and therefore are in better position to successfully complete abstract cognitive processes”, explains study co-author Michael Slepian from Columbia Business School. Dressing in T-shirt and sneakers makes us get lost in details rather than focusing on solution-oriented approaches. Besides, as Anna Wintour puts it “if you can’t be better than your competition, just dress better”. Interestingly however, when everyone is smartly dressed, clothing no longer represents social distance and a suit loses its place as a symbol of power.

 

 

Anzug von Max Mara: Durch die “Verknöpfung” wird der Look interessant
Leichter Sommer-Anzug von den Business-Look-Experten aus Metzingen: Boss Women by Jason Wu
Hier macht das Material den Unterschied: Anzug aus Leder von Ralph Lauren
Farbenfroher Office-Look: Anzug in Tangerine von Altuzarra
Anzug mit Cut-Outs an den Schultern von Jil Sander

Anzug von Max Mara: Durch die “Verknöpfung” wird der Look interessant

Leichter Sommer-Anzug von den Business-Look-Experten aus Metzingen: Boss Women by Jason Wu

Hier macht das Material den Unterschied: Anzug aus Leder von Ralph Lauren

Farbenfroher Office-Look: Anzug in Tangerine von Altuzarra

Anzug mit Cut-Outs an den Schultern von Jil Sander


Smart thinking is thus related to smart dressing and we better get suited! What still seems mind-boggling, though, is how all those suits on the train don’t get the abstract correlation between loud cell-phone talks about “challenges”, “big data” and “Apple”, and increased punching potential from fellow passengers(!).

Translation by Maria Giannakopoulou

Photo By: Header: Pallas Paris, Catwalkpictures

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