Clothes Make the Man: The Psychological Effects of Clothing

well dressed man

One of a person’s most basic needs is clothes on their back.  It’s not just there to make folks look good; it also protects them from the elements and keeps them warm and comfortable.

It is more than just an excuse for ladies to spend their money at their favorite women’s clothing shops and men in their go-to online shops for gear and kicks. Yes, most men prefer not to walk around in malls and shopping complexes, but that’s an entirely different topic.

However, clothes do more than just provide our bodies with the necessary covering and protection they need. They also affect how a person thinks and behaves and how others relate with the wearer.

For instance, particular articles of clothing represent something symbolic. A police uniform expresses authority, while a white lab coat communicates intelligence. In the same manner, a judge’s robe stands for justice. You get the idea.

Several studies have already been conducted by notable institutions, such as Northwestern University and the University of Hertfordshire, examining how our clothes affect our mood and thoughts. Many of those who participated in the numerous surveys believe that they can change their moods only by changing how they dress up.

10 Ways Your Clothes Change the Way You Think and Behave

While it is manifested differently for men and women, the psychological effects of clothes are pretty much the same for both sexes. Here are some ways that clothes affect our thinking and behavior.

well dressed man

1. They give you a sense of power

Have you ever observed how some kids’ demeanor changes if you tie a piece of cloth around their neck and pretend they’re superheroes? Something in their brains switches on, and instantly they seem to think they’re as invincible as Superman or as cunning as Batman.

It’s the same for us grown-ups. The right three-piece suit, power tie, and polished shoes make a man feel important and influential.

2. They boost your creativity

On top of making one feel in control and powerful, certain studies also concluded that clothes could boost a person’s creativity and problem-solving skills. These studies found that people dressed up for creative tasks were more productive than those who did not look the part.

3. They condition your mind to work out

If you’re one of those people who aren’t fond of working out, perhaps putting on the right set of clothes can help you get that much-needed workout. It is found that people who wear proper exercise attire are more inclined to actually work out than those who just put on trainers with their jeans and shirts. The outfit somehow conditions the mind for the activity it was meant for, making a person follow through with action.

4. They push you to work harder when you’re exercising

Speaking of working out, those folks who get into character just by putting on the proper exercise outfit are also found to perform at a much more intense level than those who wear an old tracksuit from college.

5. They enable you to focus on your work

Plenty of things can take your mind off your work. Distractions in the workplace are inevitable. However, the clothes you put on can help you focus more on the task at hand. The Lab Coat Study conducted by Northwestern University showed us how participants who believed their coats to be doctors’ coats could accomplish their tasks with greater precision and focus compared to the others who were told that their coats belonged to painters.

6. They make you get away with certain things

It might seem unfair, but sometimes the way people dress up lets them get away with certain things like getting better transaction deals or skipping lines to get into the hottest clubs in town. While it is not to be lauded, the fact is that many people do get special treatment for how they are dressed.

Similarly, there are plenty of times when the way you groom yourself has somehow influenced people to give you preferential treatment over others and extend a few favors your way.

7. They make you feel more intelligent

The Journal of Experimental Social Psychology published a study that found that clothes associated with specific jobs make people feel more intelligent. Clothes such as judges’ robes, doctors’ coats, and pilots’ uniforms make people think, act, and feel a lot smarter than they are.

8. They boost your confidence

It is no secret that clothing can affect a person’s level of confidence. For instance, if you go to an event where everyone is dressed to the nines and you’re in your old college hoodie, jeans and trainers, you are most likely to be insecure about your appearance and feel out of place. So if you’re feeling a bit insecure, it might help boost your confidence if you dress sharply.

9. They can cheer you up

Similarly, if you are feeling down or depressed, try putting on stuff that makes you not just feel comfortable but happy and good about yourself. You’ll be surprised at how quickly your mood will change with the right clothes.

10. They allow you to express yourself

And finally, clothes allow you to express who you are as a person. It is an external manifestation of your personality. If you’re the happy and bubbly type of person, you can always add a few colorful accents to your work outfit and still look professional and sharp but with a bit of you shining through. The great thing about clothes is that you have infinite possibilities for mixing and matching to suit your different needs.

Clothes do more than just keep us covered. Although they don’t necessarily make the man, they help improve your mood and boost your confidence.

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