The way you dress and present yourself not only has an impact on how others see you but also how you feel about yourself. This has been proven by scientists and is a fact known as ‘’enclothed cognition’’.
What Is Enclothed Cognition?
The term enclothed cognition was first coined by Adam D. Galinsky and Hajo Adam in an experiment they performed in 2012. Put simply, enclothed cognition is the idea that the clothing we wear can effect and impact how we think and feel. The theory is that the clothes we wear have the ability to change our thought patterns.
The belief that clothes can impact our thoughts and behaviours is not a new phenomenon and there have been many studies into the effects that certain clothing have on human behaviour.
One a study found that when a person wears formal clothing it helps them to feel powerful and authoritative. As well as enhancing a person's ability to think abstractly and negotiate well.
Casual clothing has been linked to boosting a person's openness and agreeableness. A person that wears activewear has increased motivation to exercise and workout whilst also making healthier choices throughout their day.
Interestingly it’s not just the type of clothing we wear that can affect our mood but also the colours of the clothing. Other studies have found a link between brightly coloured clothes improving a person's mood whilst dull colours create a more sombre mood.
The good news is that wearing well-fitting clothes is an empowering act and something that anyone can do. The trick is to have a wardrobe full of your ‘go to’ empowering outfits.
The History Of Using Clothing To Communicate
Clothing has originally designed out of necessity to stop us from being naked and keeping us warm but clothing quickly grew into much more than that. Our clothes become a way for us to express ourselves and cement our position in social standings. The way we dress became a status symbol with the richer in society lavishing themselves in the most expensive and exotic materials to show the world how important they were in life..
Kings and Queens adorned themselves in fur capes and crowns made of gold and jewels to set them apart from the rest of society. For years it was used as a way to show your rank in society, how much money you had and also what your profession was. Many of these behaviours still stand today. Clothing has become such a deep-routed part of our way of life and is likely to stay that way for many more years to come.
What if I told you that clothing is our non-verbal contract with the world…
How others perceive you is greatly affected by the clothes you choose to wear. Your outfit of the day is a form of non-verbal communication with the people you’ll come into contact with that day. A person's perception of you will be altered depending on your outfit even if the person doing the judging isn’t aware of it themselves. It’s an unconscious act and something that all humans do. So with that in mind what are your clothes saying about you? I always say this but It is so true that your cover says what you do. There are tons of researches and latest one I read; apparently they discovered that on average it takes just 11 minutes for a person to judge you when they first meet you. That is based purely on first impressions which of course includes the clothing you are wearing. And add it in to count how the clothing make you feel too. If you’re looking to make a great first impression then choosing the right outfit can help with that.
Here Is My Theory of How To Use Clothes To Empower You
Reflect & Analyse
When you’re creating your empowering wardrobe think of a time when you felt really good. It could have been at a wedding, a night out with friends or on a first date. Whenever it was, think about what you were wearing. Was it something simple? Was it something extra? What was the material made of? How did that outfit make you feel? By analysing what it was about that outfit that made you feel good you can then incorporate similar elements into your empowering wardrobe collection.
Define Your Style
Avoid fashion trends as they come and go and try to stick to a selection of clothing items that are timeless. You can always pair these items with high fashion pieces to jazz them up. Your style is unique to you, own it and wear it with confidence. Let your personality shine through your clothing. There is a big difference between fashion and style. I have a whole chapter on difference between fashion and style and how you can find your own.
‘’Fashion is what you buy. Style is what you do with it’’ Anon
Create An Ultimate Wardrobe that Empowers You
Your wardrobe should be filled only with items that you love and that make you feel good when you wear them. By having a wardrobe filled with these types of items it makes picking an outfit each morning far easier. It is like having a party with all your friends and all get on well. No one is competing, all complementing each other.
Having a decluttering session will help massively and go through every single item of clothing that you own and wear. If the item doesn’t bring you joy get rid of it. If after decluttering you find you’re left with hardly any clothes then it may be time for a shopping spree. Letting go of the old pieces no longer serves you will clear your mind. Nothing more exhausting than holding on to the past. Let it go. Use your clothes a way of showing that you moved on.
Learn To Love Yourself
It’s all very well to create your empowering wardrobe but if you don’t feel good within yourself then it doesn’t matter what you put on you still won’t feel good. Learning to truly love yourself , flaws and all is the most empowering thing you can ever do for yourself. Start to make self-care a priority. Spend some time every day doing something that makes you feel good. Take pride in your appearance and learn to become confident within your own body.
Learn to replace your negative thought patterns with positive ones. We all criticise ourselves it’s human nature but by starting to become aware of when you’re talking badly about yourself you can start to change the narrative. Love yourself, love your body, own your feelings.
‘’In a society that profits from your self-doubt, liking yourself is a rebellious act’’ Anonymous
It’s important to remember that your clothing doesn’t define you but it does have an impact on your mood and behaviour as proven by science. Therefore it’s important to consider that when you’re choosing your outfit of the day. By becoming aware of how your clothes make you feel you can use that new found knowledge to your advantage. Start dressing for the day you want to have. Power is within you, the leader is within you. Unleash your fullest potential.