We’ve already dived into what your body says about you.
Your posture, the way you walk and talk, etc. all play into how you:
a. perceive yourself
b. how others perceive you
The way you move can change a lot of things and can even change your whole demeanor and attitude, but we’re also leaving out a big piece of the puzzle….
Clothing is essentially an extension of your body, and what you wear can say a lot about you.
This means that it can influence the way others perceive you, and the way you perceive yourself just as much as body language.
You just can’t sit there and tell me you feel as confident in something that makes you feel good, like a great fitting v-neck that hugs your biceps and jeans that wrap elegantly around your quads, as you feel in a baggy hoodie and sweats.
Sure, the hoodie and sweats are comfortable as hell, but it’s not exactly the uniform of the ass-kicker. As a matter of fact, I don’t even recommend a baggy hoodie and sweats for the gym. Something fitting AND comfortable is your best bet there.
The thing is, even if you have that Tupac Shakur I don’t give a f*ck attitude, you still will not feel up to par in your own subconscious if you aren’t dressed for the part, dressed for the game, dressed for the kill.
SO DRESS FOR THE KILL!
Clothes Tell a Story (And Are Symbols)
The phenomenon of your clothing influencing perception is from another field of psychology, one related to embodied cognition, called enclothed cognition.
When you have something on, it sends signals.
These signals, much like body language, are interpreted by ourselves and others.
Before we even open our mouths to communicate we can say a lot by wearing the right clothes, at the right times, at the right places.
Enclothed cognition can work in a couple of ways.
It can help build confidence and prepare you to be completely on point, as in when you dress up for a social situation or some kind of interview or meeting (look good, feel good, or dress for success).
It can also help solidify your identity, as in when a bodybuilder wears a tank top with their gym’s logo on it (or anything associated with the lifestyle).
This concept can also be used to take away individuality and create uniformity i.e. when you put on a “uniform”, which are meant for just that purpose, to create uniformity in the name of collectivity for a cause (such as a job or military service).
It can also be used negatively, which happens when you stop caring and take no pride in your appearance, as dressing bummy creates the bum mindset.
All of this boils down to this important point: it’s important that you take care of your appearance, of what you look like, even if you have a don’t give a f*ck attitude, because perception is everything. Even if you could give a damn what others think, you still need to dress well, and appropriately, for you and your own confidence and identity.
If you look good, you feel good. If you feel good, you play good. If you play good, they pay good.
You may not play a sport for a living, but playing good in the game of life can be your ticket to being paid good.
You look like a bum, you feel like a bum, and sooner or later you start doing bum things.
If you look like you’re worth a million dollars, you’ll feel like a million dollars, and eventually you’ll make a million dollars.
The Science Behind It
Dressing with a purpose stimulates the RAS, or the Reticular Activating System.
The RAS is basically the gatekeeper of information you perceive, and although some things are hardwired to get through above all others, we can still control what we want to get in through conscious effort and giving ourselves conscious clues from the environment and solidifying them into our subconscious mind.
When we wear something we associate with success, or a sport, or even a profession, we start to slowly become it and/or live up to expectations of what it is without even thinking (subconsciously).
The White Coat Experiment
Researchers at Kellogg School of Medicine happened to find out that when students put on a white lab coat, like that of a doctor, they performed better on tests that measured accuracy and attention span.
The important point here is that these particular lab coats were associated with doctors (and also the authority, knowledge, and respect that comes with being a doctor), causing the students to kind of “live up” to what they were wearing.
This effect was not seen in students wearing their own clothing, and it also was not seen in students given coats like a painter would wear.
This just illustrates how powerful clothing can be when we associate it with something positive, and how we can use it to our advantage.
The Association Factor
What’s important to understand is that the piece of clothing has to be associated with something for it to have an effect on our cognition.
This association can be of many things, whether it be success (i.e successful businessmen usually wear good suits), a subculture (i.e gym tank tops and bodybuilding), or even a geographical area or a season (i.e shorts and flip flops creating a “forever summer” vibe).
Conclusion: Putting Enclothed Cognition Into Action
Putting this concept into action is the name of the game, and you can start by:
- Dressing well for yourself if not for others.
- Focusing on feeling, on how a piece of clothing will make you feel (hint: feel good!)
- Always erring on the side of dressing better (or dressing “up”), you never know who you’ll run into or what you’ll end up doing.
- Dressing the part, and not being afraid to become part of the subculture (if it’s positive, gives you a sense of identity, and advances you and others as human beings, that is).
- Paying attention to association, and using clothing to project your identity.
- Dressing for the job/career/business you want, not the one you have.
- If you like it, wear it, even if it’s not “trendy” or “in”. We start the trends, we don’t follow them (again, as long as it’s not associated with something negative).
Dress for success and be ready for anything, and good things will come.
Look good, feel good, and get that paper my friends,