Clothing you wear and its affect on your self-perception and performance

Did you know that not only the way you think about yourself but also your performance in your studies, work etc. somehow depends on the clothing you wear? Yes, this might seem a little vague and you might say that the interdependence is very trivial.

But, research shows that the clothes you wear can actually change the way you perform.

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This can be elucidated by the example of a play. The stage actors of the play rehearse on random clothes that they are comfortable wearing. But, when they rehearse with their costumes on, you get to see a stark difference in their performance. In comparison to all their previous rehearsals, this time you will see a slight confidence boost throughout the duration of their performance. This is because they experience the character or better yet they get into character more deeper than ever before for the role.

Apparel and presentation communicates volumes about you as a person. The question is not whether you care about fashion, it’s more about what you’re communicating intentionally or unconsciously through your fashion choices. You should be conscious about what you wear and don’t just like you are conscious about what you eat and what you don’t. This includes ignoring the fashion trends that do not fit you or does not make you comfortable just like the way you say no to the food that you are allergic or just intolerant to.

When you’re dressing or grooming, consider what it says about you and whether it’s in line with the message you want to communicate. There’s no right or wrong. It’s all about context. A tie can make you look reliable and rooted in tradition. This might be important at an investment firm, where clients want to know that you’re serious about stewarding their capital. But it can also come off as stuffy and resistant to change, which may be inappropriate for a tech startup.

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Of course, dressing smart is also important for your confidence and sense of self-empowerment. But your style does more than just send messages, to your mind or to others. New research study shows it actually impacts how you think.

“The formality of clothing might not only influence the way others perceive a person, and how people perceive themselves, but could influence decision making in important ways through its influence on processing style” the study says.

The psychology behind is totally subconscious. A gut feeling, commonly called intuition or a first impression, is really part of the very fast-paced mental process of thin-slicing, which is when our brain process visual details instantaneously.

It’s how we continually judge books by their covers, all day, every day.

So choose your personal presentation with care. Presentation includes not only your clothes, but your accessories, hairstyle, fragrance, posture, body language, tone of voice, and the level of energy with which you move and speak. Think of the person that you need to be in any particular situation. Then dress, groom, and accessorize in a way that helps you mentally step into that personality.