Dress For Success 101

What appearance do you give to others? Some unwittingly give others the wrong impression by their choice of clothing. “The way you dress is the way you will be addressed” states one African proverb.

Granted the winds of change are very temperamental when it comes to styles and fashion. What is in vogue today is often obsolete tomorrow. However, the way we dress speaks volumes. Does it really matter how we dress? Put simply, of course, it does. But, before we get into the details, let's first consider the science behind dressing well - Enclothed Cognition.

“Enclothed Cognition” is used to describe the systematic influence that clothes have on the wearer’s psychological processes. It is a term coined by cognitive psychologist Hajo Adams and Adam Galinsky from Northwestern University. It is a part of a larger field of research known as embodied cognition. It is observed that the clothing holds symbolic meaning and its influence is greatly dependent on both wearing it and the meaning it invokes in our psychological schemas. “When you dress in a certain way, it helps shift your internal self” explains doctor Jennifer Baumgartner in her book, “you are what you wear”. Enclothed Cognition gives scientific proof to the idea that you should dress not how you feel but how you want to feel.

That being said, why is dressing well so important? An old friend of mine used to say, “we dress because of others not because of ourselves”. He reasoned, “we don't feel ashamed if we’re naked when we are all by ourselves alone”. Is that true? While I’ll agree with his reasoning, I will not completely subscribe to his opinion. We dress well not only because of others but also because of ourselves. How do you feel when you suit up compared to when you are in your T-shirt? One projects the feeling of formality while the other sends a signal of casualness to your brain. That is the point: Our dresses speak to us as well as send an impression to others.

One significant way that dressing well can positively impact your life is by changing your mood. There is a direct link to dressing well and your mood. it helps stabilize and improve the quality of your happiness and in turn, reduces the risk of depression. Think of when your friend walks up to you and tells you, “dress up and lets' go out” when you've just failed that interview... what happened? Your mood changed!

Conversely, when you dress well, you exude confidence. People pick up on this. As a result, you earn their respect and trust alike. Your dress can help you make a good impression at a job interview and even land you the job of your dream.

In a nutshell, dressing well is important and its importance cannot be overly emphasized. However, the key is appropriate dressing. The way we dress will always have a remarkable impact on the people we meet which in turn will determine how they treat us.

So dress well, and dress for success.