Like most students, I enjoyed turning up to class in jeans and a t-shirt.
Before university, my school had imposed a strict school uniform. Breaking free from that was liberating.
I didn’t feel bad for dressing casually. After all, everyone knew that clothes are just clothes. They’re merely social constructs. And yes some social constructs have spread worldwide. Both men and women from across the earth will likely wear a suit for an important meeting or job interview.
But they’re still constructs. Wearing a suit doesn’t make you any more important. Dressing smart may make you feel smart, but that wouldn’t affect your grade. Or so I told myself as I wandered into the lecture theatre, proud to be looking like a hobo.
But according to scientists, smart clothes don’t merely make us feel more intelligent, they actually have the ability to unlock more of our own intelligence!
In tests conducted by science boffins, those who wore lab coats performed better at tests than those who didn’t. The lab coat wearer’s scores were up to 50% better than their casually dressed opponents.
This means that dressing appropriately can have a dramatic affect on your ability to participate in an activity.
Next the boffins took their theory one step further. Group A were given a white coat and told it was a painter’s gown. Group B were given the same white coat and told it belonged to a doctor. In subsequent tests, Group B beat Group A.
This has led scientists to conclude that we don’t just think with our brains, we think with our bodies. Clothes put us into a different psychological state.
It’s called “enclothed cognition” and the more you think about it, the more serious the research becomes. “Dressing to impress” isn’t so much about other people. Suddenly, it’s about you. When you feel more confident in what you’re wearing, your behavior improves.
If you want to be smarter, start wearing glasses. If you want to be more artistic, buy one of those cool hats. You are what you wear.
If you’re a shopaholic, you now have a reason to buy more clothes. But if like me, you turn your nose up at fashion and when given the option, will opt for jeans over trousers, it may be time to make a change.