You’ve probably heard the advice, “dress for success”. Or, perhaps you’ve heard or were told, “dress for the job you want to have, not the one you do have”?
Well, what about when we are perfectly happy with the job we have but need or want to feel a certain way?
We all know about clothes matching the activity, as that helps the activity feel easier. So, it’s easier to exercise in stretchy exercise type clothing, and it’s easier to sleep in soft, comforting fabrics.
What about how you want to feel?
When you want to feel powerful, you put on a blazer. When you want to feel feminine, you put on a pretty dress. Or, maybe for you it’s a case of Dress better, work better?
Research indicates that wearing certain clothing might make you feel more competent as well as more confident (Journal of Experimental Social Psychology in 2012). Wouldn’t we all like to feel more competent and more confident?
The researchers found the influence of certain clothes depends upon the wearing of the clothes plus their symbolic meaning. So for example, if you wear a lab coat that you believe belongs to a Doctor, you will feel smarter (ie more competent) and therefore more confident too.
So how does this apply in the real world?
And how can you use this research to help you have a great life?
The essence of this research is that what we wear influences how we feel. Just like make up, our clothes can boost our confidence and well-being if we choose them well. How we feel in and about ourselves (mindset) impacts our energy level for the day (physical energy), which in turn influences how much we get done (practical outcomes) and thus, can directly contribute to whether we feel like we’ve had a ‘successful’ day or not.
Clothes maketh the (wo)man – to paraphrase Shakespeare.
So, clothing does more than just keep us appropriately attired. We select the clothes we want to wear based on how we want to appear to others, how we want to feel that day, and I would add, how much we want to get done.
The days when I need to be super productive and have a lot of chores or tasks to get done, I dress for it.
The clothes I place on my body help set the tone for my day
and me get in the right frame of mind.
This might mean on certain days I put on my exercise gear and running shoes (“I’m getting lots done today”). Other days it might mean a gorgeous dress, with pretty shoes, and more of an effort on hair and make up (“I am feeling feminine”, or “I’m rocking it today!”). Other days, it might mean a comfy pair of jeans worn with ballet flats and a nice shirt (“I’m feeling relaxed”).
Similarly certain clothes can drag you down when you’re feeling low.
For me yoga pants are fine, but track pants are not good. I put them on and I don’t want to leave the couch. I feel too down, blue and lazy, or even so relaxed that I get sleepy! Other girls I know can have a real kick-ass day wearing track pants, but that’s just not me.
“Know thyself” is a useful little phrase – probably not coined for use about what clothes we choose to wear, but I’m going to use it anyway. Being true to ourselves in the clothes we wear, knowing how we feel when wearing certain items, and being aware of what we want to get done each day can help ensure our days are productive, successful and happy.
And that sounds pretty good to me.
When we stop and think about how our clothes actually make us feel, we can exploit the competence and confidence boosting properties to ensure that when needed, our clothes support us to be our best selves, have a great day and life.
Now that is truly dressing for success.
Do you have particular clothes (or shoes) you use for to boost your confidence? Or items you wear on the days you want to get stuff done? Come over to the Facebook page, and share your experiences.