The world of work is a crowded place. You need a competitive advantage to stand out and looking great in a bespoke suit is one of our favourites. Amazingly, we have undeniable scientific proof that it works.
“What a strange power there is in clothing.”
Isaac Bashevis Singer, Noble Prize Winner
Northwestern University researchers Adam Galinsky and Hajo Adam found that wearing a scientists lab coat participants experienced significantly higher attention spans. Shockingly, when told the same garment was a artists smock, they experienced none of these benefits! Yet, the clothes we wear do not just influence others. Simply changing the colour of a sports team uniform can change performance (Frank & Gilovich, 1988) and produce dramatically different playing styles.
- High schoolers clothing influences teachers perceptions of their intelligence (Behling & Williams, 1991),
- Teaching assistants were judged more intelligent when wearing formal clothes (Morris, Gorham, Cohen, & Huffman, 1996)
- Clients are more likely to return to a formally dressed therapist than a casually dressed one (Dacy & Brodsky, 1992).
So, how does a suit make you smarter? Researchers Joy V. Peluchette and Katherine Karl have revealed the same changes in self perception when wearing a suit - “Respondents felt most authoritative, trustworthy, and competent when wearing formal business attire”.
Thus, the influence of clothes depends on their meaning to you. So what should you wear to work? The simple process of getting dressed often seems trivial, but a piece of clothing can completely change the way we feel, think and act. Although the saying goes that clothes do not make the man, this research suggest that a great suit does hold a positive influence over its wearer!