The Secrets of Body Language: Why You Should Never Wear a Bad Suit

Man comically too small for his suit

When you wear a suit your posture changes. Depending on the quality of fit, the suit may pull on the back of your neck, shoulders or waist, restricting movement and distorting your natural posture. This negatively impacts your body language. Harvard Business School Professor Amy Cuddy highlights its importance:

"Our non-verbals govern how other people think and feel about us". 

But why is posture so important? A recent post by Leo Widrich highlighted a TED talk by Cuddy that explains the biology and impact of body language.

"Cuddy distinguishes between two different types of body postures. One are powerful poses, and their counter part are powerless ones," Leo Widrich writes, adding that the difference between the two "goes a lot further than to just change the positioning of your legs or arms. Cuddy explains that inside our bodies, actual changes are happening as our body language changes. These changes largely have to do with hormones."

Cuddy tested this hypothesis by asking participants of the experiment to hold a pose before an interview. For two minutes, participants would hold either a power pose or a weak pose. 

The biological impact was stunning - a confident power pose, leaned back and spread out in a relaxed, open manner raises levels of testosterone, increasing confidence and decreases levels of cortisol, reducing stress. 

The impact upon the interview was shocking - those that held a power pose were consistently rated higher by the recruiters who evaluated them.

So, if you have a big meeting, a well fitted, bespoke suit is the key to ensure a good natural power posture.