I have a salmon-colored dress I cannot throw away because two good things happened to me when I wore it on separate occasions: I interviewed Taylor Lautner for his Bench press junket in Manila, and my boyfriend asked me to marry him. Okay, maybe the two are not equal in importance, because #1 is obviously more relevant (I kid). Since then, that dress has been my favorite outfit when I want things to go my way—whether it’s a big presentation at work or a crazy 15-hour day. It hasn’t let me down ever.
As it turns out, the whole concept of a “lucky dress” or shirt/pants/shoes exists. Because the outfit has a symbolic meaning in our lives, our behavior is influenced by the emotions we associate with that piece of clothing when we wear it. Scientists call this “enclothed cognition,” or how “clothes systematically influence wearers' psychological processes.” [via the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology]
In the study published in 2012, Adam D. Galinsky and his colleague Hajo Adam randomly assigned students to wear a doctor’s lab coat, wear a painter’s coat (which was actually identical to the doctor’s coat), and look at a lab coat on a desk. The three groups were then asked to take a test for sustained attention. The ones who wore the doctor’s coat performed better than the rest. Dr. Galinsky explains, “You have to wear the coat, see it on your body, and feel it on your skin for it to influence your psychological processes. Clothes invade the body and brain, putting the wearer into a different psychological state.” [via nytimes.com]
Do you realize how important this finding is? It basically means that if you assign a symbolic meaning to a piece of clothing, then you embody the traits of a person who would wear it!
Sneaky Ways "Enclothed Cognition" Can Work For You:
Wear athletic clothes to be more active! Sure, donning the latest workout wear won’t make you a super athlete, but it might push you to take the stairs instead of the elevator. #Win
On a hot date, wear sexxxaaay lingerie, even if your outfit is on the conservative side. He might not see it, but knowing that only see-through lace is covering your ass will make you strut like a Victoria’s Secret model.
Bad vibes? Wear the BEST outfit in your closet (Preferably the one you wore when you got promoted). If you don’t have confidence, fake it!
You know what makes SO MUCH sense now? Cosplaying! Because when your boyfriend wears his Captain America costume, he totally thinks he’s got biceps like Chris Evans.
But he really looks like this.
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