Forget “Casual Fridays” – it’s time to suit up.
A fancy dress or suit has the power to alter your mood as much as much as a pair of fresh-from-the-dryer sweatpants do.
A new study examined the way that formal attire changes people’s thought process and found – not surprisingly – wearing a more formal outfit makes us feel more powerful and changes the basic way we see the world.
Not only do we feel more powerful (and subsequently more confident), wearing formal clothing also expands our minds (who says fashion is only skin-deep?), causing people to think more broadly and holistically. When people are in formal wear, they’re less likely to think narrowly or to worry about fine-grained details.
Basically, the study found that wearing a suit encourages people to use abstract processing more readily than concrete processing. When you’re able to think abstractly, you are better able to deal with negative feedback in the workplace and to objectively handle criticism.
According to the researchers, thinking abstractly is also beneficial in managing personal finances because it prevents impulse purchases.
The findings were based on a series of experiments whereby students had to rate their clothes in terms of formality and then answer a questionnaire that was designed to assess the way they think. The casually dressed participants were then asked to wear formal clothing, like a suit.
As it turned out, the suit is the secret ingredient in the ability to see the larger picture when solving problems.
So, if you’re slacking in the suit department, we suggest you step up your game.
And if you work from home and find yourself in a creative rut, you may want to swap the sweats for a suit – even if you stay on the couch.
After all, look the part, be the part…