Enclothed cognition

“It has long been known that clothing affects how other people perceive us as well as how we think about ourselves,” Dr. Galinsky 

Let’s all acknowledge how easy it’s to agree with the first part of Dr Galinsky’s quote. It sounds indeed shallow but unfortunately, first impressions are made before people have the chance to discover the intricacies of our personalities or our fun storytelling skills.

Now to the second part of our quote, how many of us, wake up in the morning and dress to impress….ourselves?

Seems a bit contra intuitive, who cares how I dress if I only stay home, working on my project, or I go shopping or walking the dog? I’ll tell you who; Yourself!

Even though coscienciously we do not realise it, it has been proven that the way we dress affects the way we feel and ultimately our performance.

The term Enclothed Cognition was introduced by Adam H. and Galinsky A. D. (2012) in Journal of Experimental Psychology defining the influence that clothing has on the wearer’s psychological processes.

The three part study was set to evaluate the attention level of three control groups wearing either a doctors white coat, an artist’s coat (secreately the same as the doctor’s white coat), or just looking at a white coat on a stand in the roam. It has been shown that the participants wearing the white coat have outperformed the other two control groups by up to 50% in all three tests.

Based on the study, Adam and Galinsky think that clothes posses symbolic meaning, which is assumed by the people wearing them. A doctor is perceived as a highly intelligent, precise, detail oriented thinker, while an artist is perceived as creative, and free spirited.

How can we use Enclothed Cognition in our advantage

Start by defining how do you want to feel; creative, successful, strong, feminine/masculine, free-spirited, trust worthy, etc. Now take down your wardrobe and categories your clothing based on the feelings you associate with every item. for ex: the French barett night make you feel creative and inspired while the white crisp shirt will give you a thrust worthy, go for it vibe.

Even more important than finding the clothes associated with the feeling you desire, is discarding (donating) the items that are not enriching your state. Give up all the sweaters that you have gathered for years and never wear them, those jeans that maybe will fit you if you will lose weight, those over worn unflattering sweats and Ts that you kept just in case you will need something handy someday to wear, they just drag you down and crowd not only your wardrobe but your mind.

“Declother you house and you will declother you mind”

allessy

A minimalistic or essentialist approach on your wardrobe will help you not only have a clear vision of who you want to be but more importantly, ease the decision making process and let you focus your energy on creating the future you deserve.

Carefull, it’s all about self awareness!

Thinking about how you want to feel and dress accordingly doesn’t mean copying someone who seems like he/she feels the way you want to feel.

Just because you want to feel driven and successful that doesn’t mean you should open Vogue magazine and copy the first supermodel or Hollywood star’s outfit. It doesn’t work like that.

Instead think about your idea of successful, or creative or driven or powerful, and create your own style.

Just by being true to yourself and by gathering the courage to discover who you are and what influences your action, will you be able to make the most out of everything you interact with, including the clothes you wear.


	

What the fashion

Clothes are not just garments we use to cover our bodies (functionality), clothes are not a way of keeping up with the latest trends, (belonging), clothes are not just a way of showing off our actual or desired status, clothes are everything from the above plus much more.

photographer @el_liolia
model @Anastasia_brightt
design @allessy_lifestyle
photographer @el_liolia
model @Anastasia_brightt
design @allessy_lifestyle

A widely ignored function of clothing is the way they make us feel. The effect is subtle but undeniable, like antioxidants or sugar, it boost our spirits or makes us feel uncomfortable or unattractive but we attribute it mostly to circumstances, fate, lack of sleep, stress, and life in general, things outside our control, because this way we can still complain with zero responsibility.

photographer @Alex.dscv

Did you know that so many of us use complaining as a form of self acknowledgement, complaining about our life is a way of attracting attention, and is easy, at least easier than working towards happiness; those muddy waters off uncertainty are panic provoking just by thinking about it. “What if I will not reach fulfilment, I will be a shame, better to suffer for things out of my control than for self inflicted pain”.

I am not going to get deep into the philosophy of pain, I am just touching upon it for the sole purpose of understanding why the majority of us, do not take responsibility for our life and start change it for the better.

Back to the way we choose to dress. Think about it and be sincere with yourself. Why do you chose to dress in a particular way; is it comfort, access to only one kind of clothing style, price, trend, willing to impress/hide, express who you are, a mix of all?

You can have anything you want in life if you dress for it. —Edith Head

If is comfort that drives you, that’s great, as long as you are at a pyjama party or watching Netflix. You might argue, what if I am out, jogging? well think about it, whiles you are running, do you want to be feeling comfortable, like you are on your bed, or you want to feel like you can conquer the world?

If price is your guideline, stress no more, cheep doesn’t mean looking like you dressed in the dark from a friend’s closet, good taste doesn’t need a fluffy bank account.

What about trend, you wouldn’t want to go around like an outcast whilst everyone is showing off the short leggings and the chunky snickers. You need to be like them or face FOMO or being left behind. This is one of the hard mindsets to overcome, is deep ingrained in our biology. Our brain has the social bonding gene for survival, remember we are not hunter gatherers anymore, we do not need to obey the tribe or die.

A potentially good drive is the willingness to impress, the only problem is trying to impress the wrong people. If you have a job interview or a date, please do dress to impress, for everything else, dress to impress anyway, but this time, impress yourself. Dress for success they say and they are right.

Your brain doesn’t know the difference from fantasy and reality, it obeys what it perceives. Make your brain believe you are the person you want to become, and your brain will take you there.

Finally, every adolescent sin and not only, “dress to express who we are”. This sounds great, and if you took the journey of discovering yourself, and your clothing reflect and bring out the best in you, I congratulate you and look forward to hearing from you, we need tips.

For the rest of us who are still trying to find the way or for those who are not even thinking or succumbed their state to “everyone else is to blame”, my question for you however is: you might have accepted who you are, but are you happy with how your life unfolds, your work, your relationships, your lifestyle? If you answer No to any of this even deep down where no-one can see, then we need to work on who we are, because is who we are that manifests everything else in our life.

It’s time to take action. I am not saying that dressing in a certain way will solve all our problems, but is a piece of the mindset we are trying to construct.

In the next posts we will discover more about the power of clothing (enclothed cognition) and little by little tackle a variety of subjects, meant to open us up to the life changing awareness of oneself and how to manipulate our own brain to get us where we want to be.