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”


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.


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