In this April 2015 article, the Atlantic summarizes this fascinating study about how wearing a suit impacts the wearer’s thinking.

I have often thought about how the formality of my dress impact others’ perception of me, but I don’t know that I have given much consideration to how it impacts my own thinking.  According to this study, more formal clothes make us feel more powerful, and thus change how we see the world.  I guess there is some truth to the term “power suit.”

So readers, what work wear makes you feel the most powerful?

Baili Rhodes

Baili is an associate with West, Webb, Allbritton & Gentry, PC, where she practices general civil litigation with a focus on family law and employment law. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Texas A&M University, and her J.D. from Baylor Law School. Baili currently serves as Vice President and District 2 Director for the Texas Young Lawyers Association. She is also Vice President of Administration of the Brazos Valley Young Lawyers Association, and a member of the Junior League of Bryan-College Station. Baili lives in College Station, Texas with her husband, Casey, their two children, and two dogs.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Peter

    That’s not too surprising. I mean, this is pretty much what the Stanford prison experiment found as well (although that was about a bit more than just the uniforms they wore). You can also feel this in day to day life when you’re all dirty or haven’t showered, your self esteem is lower and you might even feel sad or depressed. Whereas when you’re freshly showered and wearing a fresh outfit you feel great and positive. If you’re wearing some frumpy outfit you probably feel a lot worse than if you were wearing a well-fitting suit. People who say they don’t care about their appearance really should, because it affects them mentally even if they think it doesn’t.

  2. Laura

    I always feel most “powerful” when I feel put together. Doesn’t necessarily need to be a suit, but considering a suit is the whole package, I can see where that might be a really effective approach.

    For me, wearing a suit or being put together simply takes being judged for my appearance off the table. If I feel like it’s a non-issue for others, I can focus my energy on the task at hand and quit worrying about the distraction of outward appearance.

    This reminds me of a study I read that indicated most men couldn’t really tell when a woman was wearing more makeup or less, but that the women almost always felt more confidant when they wore it.

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