Are You Giving Your Clothes Enough Credit?

When was the last time you truly felt like your clothes were helping to ELEVATE your style? When you go in for that job interview, do you think about how your outfit can help you not only look the part, but also make you FEEL like you can accomplish anything you set your mind to? So often we underestimate the importance of our clothes. We think “I don’t have time to focus on myself or getting dressed. Wearing this outfit that I don’t really like is fine…” But is it really?

Have you heard of something called “Enclothed Cognition”?

Essentially the idea is that when wearing certain pieces of clothing it has an effect on the cognitive processes. That’s right. When you are wearing specific pieces of clothing it actually changes how you feel and your work.

In a study done in 2012 by The Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, they took a group of students and told them a lab coat was three different things. It wasn’t enough to just see the lab coat hanging in the door, the effect only occurred when they were WEARING the lab coat and were specifically told things about said lab coat.

So, at first they took a group of undergraduates and had half of them wear a lab coat and the other group wore street clothes and the students in the lab coat scored MUCH higher on the test. Then they took a different group of students and had some where the lab coat and said it was a doctor’s coat, the second group were told it was a painter’s coat, and the third group just had the lab coat in the room. The attention to detail of the people wearing the “doctor’s lab coat” (which was the same coat as the painter’s) was more focused.

I KNOW! This completely blew my mind and validated everything I’ve ever thought about clothes. Haha dramatic… but true! So what does this mean?!!? It means that there is scientific evidence that when you go in for that promotion, on that date, or even just out with your friends,  your clothes play a huge part in how you show up in the world.

Your clothes have the ability to make you feel beautiful, strong, capable, relaxed, powerful, smart, and anything you want. Changing your clothes has the power to change how you think.  

So now that we know this, where to do we go from here?

  • We make a slight shift every morning when we get dressed and we say… “Is this going to make me FEEL how I want to? Is this how I want to show up today?”.

  • How could your clothes help further where you want to go next? What about your clothes could help plant that seed in your mind for you?

  • Doing a confidence check before you leave the house is a great way to set yourself up for success. Confidence Checks are things I refer to often, but for those of you who are new here let me review! A confidence check is when (before you leave the house, after you get dressed) you say to yourself “Do I feel my most confident in this outfit?”. If for some reason you AREN’T you can change, add an extra accessory, ad a pop of lipstick etc. That quick check in can change your whole day!

    Now that you know about “enclothed cognition”, what do you think you could do every morning to help put your best foot forward? Let me know below!
    But before you go tell me your thoughts, I want to make sure you know about a free event for professional women that I had the honor of being a guest expert!

Meg & Shannon Sullivan of ENLITENED LIFE™ are hosting a FREE online event for professional women. It’s the Professional Women Get REAL Series: rethink work, weight and wellness.


The ladies of ENLITENED LIFE™ have assembled over 30 women’s work, weight and wellness experts to have a REAL conversation about utilizing the tools that you have and making the changes you know you need while managing work / life balance so you can continue to have a successful career without letting it overpower your health and LIFE.  Click the link here to gain access to my interview as well as so many others.

If you want to learn more about “enclothed cognition, you can read about the NYTimes article here. Just knowing about this has made me think differently when getting dressed!