"What a strange power there is in clothing" - Isaac Bashevis Singer
Whether it's due to social isolation, drop in physical activity, or lack of productivity, working from home can make us feel anywhere between a little blue to downright gloomy. Now that working from home has become a new norm, however, it's more relevant than ever to reiterate the significant impact dressing up can have on our daily mindset and mental health.
The science behind "enclothed cognition"
It has long been established that clothing affects how other people perceive us as well as how we perceive ourselves. But does what we wear affect our psychological processes as well? Does it alter how we approach and interact with the world?
In 2012, cognitive psychologists Hajo Adam, Ph.D., and Adam Galinsky, Ph.D. set out to study the psychological and performance-related effects clothing had on the wearer. Through experiments, they were able to confirm their hypothesis - the clothes we wear put us in a psychological state where we embody the meanings we associate with those clothes; this experience, then, in turn, improves our performance of related tasks - a phenomenon they coined as enclothed cognition. In other words, when we consciously wear something that holds symbolic meaning to us, we tend to behave differently and perform the tasks we associate with the clothes better.
So, how can we utilize these findings to our benefit?
On a day that you need a boost, identify the wardrobe pieces that symbolize your desired psychological state, and put them on!
As a bonus, do your makeup, hair, or put on accessories that accurately match the desired feeling, as these physical experiences can also influence our thought processes just as clothes can.
Of course, donning on an outfit that veers too far from your individuality isn't going to be effective. Your outfit still needs to make you feel like you, so when picking your pieces, make sure they come with a balance of comfort.
To wrap it up
There's more to fashion than outward appearances. As we move forward, we hope to empower others with the awareness that proper fashion is closely intertwined with psychological wellbeing; it can help heal, uplift, provide comfort, inspire focus, foster ambition and achieve calm.
We will also strive to use this framework as a lens when designing and putting together collections, as at the crossroads of fashion and well-being is where we aim to be.