You Are What You…Wear?

So studies have shown that we aren’t actually going to become a giant candy bar or a hamburger if we chow down with zeal. But even if we aren’t what we eat, a new study has shown that we actually are what we wear. The study showed that when people were given a white coat and told that it belonged to a doctor, they were able to focus and worked harder than ever. When they were given the same jacket and told that it belonged to a painter, there was no dramatic improvement in how they focused.

That’s not to say painters aren’t important – for all we know the people wearing painter’s coats were feeling more creative than they did just a few minutes before. (The study performed by Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University didn’t address this important question) It’s not enough for the coat to be nearby or to see it on the back of the closet door. You have to actually put the coat on and believe it’s a doctor’s coat to see or feel any result.

The study is the latest research that says clothes make the man (or woman.) The medical term for this is embodied cognition, and the research says that not only will people respond to you differently based on the clothing you’re wearing, but you’ll act differently as well based on what you feel you’re wearing.

We see this all the time in the real world of fashion. Throw on a little black dress and you feel pretty sexy. Don a flirty sundress and you’re ready to frolic on a fun date. Lounge in your pajama pants and t-shirt and there’s no reason to even bother with a hair brush or make-up. Just think of the implications for work and romance!