At a recent event in New York City, Project Runway mentor and fashion authority Tim Gunn spoke on the importance of appearances and how putting on a suit calmed the anxiety he felt about public speaking.
“I believe in the power and appropriateness of semiotics,” he said. “What I mean by that is the clothes we wear, the accessories we wear, the way we groom ourselves sends a message about how we want the world to perceive us. It’s a very important responsibility and we need to accept that. I don’t care how people [do it], as long as they own it.”
Gunn is right that dressing up matters, though it’s not just because other people will perceive you as competent or professional. Dressing up actually makes you better at your job.
For example, in 2015, research saw that “wearing formal clothing was associated with enhanced abstract processing.” It found that dressing up inspired creative thinking, especially when the subjects felt they were more nicely attired than those around them.
In other words, wearing a suit could help you to focus on the bigger picture, and to problem-solve by thinking outside the box, in addition to impressing your boss on casual Friday.
What was so significant about this study was that the findings transcended socio-economic status, meaning that if you take care in your appearance, you can reap the benefits regardless of your net worth.
Additionally, New York Magazine cites another modern study from the Journal of Applied Social Psychology that found a correlation between clothing and confidence. “People who feel dressed-up are more likely to think of themselves as competent and rational.”
In contrast, people who dressed informally self-identified as laid-back and friendly—excellent personality traits, though ones that don’t typically lead to a high-powered career.
So even if you prefer jeans and a hoodie, in the office, keep it a bit more buttoned up. It would serve you well to “make it work.”
From: Town and Country