With or without realizing it, regular people do the same — the clothes we wear communicate volumes about us as persons. It’s not a question of caring about fashion, it’s about unconscious fashion choices.
What Does the Research Show?
Clothing immediately affects how you are perceived by the public. This is why a lot of corporate companies have strict dress code policies. A great example is when the Swiss bank UBS published a 44-page dress code that went viral. The code was as detailed as it could be, for example, recommending wearing a watch, which suggests reliability and that punctuality is of great importance to you. Most of the “suggestions” were perceived as a must by most employees.
Whether this is too far or not, UBS got one thing right: every detail of your presentation communicates something.
Clothes Impact Thinking and Performance
Of course, it makes sense that when you dress smart, you have the confidence and sense of self-empowerment, but the new study shows that clothes impact the way you think. Professional attire creates social distance, and when socially distant, we tend to think in more abstract terms. For example, addressing people by their title, rather than the more intimate first name.
“Even after controlling for socioeconomic status, students wearing more formal clothing showed stronger inclinations toward abstract processing,” studies show.
It’s important to mention that it’s not the clothes alone that make this big of an impact. It’s the whole presentation including shoes, accessories, hairstyle, posture, body language, fragrance, tone of voice, and the level of energy with which you move or speak.