Home Fashion How Clothing Affects Your Mood (Enclothed Cognition)

How Clothing Affects Your Mood (Enclothed Cognition)

by Wasifa Ahmad Hasan

The old advice to dress for the job you want, not the job you have may have roots in more than simply the way others perceive you, as many studies have shown that the clothes you wear could actually affect your mental and physical performance, as well. This phenomenon is referred to as ‘Enclothed Cognition’, a term used to describe the effect our clothing has on various psychological processes, including emotions, attitudes, self-evaluations and interpersonal interactions. Clothes affect our mood, as well as our behavior, because of the symbolic meaning that we, as a society, assign to different types of attire, which means that the experience of wearing something specific actually has the power of affecting our attitude and our choice of behavior.

How Enclothed cognition affects you:

Elegant suits give you power

There is a good reason tailored blazers and pencil skirts and trousers are associated with being ‘dressed for success’. It seems that wearing structured clothing and formal workwear puts us in the right frame of mind to conduct our business efficiently and successfully. Quite possibly due to its fitting name, powerful clothing makes us feel more confident and self-assured, and even increases the production of hormones needed for establishing dominance. In turn, the effect of powerful clothing helps us think more abstractly, makes us more assertive and aids us in becoming better negotiators.

woman in suit

Casual Fridays boost creativity

While a great two-piece suit does wonders for our performance in the boardroom, it simply isn’t a good idea when it comes to mingling and socializing. Studies have found that people tend to be less open and find it much more difficult to relax while wearing formal clothing, often rendering them incapable of allowing their creativity and imagination to guide them and help them in the workplace, or even stopping them from networking and making important connections.

On the other hand, a more casual and relaxed office dress code, such as basic jeans, casual tops or even men’s hoodies, helps us become friendlier, more creative and often even more productive. These findings reinforce the idea of wearing business casual attire on Fridays since colleagues and employees are more likely to take some time to socialize and relax during the last working day of the week.

casual friday outfit

Underwear improves self-esteem

Even though our undergarments are often disregarded when it comes to constructing powerful and impactful outfits, the truth is that even our underwear affects the way we feel about ourselves. Wearing lingerie under her clothing makes a woman feel sexier and more feminine, giving her that little extra boost of confidence she needs to conquer the day. The right underwear also provides women with the support they need, relieving them from the stresses and worries of dealing with discomfort and helping them be more relaxed.

Although they are not visible to the world, our undergarments help us feel more self-assured, more confident and more powerful, which is why it is so important to choose comfortable and high-quality underwear made by trusted and established brands. 

lace underwear

Uniforms change your mindset

Wearing any clothing item that is associated with a specific role or profession activates all of our knowledge and expectations about how a person in that field should behave and conduct themselves. For example, wearing certain uniforms can make people more conscious and aware of their duties and responsibilities, encouraging them to be more focused on the task at hand and enhance their performance. Simply wearing a lab coat during an experiment prompts people to pay closer attention and make fewer mistakes, as this attire is usually associated with serious and attentive professions, such as those of doctors and scientists.

Read more about Enclothed Cognition: The systematic influence that clothes have on the wearer’s psychological processes

woman in black outfit

Colors affect your mood

While our mental state has a great impact on the clothes we choose to wear, the opposite may be true as well – the way we dress could affect how we cope and get through those days when we feel stressed, anxious and depressed. Researchers have found that the fastest way of cheering ourselves up during a bad day is by wearing brightly colored clothing, as vivid colors act as small stimulants that boost our mood and our energy. We also tend to associate bright colors with happiness, sunny days, carefree times and endearing memories, making us instantly feel more positive while wearing them.

woman in mustard colored tops

On the other hand, deep and dark colors are usually associated with being tired, having lower energy levels, and more somber mood and memories. So, the next time you feel like drowning yourself in black to match your unfavorable mood, opt for a brightly colored power suit instead, and see how your happiness and confidence start to grow.

No matter what kind of message you are trying to convey to the world, never forget the fact that the clothes you put that message in determine the way it is received. So, dress accordingly.

Do you dress according to your mood? Or does your outfit affect your mood? Share your Enclothed Cognition story with us below!


About Guest Writer:

Sophia Smith is a beauty and style blogger, an eco-lifestyle lover, a graphic designer, and a DIY enthusiast. She is very passionate about natural skincare, minimalist wardrobe, and mindful living. Sophia writes mostly about fashion-related topics in her articles. She has contributed to a number of publications including Fashion Finest, Viva Glam Magazine, LA Magazine, Just Haves, How to Simplify and Carousel.
You can find out more about her writing by following her on: Facebook  Twitter  

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