Have you ever heard the phrase “dress for success”? Contrary to popular belief this is more than just a cliché statement. Research supports the way we dress can in fact impact the way we feel. The “Enclothed Cognition Theory” coined by Hajo Adam and Adam D. Galinsky supports clothing can influence the way we think, feel, and function. Specifically influencing our attention, confidence, and ability to think outside of the box.
In a study conducted by the Kellogg School of Medicine found that students showed improvements in accuracy and attention span when wearing a white lab coat. It is believed that these students associated the white coat with an increased sense of responsibility to perform. The results indicated the students presented with improved concentration and increased engagement in relation to their counterparts.
This shelter in place has gone on far longer than most of us anticipated. It is hard to believe that I have been seeing my clients virtually for almost 6 months. My stance on dress has varied from speed dressing, to pajama professional, active wear, to getting fully dressed and applying my “flawless in five” make up look. It has become apparent over the past 5 months that what I wear and how I prepare really matters. Below we will delve into what I describe as the 3 C’s to help us navigate dressing for success while working and schooling from home.
I have found that I am a more present therapist when I am comfortable. When searching for what to wear find clothing that you feel comfortable in. Choose fabrics that are pleasing to your touch and feel. Clothing that is too tight or restrictive can be uncomfortable and distracting. Having to adjust your clothing too often can bring up feelings of insecurity. Oftentimes people are drawn to pajamas because they are extremely comfortable. Know that it is OK to experience that same comfort through various casual pieces of clothing.
Various colors can also impact your mood. My clients typically respond well to vibrant colors such as yellow, orange, green, and various shades of blue. You do not have to drown yourself with bright colors; that can be overwhelming. Sometimes a subtle pop of color found in a pair of earrings, scarf, or tie can do the trick. When choosing you clothes for the day check in with yourself. Examine how you feel and ask yourself how do you want to feel. Choose colors that support this intention.
Just because you are working and schooling from home does not mean you have to sacrifice your sense of style. How we dress can be a way to express ourselves. Clothing can help us communicate our personality and individuality. You don’t have to hold back because you are home. It is OK to be expressive, stylish and unique. Choose various patterns and prints that communicate personal style and individuality.
Routine is vital. With so many things outside of our control it is helpful to identify some things that you can control. Such as what you decide to wear, your skin care/self-care routine, or what shade of lipstick you decide to apply for the day. Having a routine can help create stability in our personal life even when the world feels a bit unstable. By establishing a routine, you can create a sense of normalcy in this very abnormal situation.
The reality is our homes have become our offices, our children’s schools, our restaurants, our movie theaters, our gyms, and our churches just to name a few. It is no wonder that we are a bit stir crazy. Creating boundaries within your day with clothing can help you mentally prepare yourself for the next thing. These transitions can subconsciously spark a sense of excitement. Be creative in designating attire for work, rest, and fun. Your body will become accustomed to this over time and it may be easier to shift into work mode, rest mode and play mode. Shift to active wear quickly after work if you plan to engage in an evening walk or work out.
Know that what you wear matters! It is OK to use your clothing to help you get into the right frame of mind. These are just a few things to consider as you navigate working and schooling from home. If at the end of the day, you need more help, I encourage you to reach out.