Screen Shot 2015-12-02 at 7.38.45 pm

You are what you wear – the psychology of the suit

I’ve been saying it for a while, and unlike most things I say, this time I can back it up with science- ‘wearing a suit can make you better at life’.

Not only do you look damn good when you’re wearing a suit (especially one that’s custom made) it can also make you smarter and more successful. I know it sounds a little ‘kooky’ but hear me out, like I said, its science…

Researchers found that by donning a suit promotes ‘abstract processing’ as opposed to ‘concrete processing’. In short, people who wear suits feel more ‘powerful’ and this encouraged them to to look at the bigger picture when completing tests, rather than being hung up on the smaller details. Research has also suggested that people who engage in higher abstract thinking, are generally more successful in their careers, and make better leaders.

It seems as though Barney from ‘How I Met Your Mother’ may have been on to something…

“Putting on formal clothes makes us feel powerful, and that changes the basic way we see the world,” said researcher, psychologist Abraham Rutchick from California State University

These conclusions came to be after students participated in a series of experiments examining the relationship between an individual’s attire and their performance on a cognitive task. The first two experiments consisted of the participants completing cognitive tasks in whatever outfits they turned up in that day. The students then rated their outfits based upon how formally they felt they were dressed. Regression analysis indicated that greater attire formality was associated with significantly higher levels of ‘abstract processing’.

Now, to bring the the point home even more so, the next three experiments focused on randomly assigning participants to wear a suit or dress casually, and then complete similar cognitive tasks. Low and behold the guys wearing the suits demonstrated significantly more abstract processing than the casually dressed group.

“The findings demonstrate that the nature of an everyday and ecologically valid experience, the clothing worn, influences cognition broadly, impacting the processing style that changes how objects, people, and events are construed,” the authors report in the journal Social Psychological & Personality Science.

The scientists believe that this would remain to be the case even if you were wearing a suit every day, as opposed to just once in a while.

“Whether you wear formal clothing every workday, or only every wedding, my prediction is that we would find a similar influence because the clothing still feels formal in both situations,” says co-author Michael Slepian.

So, what conclusions can we take from this? It’s pretty simple if you ask me. You want that raise? You want that promotion? You want to succeed in life? Suit up gents, it’s science…



BB & A


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *