2 min read
It’s no secret that the clothes you wear influence how you feel about yourself. A study conducted in 2012, however, shows us that they can even affect our thought processes. Hajo Adam and Adam D. Galinsky coined the term “enclothed cognition” after conducting an experiment to explain this phenomenon.
Adam and Galinsky hypothesised that there are two factors contributing to how our clothes affect our psychology. The first is what our clothes mean to us symbolically, and the second is the actual physical experience of wearing them. They conducted three trials to test their hypothesis. In all three, they had participants wear a lab coat. In the first, participants wore the lab coat without being told anything about it. In the second, they were told they were wearing a doctor’s coat, and in the third, a painter’s.
In the first trial, participants with a lab coat were more attentive and careful than those without. In the second and third, participants wearing a “doctor’s coat” experienced increased sustained attention than those wearing “painter’s coats.” This experiment supports the idea that our clothes do, in fact, influence how we think, and that this influence is determined by not only what we’re wearing, but how we perceive what we’re wearing.
What does this mean?
What you wear doesn’t just affect your physical appearance—it affects whatever you think and feel about yourself. Enclothed cognition means that you’re not just wearing a shirt—you’re wearing a particular mentality. In other words, the outside world directly affects the inside.
What this says about sustainability
Although the study doesn’t mention slow versus fast fashion or low versus high quality clothes, it still has interesting implications about these differentiations. Choosing to wear slow fashion puts you in a different world of thought, a different frame of mind. It puts you in a place of mutual growth between you and the earth. In other words, it reveals to you the possibility that our planet can heal, and that we can heal with it. Setting yourself up every day to be placed within this optimistic mindset will empower you to make choices that align with our world’s healing process—and this healing process has a direct effect on our inner state. Earth is our home. Taking care of it is just another way of taking care of ourselves.
From the inside out
Every act we make is an extension of how we’re doing on the inside. Most of us want to make the world a better place, but this can’t happen until we make our minds and bodies peaceful and positive places to live in. And though it may not be obvious, choosing what to wear is a part of this transformation.
You’re making a choice every day
How you think, how you perceive yourself, and how you act in this world are all intertwined with what you choose to wear. Make the choice that best resonates with the truest part of your being, and pay attention. You might be surprised by the impact your clothes can have on you.
Written by Leah Kissick.