“Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.”
— Mark Twain
Clothing has long been associated with enhancing image. William Shakespeare wrote about it in Hamlet. In advising his son Laertes against gaudy fashion, Polonius said that “the apparel oft proclaims the man.”
Augusta image and dress consultant Liz Klebba says expressing ourselves through our clothes makes us feel good, and we don’t always remember that.
“We tend to dress up for good occasions, but we forget that the reverse is true,” she said. “Dressing up makes us feel better, and we forget to use that to our advantage.”
Clothes even can have a deeper psychological effect.
Klebba cited a 2012 study conducted at Northwestern University in which student participants, given white coats to wear, were tested on their sustained attention. The students who were told they were wearing doctor’s coats performed much better than students told they were wearing painter’s coats.
There’s a term for the physical body influencing the mind – embodied cognition. The white-coat experiment gave rise to a newer term: “enclothed cognition.”
Klebba isn’t saying you have to dress to the nines every day. There naturally are some days when all you can muster is throwing on sweatpants to pick up cold medicine from the pharmacy.
But “what we wear affects how we feel about ourselves,” she said. “So why not do things that can make you feel better if you’re having a rough day?”
Reach Joe Hotchkiss at (706) 823-3543 or firstname.lastname@example.org.