There's more to being well dressed than just looking good – it can have a positive impact on your mental well being and overall self worth.
One significant way that dressing well can positively affect your life is by changing your mood. Studies show that there is a direct link to dressing well and your mood as it stabilises and improves quality of happiness, drastically reducing the risk of depression.
Below we take a look at how the psychology behind dressing well plays into your daily life and how a simple pocket square can improve your own psyche.
RETAIL CLOTHING THERAPY
There are numerous studies and research with clear scientific links between how our clothing can empower and impact our mental health, known as ‘Enclothed cognition’ - this is the effects of clothing on the cognitive process, which can be defined as the mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses.
Cognitive processes use existing knowledge and generate new knowledge. The findings, published in July 2012 by Dr Galinsky of The Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, reveal that we think not just with our brains but with our bodies. Our thought processes are based on actual physical experiences that trigger associated abstract concepts, including those experiences surrounding the clothes we wear.
It has been a long-held belief that clothing affects how other people perceive us as well as how we think about ourselves. But the deeper question is how significantly does the clothing you wear affect your psychological processes? Does your outfit alter how you approach and interact with the world?
Dr. Galinsky and his colleague Hajo Adam assembled a group of 74 students and randomly assigned them to one of three different experiments in which the clothes did not vary but their symbolic meaning was manipulated: wearing a doctor’s coat, wearing a painter’s coat or simply seeing a doctor’s coat. Each group then underwent an exam which monitored their sustained attention: two pictures were placed side-by-side on a monitor in a spot-the-difference type scenario. The students were asked to observe four minor differences in the two images and to write them down as speedily as they could.
The results made for some interesting reading. Those who wore the doctor’s coat, which was identical to the painter’s coat, found more differences. They had acquired heightened attention just by the association of wearing the doctor’s coat. Those who wore the painter’s coat or were primed with merely seeing the doctor’s coat found fewer differences between the images.
SELF-AFFIRMATION & POCKET SQUARES
Self-affirmation theory contends that if individuals reflect on personally relevant values, they are less likely to experience distress and react defensively when confronted with information that contradicts or threatens their sense of self. For example, by wearing a specific item of clothing that resonates with a pastime, memory or personal value, then it will protect and enhance the wearers self identity through communication.
Clothing has two communications tools in how to talk with others. Firstly, we communicate about our lives in the present time and the lives we want to lead in the future. Secondly, wearing those clothes that reflect where we want to go is a powerful indicator to others about our goals and intentions. Whatever business field you are in, whether you work for yourself or another organisation, you should be dressing for success.
What does your pocket square say about you?
Pocket squares can add a touch of class, style and flair into your outfit, meaning you can showcase and communicate effectively through a simple touch of silk. Using complementary colours, or highlighter tones, you can easily show off your personality with a prominent print, displaying not only your sartorial style but also specific and refined interests relevant to your audience.
THREE TIPS FOR WEARING CLOTHES WITH CONFIDENCE
Now we have explored and seen many links between how your outfit, style and image can improve your confidence to others. We wanted to share our own insights on how dressing well can improve your confidence at work, home or just within yourself.
Know your Audience
It’s crucial to understand the settings and environments to get the balance between excellence and style just right. There are conventional rules and etiquette to wearing pocket squares or ties, and the right suit combinations. The workplace and casual settings at home will also require levels of thought to portray your style messages, for example, how formal do you want to appear?
Knowing some of the core fabrics used across menswear can really help with outfit building and dressing for the right occasion. Textured fabrics such as wools, cashmere and tweed can offer a subtle finish and work perfectly for Autumnal seasons, while linen and cottons are usually lighter in weight for summer months. For example, a lightweight linen jacket can make the perfect soft tailoring choice in spring months to add a sophisticated layer to your look.
The purpose of accessories such as ties and pocket squares are to complement the rest of your look: either by harmonising or contrasting with your other accessories. So although some stores even offer matching tie and pocket square sets, our advice is to steer clear of these if you want to be seen to be on top of your style game. Instead, match colour families within your accessories, for example, burgundy, as shown below. This brings the outfit together within an invisible thread, showcasing complementary style.
DRESSING FOR SUCCESS
Many of those reading our Journal are leaders within their fields, and we help them dress to become their best self across daily life through quality, the finest fabrics and skilled makers. Here are three reasons why you should dress to impress (or just for yourself).
1. It Affects Our Self-image
Whether we like it or not, people judge us on how we present yourselves, even on a video call or in virtual meetings. What we wear, how we wear it, our personal habits and so on. Everyone does it subconsciously. If we spend day after day hunched over our laptops in sloppy clothes then we tend to personify that same sloppiness ourselves.
2. It Makes You Impromptu-call Ready
Now we are in a hybrid world of flexible working from home, what happens if your boss rings for an unscheduled impromptu catch up? By making yourself presentable each morning, you don’t run the risk of scrambling to look presentable for that Zoom conference call or Teams meeting or be embarrassed to encounter the postman or delivery driver at the front door for that matter..
3. It Boosts Your Productivity
Workplace dress codes are often put in place to help influence outsiders’ perception of a company and its employees. These same principles can be applied at home or at casual settings. Suits, even more softly-tailored ones, or sports jackets worn with separates, exude a certain power and professionalism, while khakis and a camp collar Hawaiian shirt can communicate a fun and informal mindset.
Don’t just take our word for it, we work with long standing, sartorial gentleman across the globe to showcase our products in street style and daily life. Below are just some of their feedback and reviews.
Menswear Blogger - Sem (DapperClassic) - United Kingdom
Rampley & Co is a common fixture with my outfits and I often refer to them as ‘the masters of the pocket square’. In a review video I put together on IGTV, I talked about the company and why I think their squares are amongst the best out there. The pocket square print featured is The Battle of Vercellae, and as with all Rampley & Co squares, is incredibly sharp and the colours vibrant.
Menswear Blogger - Linus Norrbom - Sweden
From a person that feels naked without a pocket square in the chest pocket of my jacket, I can honestly say that Rampley & Co. have changed the way I look upon pocket squares. Rampley & Co. is well renowned for their beautiful and unique pocket squares, but have more recently widened their range of quality men’s accessories, such as e.g. ties in lovely Scabal fabrics but also braces, umbrellas and socks.