How Fashion Can Change Your Life
This past weekend people across the U.S. celebrated my second most favorite holiday of the year, Halloween. Halloween is the best! It’s a day when people are encouraged to step outside their everyday attire and try on a new life for a night. Are you intrigued by vampires? Some fangs and a black cape, and boom you’re transformed. Want to feel your sexy side? There’s a whole sub-genre of sexy costumes out there for your pleasure. When it comes to Halloween your imagination is the limit.
You can feel the change happen inside yourself the minute you slip on a costume. Think about your costume this weekend. Did it make you act a little...differently? I bet you $100 bucks it changed the way you moved through the world. Maybe you were a little saucier, or outgoing, or confident. Whatever the outcome, your clothes changed you.
This my loves is called enclothed cognition.
Enclothed cognition is the systematic influence that clothes have on the wearer's psychological processes. In layman's terms, it means how you dress changes the way in which you think. Turns out that the way we dress doesn’t just affect the way other people perceive us, it also affects the way we think of ourselves and even cooler...how we think in the first place. You know the saying “dress for the job you want?” Turns out science actually backs that up!
According to an experiment done by The Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, participants made 50% fewer mistakes on an attention-demanding task when wearing a lab coat. Man, that’s cool, and a great excuse when justifying spending a lot of money on clothes that make you feel awesome.
While Halloween is a great excuse to try a different look, we actually have that opportunity every day. When we get dressed in the morning we are choosing how to present ourselves to the world. It’s how we say “This is who I am.” And thanks to science we now know we’re also influencing our minds.
I’ve always known wearing ethical clothes affected me, but not until I learned about enclothed cognition did I realize just how deep that connection goes. Thanks to enclothed cognition, wearing ethical clothes actually makes me act like a better person.
When I wear ethical and sustainable fashion I feel good about myself, because I know I’m living in line with my values. But but BUT it also affects my actions. It’s a subtle reminder to be a better person. Let’s be honest, we all get tempted from time to time to just run out and buy some fast fashion on a whim. However, you’re far less likely to give in while wearing a blouse handmade by a women’s collective in Peru.
I learned about the wonders of enclothed cognition while watching a TEDX talk given by the founder of Symbology Clothing, Marissa Heyl. What really struck me about her talk was how she thought about ethical fashion. It wasn’t enough that the clothes are ethical they also needed to be fashion forward. Preach sister! I can’t tell you the hours and hours I’ve spent looking for clothes that are as cool as they are ethical. The struggle is real y’all. I know you know what I mean.
Naturally, after the talk, I had to see if Symbology could live up to the hype. As soon as their website popped up on my browser I knew I'd found a kindred fashion spirit. Their clothes are fun, and cool and just a touch sexy. Block printed by women in India and the West Bank, Symbology clothing takes traditional motifs and turns them into clothes you can wear to work or a night out with friends. The goal of Symbology is to make fair trade sexy, and judging by how I feel wearing their clothes I think they hit it out of the park.
So thank you Marissa, for the science and for the fashion.