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What My Clothes Say About Me Essay

Your style and the clothes you choose reflect and affect your mood, health, and overall confidence. Scientists call this phenomenon "enclothed cognition", and Adam Hajo and Adam D. Galinsky, both professors at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, write in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, write that enclothed cognition "involves the co-occurrence of two independent factors -- the symbolic meaning of the clothes and the physical experience of wearing them." The researchers had subjects perform tests while wearing a lab coat like medical doctors wear, a coat like painters wear, and while not wearing either coat. They found that subjects' sustained attention increased while wearing the doctors' coats in a way that their attention did not increase while wearing the painters' coats or no coats.

Similarly, Professor Karen J. Pine, of the University of Hertfordshire (U.K.) writes in her very short book Mind What You Wear: The Psychology of Fashion "When we put on a piece of clothing we cannot help but adopt some of the characteristics associated with it, even if we are unaware of it." In the studies Pine conducted, as related in her book, one participant admitted, "If I'm in casual clothes I relax and am tomboyish, but if I dress up for a meeting or a special occasion, it can alter the way I walk and hold myself."

That is what Lisa Stariha, The Body Empowerment Coach, tries to instill her in clients. She says it is so important to "Get up, get dressed, and never give up each day." Stariha, who often works from her home office, knows how comfortable it can be to work in yoga pants and a cozy shirt. But, she says, "to feel more beautiful, confident, and strong, you must change out of the yoga pants and put on clothes that give you power," just as Wonder Woman went from her Diana Prince uniform to her kick-butt Wonder Woman costume.

How important and empowering the right clothes, and even the right under garments, can be is one of the things my co-authors, Jean Otte and Rosina L. Racioppi and I mentioned in our book WOMEN Are Changing the Corporate Landscape: Rules for Cultivating Leadership Excellence. And Business Insider says that clothes don't just affect your confidence levels, they can affect your success, as "clothing significantly influences how others perceive you and how they respond to you."

In 2014, car manufacturer Kia took a survey of what makes people feel confident, a few of the things included in the top 10 list for women included: high heels, a little black dress, and designer perfume. For men, the list included: a freshly shaved face, a new suit, and a nice smelling aftershave.

Understanding the psychological dynamics of why the right-for-us clothing can contribute to our confidence, raise our self esteem, and help propel us in the workplace has become big business. Image, style, and branding consultants are hired by everyone from celebrities to the average Joe, with, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics more than 56,000 people claiming that as their occupation in 2014. Kim Peterson, of Uniquely Savvy, helps people champion themselves through personal brand and style analysis, body and color analysis, wardrobe analysis, personal shopping, and virtual style consulting for individuals, and more progressive businesses bring Kim in to do workshops for their employees on these self-empowerment topics.

So the next time you reach for those yoga pants or for that fiery red dress, ask yourself how will that clothing item make you feel and what is it saying to the world around you today?

Follow Jill L. Ferguson on Twitter: www.twitter.com/JLFerg

Have you ever realized how much your clothes have an influence on how you are seen by people for the first time? Every time you walk out your front door you are sending a message by the clothes that you chose to wear. I love clothes and think of clothing as a way to express one's self and help others get a sense of who you are.

Choice of clothing, especially with so many different options in fashion today, can tell a lot about a person. Wearing simple clothing and neutral colors all the time could mean that you are a simple, laid back person. Wearing lots of bold colors and crazy prints could send the message that you are kind of wild and like to have a good time. Sportswear and brands like Nike and Adidas could portray that you are athletic, workout often, and love playing sports. Camouflage clothing and Wrangler jeans would send the message that you are country and possibly work on a farm or enjoy spending a lot of time in nature.

Clothing is one of the first things people notice when they see you and people may judge you based on your clothing choices. When women chose to wear very tight, revealing clothing it can often send the message that they are easy and that they may not have very high standards when it comes to men. People decked out in expensive, designer brands and lots of jewelry could send the message that they have lots of money and are high maintenance.

I like to wear clothes that are cute and stylish to me and also a little different from what everyone else is wearing. I wouldn't say that I have a distinct style, just wear things that I like. I'll often piece together things that you wouldn't think typically go together but end up working as a whole outfit. I love piecing old with new and different textures together. I love neutral color clothing and chose to pair it with a pop of color in an accessory, like a purse, shoes, or jewelry. I love classic pieces that never go out of style like cardigan sweaters and collared shirts. I also love...

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