Lighter Side: Wearing a sharp suit can make you perform better

by Nicola Middlemiss08 May 2015
Uber-successful entrepreneurs like Mark Zuckerberg may have made jeans acceptable in the workplace but one new university study suggests casual dress codes might not be good for business.

“Putting on formal clothes makes us feel powerful and that changes the basic way we see the world,” said Abraham Rutchick, professor of psychology at California State University.

Rutchick’s claims come off the back of recent research, in which participants were asked to rate the formality of their attire before answering a questionnaire designed to understand their thinking process.

The study found that as participants donned more formal attire, the way they viewed things began to change – when casually dressed participants puts suits on, they became abstract thinkers, focusing on the bigger picture, rather than the minor details.
 
Michael Slepian, another of the paper's authors and a professor at Columbia Business School, said wearing a suit could also improve a person’s financial decisions, as it could potentially reduce impulse purchases.
 
Researchers also a argued that wearing a suit could help in situations such as receiving negative feedback, because the person would be able to take a step back from the criticism.
 
And it’s not just suits that can have a psychological effect – the hue of our clothes matter too, according to colour consultant Jules Standish.
 
“Research shows that colours can have a psychological effect,' she says. “When we look at certain colours it triggers neurological responses in the brain, and causes the hypothalamus gland to release hormones.”

“Looking at warm, bright colours, such as red or pink, releases dopamine - known as the 'feel-good hormone' - which can improve our mood, heighten attention span and boost our sex drive,” she continues.
 

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