OK, I just want to confirm something – you will hear me say it so many times, and in so many contexts, but I need to say it again – your clothes are so much more than just being pieces of fabric you drape over your body. 

They are an EXTREMELY powerful tool that influence not only how others perceive us but also how we feel and behave. Throughout my 20+ years of being a personal stylist, I have seen how the right clothes not only transform your outer appearance, but also your inner confidence.  And for any doubting Dorothy’s out there – this phenomenon, known as “Enclothed Cognition,” is not just a style concept; it’s backed by scientific studies that unveil the psychology behind the clothes we wear.

1. The Psychology Behind Your Outfit

Believe it or not, what you wear significantly impacts your mindset and behaviour. “Enclothed Cognition” is the psychological phenomenon where the clothes you wear directly influence your cognitive processes.

Enclothed Cognition gained attention through a series of studies conducted by researchers Hajo Adam and Adam D. Galinsky. In a groundbreaking experiment, participants were asked to wear a white coat. For some, it was described as a doctor’s coat, while for others it was called a painter’s coat. They physically had to put the coat on.  Both groups undertook the same tasks – and guess what …those who believed they were wearing a doctor’s coat performed better on the academic tasks, while those who thought they were in a painter’s coat, scored higher in creative tasks – highlighting the cognitive impact of the perceived symbolism in clothing.

Or in other words …When you dress in a way that aligns with your goals and makes you feel confident, your mindset shifts. It’s not just about looking good; it’s about embodying the qualities you want to project.  You don’t even have to be thinking “ooh I need to act confident – your mind just does it for you”

When you feel good in what you’re wearing, you’re more likely to tackle challenges head-on and exude a powerful, can-do attitude in the workplace.

2. Dress for Success: A Boost in Self-Perception

Your wardrobe choices go beyond influencing others; they play a vital role in shaping how you perceive yourself. Dressing in a way that reflects your professionalism and style sends signals to your brain that you are capable, competent, and ready to conquer whatever comes your way. It’s a simple yet effective way to boost your self-esteem and cultivate a positive self-image.

In another study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, researchers explored the impact of wearing formal clothing on abstract thinking. The findings revealed that individuals dressed in formal attire demonstrated a broader, more holistic thinking style compared to those in casual wear. This suggests that the way we dress can shape not only our self-perception but also our cognitive processes.

This highlights the significance of incorporating some more formal pieces into your wardrobe, emphasising how your clothing choices can elevate not only your confidence but also your thinking style, as well as considering it when working from home. Experiment with incorporating bold colours, statement accessories, or a signature style into your professional wardrobe. These personalised touches not only make you stand out but also act as a reminder of your unique strengths and qualities.

Embracing your personal style in a professional setting reinforces your authenticity and can make a significant impact on your confidence levels.

 The next time you put on a pair of tailored trousers, a sophisticated dress or a beautifully cut blouse, recognise that you’re not just getting dressed; you’re setting up your mind for success.

3. The Wardrobe-Mind Connection

Enclothed Cognition is a powerful tool rooted in science, emphasising the connection between your wardrobe choice and your mindset.  The studies mentioned show how our clothes can influence attention, performance, and thinking style. It’s about leveraging the power of clothing to enhance your confidence, assertiveness, and overall well-being. As a personal stylist, my advice is to view your wardrobe as a collection of tools that can empower you in your personal and professional life.

So, the next time you stand in front of your closet, remember that it’s not just about picking an outfit. It’s about choosing a mindset. Embrace the power of Enclothed Cognition, and let your wardrobe not only reflect but enhance, the powerful, confident woman you are.

4. Practical Applications: Curating Your Confidence Wardrobe

Understanding Enclothed Cognition helps you apply the significance of dressing intentionally into your daily life. Creating a wardrobe with intention goes beyond trends; it becomes a tool for self-expression and success.

Don’t shy away from infusing your personal style into your professional wardrobe. Experiment with colours, patterns, and accessories that reflect your fabulous personality. These personalised touches not only make you stand out but also serve as constant reminders of your unique strengths and qualities to yourself and to others.


 In conclusion, Enclothed Cognition is not just some spiel that is spouted by those in the Style Industry; it’s a psychological principle that underscores the profound impact clothing has on our mindset and behaviour.

As professional women, recognising and harnessing the power of your wardrobe can be a game-changer. Your clothing choices go beyond mere fashion; they are a reflection of your aspirations, a tool for enhancing confidence, and a key to unlocking your full potential.