It is no lie that the clothes we wear affect our confidence. According to a survey, a few of the top 10 things that make women feel confident were high heels, a little black dress and a designer perfume. For men, these were a freshly shaved face, a new suit and a nice smelling aftershave. Because when we look good, we have a better perception of ourselves and feel more confident! Even on bad hair days or when you are not feeling yourself for whatever reason, you can use your clothes to boost your confidence and still slay the day! Here are 5 ways clothes can boost your confidence;
1. Dress up for the occasion
You do not always have to dress up to feel confident. You can feel confident in sweatpants too! What is important is to dress up appropriately for occasions. When you are going somewhere, finding out what kind of atmosphere there is and what dress code is appropriate will help you feel confident and blend in different environments.
In a study, fashion psychologist Professor Karen Pine asked a group of women to wear a swimsuit while the other group of women wore a sweater while doing a math test. Guess what? The woman wearing a sweater scored higher on the test. As a sweater was an item of appropriate clothing for the task, these women felt more confident than women wearing a swimsuit which reflected on their performance!
If you can, it is also not a bad thing to dress up a little more than required, perhaps by adding extra jewellery. Because as humans, we tend to compare ourselves to others and if you think you are the best dressed in the room, you would feel better about yourself, and here comes to confidence boost!
2. Dress for success
While dressing for the occasions, don’t forget to dress for the life, career or person that you want to be. Professor Karen J. Pine states in her book that “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 stated, “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.” If you wear things that represent a lifestyle, you will behave in ways that are more aligned in this and visualise yourself in this lifestyle.
Also, other people will perceive you as if you are that person and interact with you accordingly! So if you want to be a yoga guru, keep rocking those fitness leggings, if you want to be a businesswoman bring out the suit and the high heels, our mindset will change to that persona as soon as we put those clothes on.
3. Create your style
The idea of fashion trend is that we all want to feel like we belong to a group with similar taste, financial status or values and we want our look to represent all these. This is one of the initial steps in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs; to feel safe and belonging. But we cannot rule out the natural desire to stand out and express our individuality to boost our sense of identity, self-image and confidence. So, wear that trendy blazer but mix it up with items of your style to create your creative look!
4. Pick the right colours
Colour therapist Lien Potgieter says; “The best colours for boosting your confidence are those you feel good in! Be aware of how different colours make you feel, and wear those – whether as nail polish, clothes or accessories”.
Wearing red makes us look more attractive to ourselves, explained by the colour-in-context theory. This can be as a result of people perceiving us more attractive and behaving in a positive manner towards us or just the sexual attraction that red is associated with, hence we think we look better/sexier when wearing red. Either way, feeling attractive equals more confidence!
In formal settings such as the workplace, wearing black can help us increase our confidence as it evokes a sense of power and authority.
5. Wear comfortable, well fitted clothes
When we wear uncomfortable clothes we feel more distracted and experience an increase in cognitive load. As a result, we would not be able to perform daily tasks as efficient as we would when wearing comfortable clothes. If we are performing better while wearing comfortable clothes we will feel a sense of achievement and ultimately feel more confident!
Clothes that don’t sit well on our bodies can make us feel uncomfortable and distracted. It is important to know our bodies and pick the right fit to feel good inside our clothes. We may need to tailor a few clothes to get the perfect fit, but in the long-term, this will be worth it!