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Photo: Free People
Photo: Free People

The clothing we choose to wear is a reflection of us and in part, it helps others to form an initial opinion of what we are like as a person. You wouldn’t, for example, turn up to a job interview in a tracksuit – it isn’t professional and would suggest to the employer that you aren’t taking it seriously. Likewise, you wouldn’t turn up to an exercise class in a suit – it just isn’t practical.

But, while we have clothing that is suitable for certain situations, the outfit we wear can also affect how we feel. Take that job interview. You wear a suit so that you do make a good impression but the shirt is so tight you can barely lift up your arms and the skirt is so short you are constantly trying to pull it down a bit. The result? You feel uncomfortable and therefore unconfident – this will come across to those you meet and could cost you the job. 


Instead, you wear that dress that makes you feel like you could take on the world – you look good, feel good and ultimately you are comfortable and confident. This simple outfit change could help you bag the role and avoid rejection.    

In 2014, car manufacturer Kia conducted a survey to see what made people feel confident. Included in the top 10 things for women were: heels and a little black dress and for men it included a suit.

We all have that ‘go to’ outfit in our wardrobes, don’t we? The one we put on – when everything else we own is making us feel frumpy or overweight – that instantly transforms our mood.

Photo: Anthropologie
Photo: Anthropologie

To explore the theory that clothes can change the way we feel,Vogue asked several women across different careers ranging from art to politics, what piece in their wardrobe helped them feel powerful and ready to take on anything at work. Answers included the likes of heels, while others cited correlations between brands and confidence.

Whether it is a job interview, an important meeting or just a night out with friends we want to feel comfortable and confident and the right clothes are a key way to guarantee this.


One situation that even the most confident among us can feel the nerves creep in is public speaking – this could be an important presentation at work or a speech at your best friend’s wedding. Unfortunately, this isn’t always something we can avoid but Glossophobia is considered to be the greatest fear a person can have.  Several motivational speakers – including those you can find on this website – will tell you that one way to feel confident when speaking in front of people and in general is to ensure you are wearing clothes that make you feel comfortable and confident.

Scientists call this ‘enclothed cognition’ – when your style and clothes reflect and affect your mood and confidence. In the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, professors Adam Hajo and Adam D. Galinsky explain that this: “Involves the co-occurrence of two independent factors – the symbolic meaning of the clothes and the physical experience of wearing them.” During research, subjects wore coats while performing tests – some wore a lab coat similar to a doctor’s, others wore a painter’s coat and some didn’t wear either.
They found that attention increased while wearing the doctor’s coat in a way that it didn’t with the other two.

Photo: H&M

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