Wearing a Suit Makes You Think Differently

Why do we love suits and take every opportunity to tell men to suit up? Well, lots of reasons, actually, but here’s good one: a suit will make you feel powerful.

At least, that’s according to a new study published in Social Psychological & Personality Science. On top of making you feel powerful, wearing more formal clothing makes people think more broadly about the big picture than narrowly and lost in details. In psychological terms, suits make you think more abstractly than concretely.

Researchers had student participants show up to the lab and then rate the outfit they happened to be wearing; the researchers didn’t tell them how to dress at all. They also had to take a battery of psychological tests. In this round of testing, students who rated their own dress as more formal tended to favour abstract thinking—but most students dressed very casually, favouring concrete thinking. Researchers then asked the students to return to the lab, this time as though they were dressed for a job interview. In the next series of tests, the students self-reported formality increased, of course, but so did their level of abstract thinking.

So here’s our takeaway: go get measured for you suit. Today.

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