Not only does it change how other people perceive you, but it can also alter the way you see the world.
This is according to a new study that found people who wear suits tend to focus on the bigger picture rather than on minor details.
Researchers at California State University, Northridge, describe people who put on formal clothing as abstract thinkers.
‘Putting on formal clothes makes us feel powerful, and that changes the basic way we see the world,’ Abraham Rutchick.
While the likes of Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs may have made it acceptable to wear jeans at work, the new study argues formal wear is better suited for the office environment.
Thinking abstractly can help in situations such as getting negative feedback on a piece of work, allowing the person to take a step back from the criticism.
Michael Slepian, another of the paper’s authors and a professor at Columbia Business School, said it could also help deal with financial situations by preventing impulse purchases.
The researchers performed a series of experiments in which students had to rate the formality of the clothes they had on.
They then answered a questionnaire designed to understand the way in which they think.
The researchers then asked the casually dressed participants to wear formal clothing, such as a suit, and found those who did began looking at the bigger picture when solving problems.
‘No matter how often you wear formal clothing, if you are wearing formal clothing, then you are likely in a context that’s not the intimate, comfortable, and more socially close setting with no dress code,’ says Slepian.
‘Thus, whether you wear formal clothing every workday, or only every wedding, my prediction is that we would find a similar influence because the clothing still feels formal in both situations.’