Style to your advantage: the science [read time: 3:17]
Fans of How I Met Your Mother will instantly recognize this quote as Barney Stinson’s most referenced catchphrase. Neil Patrick-Harris’ famous character is barely ever seen without a suit on, whether it be at the office, the club, the bar, or even lounging around his apartment.
Fun fact: fans have pointed out that whenever Barney wears something other than a suit, things tend to go wrong. He fails with the ladies, gets ditched by his friends, and on one occasion his legs stop working.
Is the outcome of Barney’s clothing choices a coincidence? Maybe not. In actuality, researchers believe that what we wear has an important influence on how we function. One study in particular concluded that doctors wearing lab coats performed better on a test than those who weren’t in uniform.
Another study consisting in a series of interviews showed that women felt their best and their most confident when they “liked what they [were] wearing, the clothes fit properly on their bodies, and they liked the fit”.
So, if clothes have such a significant impact on our minds, how can we use style to our advantage? In other words, how can I become my best self through the medium of clothing? I say, know your style, and you’ll be able to fine-tune your wardrobe. In turn, improving your wardrobe will help you succeed in your endeavours and improve your self esteem.
Through pinpointing your aesthetic, you have a better understanding of what clothes you need and want. If your style is feminine, for example, then you’ll look for lace, bows, and ruffles. On the other hand, if you’re more of a tomboy, you will want boxy fits and cargo pockets. Shopping according to your style means you only buy clothes that are in tune with who you are. Are you a hipster? If so, go buy that pair of Dr. Martens you’ve always wanted. No shame. It’s time to celebrate the way you see yourself. Who are you really, and what does that mean for your wardrobe? The doctors performed better when they looked like doctors, so pick your clothes according to who you envision yourself being.
This careful approach to shopping means less waste and more love for the garments you end up purchasing. It means your garments fit the same vibe, match your personality, and make you feel comfortable. Sure, maybe that pink blazer you saw at the store had amazing shoulder pads, but if your style is more masculine, the colour might be a reason to reconsider. Does it match the rest of your wardrobe? Do you have other garments you can pair it with? How comfortable do you think you will be wearing it? Just because you like a garment, doesn’t mean you should invite it into your closet. It might not get along with what’s already there.
They say your body is the temple of your soul; I say your clothes are too. If your clothes feel like home, then your soul will be happy. Taking care of your external appearance is therapeutic, not selfish. It’s spiritual, not vain. You deserve to look your best so that you can be your best. Knowing your wardrobe represents exactly who you are helps build and preserve your sense of self, and with it your self confidence. Think about it. If every single piece of clothing in your closet fit the aesthetic you were aiming for, wouldn’t that make you feel on top of the world?
When we turn words into clothes, we create style. So pick the words that describe you best and translate them into your wardrobe. As Barney Stinson would say, “suit up!”. For more clarity into your personal style check out our digital style journal and work through your own style journey.