How your clothes affect your emotions


Choosing something to wear in the morning can be rushed and can often result in throwing on something that is later regretted.

How people dress can greatly affect the rest of their day. If someone puts on something that doesn’t fit quite right, is inappropriate for the occasion or is just sloppy, chances are, his or her day might not go so well.

“There definitely can be a connection between how people dress and how they feel,” said Robert Ridge, associate professor of osychology at BYU. “The more you like your appearance, the more confident you can be.”

When someone wears something that they don’t like, they often become much more self-conscious and worry about what others will think of them.

“People think that they’re at the center of everyone else’s attention,” Ridge said. “If you have a bad hair day, you might think everyone will notice.”

Suzette Rovelsky studies while dressed down in sweats and a t-shirt. (Photo by Elliott Miller)
Suzette Rovelsky studies while dressed down in sweats and a t-shirt. (Photo by Elliott Miller)

According to Ridge, this is called the spotlight effect. However, it’s likely no one will actually notice unless that person shows that they are self-conscious about their appearance.

“You may be more tentative and behave in a socially awkward way,” Ridge said. “If you just acted normal, people wouldn’t notice.”

How someone appears can largely affect interpersonal relationships as well. According to Ridge, if people perceive someone as being attractive, they will treat that person better, allowing for more pleasant interactions throughout the day that will make him or her feel better.

“It can affect my whole day if I’m not feeling good in what I’m wearing,” said Jeff Whiting, 21, from Granite Bay, Calif.

For Whiting, this is caused by wearing sloppier clothes, such as basketball shorts, flip flops or sweats.

“Others look at you and think, ‘He’s not dressed very nicely,'” Whiting said. “You can feel more exposed in those clothes, whether it be to the weather or other people seeing you.”

Whiting feels best when wearing business casual attire, he said.

“I think it looks good and others react to it as well,” Whiting said.

How people dress could also affect their performance level, whether it be at school or at work.

“When I’m wearing sweats and a baggy t-shirt, I’m more lazy and less motivated to do things,” Whiting said. “Sweats kind of indicate I’m at home and it’s time to be relaxed.”

The outcome of a job interview could also be largely determined by attire.

“I think for a job interview if you’re underdressed, you’re going to be much less confident,” said Keilana Fischer, 24, from Fallon, Nev.

Job dress codes may also have an outcome on emotions. Fischer worked at the Polynesian Cultural Center, where she had a uniform and was required to wear makeup and a flower in her hair. Fischer said although it did not affect her directly, it influenced the emotions of others.

“It added to the atmosphere and experience,” Fischer said.

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