We’ve all heard the phrase “you are what you eat” but could it also be true that “you are what you wear?”


If you’re a freelancer who works from home, you’ve probably “gone to work” in your pajamas at least once, or twice….or pretty much every day. Why not? You don’t need to leave the house or see anyone face-to-face, so what’s wrong with sporting that comfy flannel suit all day long? Actually, more than you think.


Your overly casual attire could be thwarting your success.


According to this study by Adam D. Galinsky, a professor at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, wearing clothing associated with intelligence and success will actually help you perform better. To prove this, he conducted some experiments to test whether our clothing directly affects our performance.


In Galinksy’s first experiment, 58 undergraduate students were either assigned to wear a white doctor’s lab coat or their regular street clothes. After running various trials that tested their selective attention, they found that those who wore the lab coat made about half as many errors as those who wore their regular clothes.


In a second experiment, 74 students were randomly assigned to one of three groups. The first group was given a white coat and were told it was a doctor’s coat. The second group was given an identical white coat but were told that it was a painter’s coat. The third group only looked at a white coat but did not actually put it on. The students were then instructed to spot differences between two similar pictures and speedily write them down. The findings of this sustained attention activity demonstrated that those who wore the white coat, believing that it was a doctor’s coat, performed significantly better than both of the other groups.


Dr. Galinksy’s term “enclothed cognition” came as a result of these findings which confirmed that what we wear directly affects our psychological processes, which influence our performance.


So although your downstairs office does not require a specific dress code, it might be a good idea to get out of those PJs and dress for the day. Not only will you be ready to greet your neighbor if they so happen to drop off a batch of cookies, but you should also feel more professional and focused, ready to take on the day.


Bye bye PJs, hello success.


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