How Dressing Nicely Can Help (and Hurt) Your Health

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The key to certain aspects of your mental health could be linked to what you wear, according to Professor Karen Pine from the University of Hertfordshire as outlined in her book Mind What You Wear. Pine claims that clothing affects a person’s mental processes and perceptions, and ultimately what you wear could discern how confident you feel. “We know our clothes affect other people’s impressions of us,” Pine says. She adds, “Putting on different clothes creates different thoughts and mental processes.”

“My book aims to make people more aware of this, to understand how changing their clothes can change their mood and their thoughts,” Pine notes.

In Pine’s study, she gathered a group of students and asked them to wear a superman t-shirt, wanting to know if heroic clothing changed how they thought and felt. Surprisingly, Pine found that not only did wearing the shirt make the students more confident, but it actually made them think they were physically stronger. “When wearing a Superman T-shirt the students rated themselves as more likable and superior to other students,” she explained in regards to the study.

Her conclusion about how clothing affects your mental health isn’t actually that much of a revelation. Think about a time you bought a new pair of flattering pants (or any new clothing) and you finally got the chance to wear them. I’m sure it lifted your spirits and heightened your mood — essentially, your pants made you feel good. When you know you look good, it makes you feel good.

Interestingly, though, dressing nicely can impact your health in more ways than one. Here’s how:

1. It boosts your confidence and self-esteem

If you feel comfortable and good in what you’re wearing, your confidence will soar, your self-esteem will be high, and you’ll feel like you can take on the world. It’s also important to consider that wearing the right outfits in the right setting can have a direct impact on how confident and comfortable you feel. Ever been somewhere where you’ve been under-dressed? It can make you want to crawl under a rock. No matter where you go or what you do, your clothing should look nice and fitted, not overflowing and baggy — your self esteem will thank you!

2. It can lead to stress

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This is a case of keeping up with the Jones’, needing to keep up with purchasing fine designer duds can lead to stress. Maybe you feel like you have to one-up someone else with what you wear, but personal style is about making clothes your own. If you’re starting to stress about your wardrobe, take a step back and realize that there are real, more important things to worry about.

3. Clothes can motivate you

Dressing for success is just one part of the puzzle to achieving it. Not only does it make you look like a million bucks, but it inspires you to go out and make a million bucks. Just think about your workout clothes — putting them on motivates you to bench 300 pounds and run a couple of miles. When you know you look good, the impossible suddenly becomes very possible.

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