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Suit up! Dressing up for work makes you think like a leader

Suit up! Dressing up for work makes you think like a leader

by Meghan Holohan 

Want to manage a new project or move into a leadership role at work? Consider slipping into a suit — or at least more formal clothing. A recent study cited in The Atlantic finds that people who don formal business attire think differently than those dressed in jeans and flip-flops.

The cast of “How I Met Your Mother” perform the musical number Girls Vs. Suits, on the 100th episode.

“We usually think about how what we wear affects how other people perceive us, so the first interesting thing is that our clothing affects us as well,” writes Abraham Rutchick, an author of the paper and an associate professor of psychology at California State University, Northridge, via email.

Rutchick and his colleagues conducted six experiments where they looked at how clothing impacted how the wearers felt and thought. In four experiments, subjects reported how the clothing they wore made them feel; they then participated in a cognitive task. People who felt they were dressed more formally demonstrated an increased ability to think abstractly.

“Wearing formal clothing makes us feel more powerful, which brings with it a sense of more social distance from other people. Power and abstract processing have been repeated linked to one another in literature,” says Rutchick.

There’s little evidence in the literature about why power and abstract thinking are linked. Rutchick speculates that people who run businesses, for example, might need to think abstractly while employees who need to carry out the day-to-day work need to focus on the details.

“Keep in mind it’s not necessarily ‘better’ to think more abstractly. It means more broadly, creatively … but also in a less detail-oriented way,” he says.

In the other two studies, Rutchick asked students to bring two sets of clothes to a lab — a set to wear to class and a set to wear to a job interview. Interview attire varied greatly with women most often wearing dress pants and blouses and men wearing ties or full suits. The researchers randomly directed students to wear one set of clothing and participate in cognitive tests. Again the more formal the clothing, the more a person thought abstractly.

“The clothing we wear really can influence what we think and even the way we think,” says Josh Davis, author of the forthcoming book “Two Awesome Hours: Science-Based Strategies to Harness Your Best Time and Get Your Most Important Work Done” and director of research and lead professor at NeuroLeadership Institute, who was not involved in the study. “It does lend some support to dress for success”

While Davis believes that the paper shows that an outfit can change a person’s thought process, he agrees with the authors that dress isn’t a magic bullet.

“It can do that. It doesn’t mean that it will do that,” he says.

Davis says there aren’t many studies on how clothing primes thought, but it is an emerging area of research. Interestingly, a 2012 study found that when people wear a white coat associated with doctor’s they pay more attention to detail.

Rutchcick also looked at whether formal wear became less powerful if people wore it regularly. No matter the frequency, wearing a suit fostered a particular way of thinking.

“Putting on a suit (even if habitual or routine) brings with it the adoption of a certain mindset,” he says.

Weddings, Brides and Grooms

Custom Wedding Tuxedos

Your Guide – Be Ready For all Events by Kelsi Trinidad

Another invite and another attempt to decipher the sometimes daunting dress code. With categories like White Tie, Black Tie, and Lounge, it can be overwhelming and confusing at times. Whether it’s charity gala or a formal wedding, dressing the part doesn’t have to be a cryptic task.

Black Tie The words “Black Tie” may conjure up memories of high school dances, but now that you are all grown up, this type of affair is a bit more involved than renting the generic polyester tux set from your local suit emporium (gross). When you attend the company awards nights, your sister’s formal wedding, or charity event that calls for Black Tie, it’s important abide by the rules to look your best. You don’t want your peers to get the impression that you’re as clueless as a pimply teenager. A classic black tuxedo is still the standard at these events. The typical tuxedo jacket has a single button and is single breasted with a satin peak lapel and no vent. A black bow tie and black patent leather oxfords are a must. Optional additions to the basic tuxedo include a simple (usually white) pocket square or an elegant opera scarf if you’re feeling a bit spry.

Black Tie is the most commonly used dress code for any polished event and knowing how to dress for it is a great weapon to have in your arsenal. A variation on the traditional Black Tie dress code is Warm Weather Black Tie which features a white jacket instead of black and is sometimes called upon for summer formal events. Formal or evening weddings, company awards dinners, and some private dinners are all occasions that may require you to don a tuxedo.

Black Tie Optional

The fact that the word “optional” is in the title is only begging for confusion. A host may choose this dress code if they want to be considerate of the fact that not all guests may have a tuxedo. At these events, it is acceptable to forgo the tuxedo (if you absolutely must) and opt for a polished black suit. However, if you have the means, we still encourage you to wear a tuxedo of some sort. Because of the precarious nature of the word “optional,” we suggest you to contact the host if you need clarification.

A Black Tie Optional event is still formal in nature but it has slightly more relaxed rules for attire. A tie is still necessary and so are your polished black shoes. Accessories can be used to express personal style. Instead of a bow tie, you can opt for a necktie with a handsome tie bar or a classy lapel flower. Tie bar placement is key, so if you are a tie bar rookie, check out our ultimate guide to tie bars. You’re most likely to run into this category at weddings, stylish events, formal dinners, and galas.

Black Tie Creative

This variation on the standard Black Tie category allows the party to get started with a little festivity. Black Tie Creative is an opportunity to showcase your personal style in terms of color, accessories, and collar and lapel style. You may opt for the uncommon shawl lapel or a slim cut tuxedo in a dark saturated color like midnight blue or maroon. A colored jacket, colored wingtips shoes, or a brightly colored bow tie are all fair game in this category. Even going with a black shirt instead of white can add subtle creative flair. Although this dress code offers flexibility, it is important to keep in mind that if the event is“Black Tie” at all, no matter how festive or creative it is, it is a formal event and your sartorial modifications should still honor a the formal atmosphere of the event. Keep in mind that wearing a standard tux or an ensemble with “black tie optional” qualities is also perfectly acceptable.

A variant of the Black Tie Creative dress code is Festive Black Tie. How you should dress to this occasion depends on the given situation or theme of the party. The most common example of a Festive Black Tie event is a company Christmas party, but there are infinite ways to twist it and that depends on the host. Fun themes like “Black Tie and Boots” call for wearing a bolo tie with a tuxedo or sporting a Western-themed tie or cufflinks.

Lounge A Lounge dress code event maintains formality while allowing for the integration of more color and options into your look. Tuxedos are totally out of the picture for this dress code. A suit in a dark, neutral color such as classic black, navy, or gray is recommended. Take a little liberty with your lapel and collar style as Lounge attire is less strict than the other formal dress codes. Polished shoes are not necessary and both black and brown shoes work. If you are feeling adventurous, mix in a pastel colored shirt or a subtly patterned tie to give your suit character. Pairing a skinny tie with a nice tie bar can give your Lounge outfit a modern edge. This category can be worn to daytime formal parties or business dinners.

Gone is the dread of another invitation with a dress code! Now that you are seasoned in formal dress codes, take a little liberty when you can and remember when you shouldn’t. The age-old rule of thumb has not changed, it’s better to be overdressed than under-dressed.

Custom Bespoke Wedding Tuxedos

Your Guide – Be Ready For all tuxedo Events
Sew Bespoke Clothing I Custom Bespoke Suits and Shirts

Another invite and another attempt to decipher the sometimes daunting dress code. With categories like White Tie, Black Tie, and Lounge, it can be overwhelming and confusing at times. Whether it’s charity gala or a formal wedding, dressing the part doesn’t have to be a cryptic task.

Black Tie The words “Black Tie” may conjure up memories of high school dances, but now that you are all grown up, this type of affair is a bit more involved than renting the generic polyester tux set from your local suit emporium (gross). When you attend the company awards nights, your sister’s formal wedding, or charity event that calls for Black Tie, it’s important abide by the rules to look your best. You don’t want your peers to get the impression that you’re as clueless as a pimply teenager. A classic black tuxedo is still the standard at these events. The typical tuxedo jacket has a single button and is single breasted with a satin peak lapel and no vent. A black bow tie and black patent leather oxfords are a must. Optional additions to the basic tuxedo include a simple (usually white) pocket square or an elegant opera scarf if you’re feeling a bit spry.

Black Tie is the most commonly used dress code for any polished event and knowing how to dress for it is a great weapon to have in your arsenal. A variation on the traditional Black Tie dress code is Warm Weather Black Tie which features a white jacket instead of black and is sometimes called upon for summer formal events. Formal or evening weddings, company awards dinners, and some private dinners are all occasions that may require you to don a tuxedo.

Black Tie Optional

The fact that the word “optional” is in the title is only begging for confusion. A host may choose this dress code if they want to be considerate of the fact that not all guests may have a tuxedo. At these events, it is acceptable to forgo the tuxedo (if you absolutely must) and opt for a polished black suit. However, if you have the means, we still encourage you to wear a tuxedo of some sort. Because of the precarious nature of the word “optional,” we suggest you to contact the host if you need clarification.

A Black Tie Optional event is still formal in nature but it has slightly more relaxed rules for attire. A tie is still necessary and so are your polished black shoes. Accessories can be used to express personal style. Instead of a bow tie, you can opt for a necktie with a handsome tie bar or a classy lapel flower. Tie bar placement is key, so if you are a tie bar rookie, check out our ultimate guide to tie bars. You’re most likely to run into this category at weddings, stylish events, formal dinners, and galas.

Black Tie Creative

This variation on the standard Black Tie category allows the party to get started with a little festivity. Black Tie Creative is an opportunity to showcase your personal style in terms of color, accessories, and collar and lapel style. You may opt for the uncommon shawl lapel or a slim cut tuxedo in a dark saturated color like midnight blue or maroon. A colored jacket, colored wingtips shoes, or a brightly colored bow tie are all fair game in this category. Even going with a black shirt instead of white can add subtle creative flair. Although this dress code offers flexibility, it is important to keep in mind that if the event is “Black Tie” at all, no matter how festive or creative it is, it is a formal event and your sartorial modifications should still honor a the formal atmosphere of the event. Keep in mind that wearing a standard tux or an ensemble with “black tie optional” qualities is also perfectly acceptable.

A variant of the Black Tie Creative dress code is Festive Black Tie. How you should dress to this occasion depends on the given situation or theme of the party. The most common example of a Festive Black Tie event is a company Christmas party, but there are infinite ways to twist it and that depends on the host. Fun themes like “Black Tie and Boots” call for wearing a bolo tie with a tuxedo or sporting a Western-themed tie or cufflinks.

Lounge A Lounge dress code event maintains formality while allowing for the integration of more color and options into your look. Tuxedos are totally out of the picture for this dress code. A suit in a dark, neutral color such as classic black, navy, or gray is recommended. Take a little liberty with your lapel and collar style as Lounge attire is less strict than the other formal dress codes. Polished shoes are not necessary and both black and brown shoes work. If you are feeling adventurous, mix in a pastel colored shirt or a subtly patterned tie to give your suit character. Pairing a skinny tie with a nice tie bar can give your Lounge outfit a modern edge. This category can be worn to daytime formal parties or business dinners.

Gone is the dread of another invitation with a dress code! Now that you are seasoned in formal dress codes, take a little liberty when you can and remember when you shouldn’t. The age-old rule of thumb has not changed, it’s better to be overdressed than under-dressed.