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Dressing Up for Work Can Make You Better at Your Job

They say that clothes make the man, but can they make the man (or woman) more successful at work? Recent research by the Kellogg School of Management suggests that it can. It's something called the lab coat effect, and you can use it to make yourself more confident in your job.

Generally, when we think of dressing to impress, we think of the effect our clothes have on others, but this study reveals that we're also impressing ourselves. Christian Jarrett at 99u explains:

"[The findings] showed that students were far more accurate on tests of attentional focus and sustained concentration while wearing the white lab coat of a scientist. Crucially, spending time thinking about the lab coat didn't have this benefit, it had to be worn."

Participants were unaffected if they thought the white coat was a painter's jacket. Only when they thought of it as a symbol of success did the jacket have the desired effect.

So how should this affect our clothing choices for work? Obviously, we're not going to start donning lab coats for jobs that don't place in a lab, or even business suits (also found to boost confidence in another study cited by Jarrett) for jobs at startups. But dressing to impress both others and ourselves can help us be more successful at work.

Anyway, it's another good reason to skip the sweatpants, no matter how relaxed your company dress code is.

Tell Us What You Think

We want to hear from you! Do you dress up for work? Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter, using the hashtag #MakeItHappen.


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(Photo Credit: thetaxhaven/Flickr)

2 Comments

  1. 2 Jennifer Agrazada-Schreiner 11 Jul

    Erratum:  ..."be comfortable"...

    "sleeveless tops"

     

     

    I apologize for the errors.

     

  2. 1 Jennifer Agrazada-Schreiner 11 Jul

    Dressing up when there is a special event, a party or when guests are expected in your office is a must. However, one of the reasons why I love my job and the company where I work (Yalwa) is because I can be myself and be comfort. Comfort means productivity. I can keep my style as long as you don't cross the borders (no shoes showing your toes, no jogging attire, dresses or skirts must be of respectable/decent length, no low frontcut items and sleveless tops are OK for women in summer).

    At the end of the day I value the quality of work rather than the attire. Wearing a crisp suit will probably make me go home at exactly 6PM even if I have to meet a tough deadline.

    Office clothes are also in general very expensive compared with regular clothes. Plus, you need extra time to iron these textiles. Well, I'd rather work on my project in my t-shirt and jeans rather than iron an office dress.

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