enclothed cognition


Look Good, Feel Good:  Enclothed Cognition—What Is It?

By Susanne Leary Shoemaker

If you look good, you feel good.  Studies show that feeling comfortable in your clothes boosts confidence and self-esteem.  Wearing clothes that are both functional and fashionable can change the way people react to you.  You are more approachable.  You are more confident.

The landmark study involves the increased performance of students wearing a white lab coat.  If you wear a white coat that you believe belongs to a doctor, your ability to pay attention increases dramatically.  But if you wear the same white coat believing it belongs to a painter, you will not show the improvement.  This is the phenomenon of enclothed cognition:  the effects of clothing on cognitive processes.

You receive the effect when you put on the doctor’s coat, according to Adam D. Galinsky, a professor at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, who led the study.  Wearing the coat and knowing its symbolic meaning—that physicians tend to be intelligent, careful, and meticulous—triggers the effect on the wearer.

Even our underwear affects the way we feel about ourselves.  Inner-wear (or intimates) can exert a powerful influence on our self-perception and confidence levels.

UNDERCARE embraces the concept of enclothed cognition.  If you have a disability, whether permanent or temporary, you do not need to give up wearing comfortable, well made, fashion forward clothing.  Your first intention of the day in getting dressed can be a satisfying, body confidence building experience.

Imagine you are one of the 60 million Americans with a disability who cannot dress quickly or independently.  The “adaptive clothing” that you can find to wear is not attractive or comfortable.  ln many cases, in lieu of wearing something unwieldy or that doesn’t fit properly, you forego the option altogether. 

It’s time to address the needs of the undeserved community of the differently-able with fashion-inclusive solutions.