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Instant Confidence Boost From The Outside In: How To Dress For Confidence

Instant Confidence Boost From The Outside In: How To Dress For Confidence

When we try to look for advice on lifting confidence, it always has to do with our mindset. There’re hundreds of articles out on the internet to teach us how to gain confidence by thinking positively, killing negative thoughts, getting to know yourself and practicing interactions with different people. All of these suggestions are nice, but changing a mindset takes time, and communication skills take practice.

If you’re wondering whether there’re some faster ways to boost your confidence, paying some attention to what you wear can be a good idea.

Your attire has a significant effect on self-esteem and confidence.

Almost all of us know that how we dress will affect the first impression with leave for others;[1] but not so many of us are aware of the fact that it’s also affecting how we perceive ourselves.

According to the findings from a study published on the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, subjects who wore a lab coat which was associated with the doctor’s coat performed better than those who didn’t wear a lab coat and those who wore a lab coat described as a painter’s coat.[2]

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Researchers have called this phenomenon “enclothed cognition”, meaning that what you wear have a significant effect on your physical and psychological state. The clothes you put on can make or break your self-confidence level.

The wrong clothes can negatively affect your performance in work and life.

In the book Mind What You Wear – The Psychology of Fashion,[3] Professor Karen Pine says that the right or wrong clothes can affect your attitude.

In her study, she asked some women to take a math test. But unlike any regular math test, some women had to wear a swimsuit while the other group of women wore a sweater. It turned out that women who wore a sweater performed better in the test.[4]

This could be an extreme example because taking a math test while wearing a swimsuit definitely makes people feel uncomfortable. But this has proved that what we wear is affecting what we think and feel, and will affect both our behavior and our performance in work and life.

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To dress for confidence, embrace tailoring.

    Nothing makes you look good than well-fitting clothes. You must have seen someone who wore an oversized suit.  How did that seem to you? While wearing an ill-fitting suit may make others get the impression that they’re not ready for work; people who don’t have a well-fitting suit may unconsciously feel that they don’t fit into their workplace.

    Fashion blogger and TV presenter Ciara O’Doherty suggested looking for well-tailored pieces on the high-street. You don’t really need to spend too much money on a tailor-made garment.[5]

    Look for slightly padded shoulders, good quality stitching and hems, and try on multiple sizes to ensure you find your perfect fit. One tip is to get pieces altered by a seamstress so they fit your exact measurements, which is perfect for women who might be on the shorter/taller side.

    A good pair of shoes can make or break your overall look on different occasions

    For men, all you need is a smart pair of black shoes (Oxfords or loafers), a smart pair of brown shoes, a causal pair of shoes like boat shoes, and sneakers.

      For women, you should have a pair of dark shoes and a pair of shoes with light color or white color (depends on your preference, you can get yourself a pair of flats, or high heels, or boots), a casual pair of shoes like sandals, and sneakers.

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        The smart shoes can be worn in formal and semi-formal occasions; whether it’s for men to match a nice shirt or suit or for women to match with a nice dress or suit, the smart shoes are always perfect. And it’s always good to have some dark color shoes and some lighter color shoes because that would make it easier to match with different outfits.

        Most importantly, make yourself comfortable.

        Always opt for comfort first. If you are not wearing something that makes you comfortable, your clothes will only distract you from focusing on your work, which will eventually affect your performance.

          Take my advice on choosing the right clothes for the right occasions and get yourself some well-fitting clothes and good shoes.  That’s how you can build confidence from the outside in!

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          Reference

          More by this author

          Anna Chui

          Anna is a communication expert and a life enthusiast. She's the editor of Lifehack and loves to write about love, life, and passion.

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          Last Updated on December 17, 2018

          Read this and stop feeling overwhelmed…for good!

          Read this and stop feeling overwhelmed…for good!

          We live in a time of productivity overload.

          Everywhere you turn are articles and books about how to be more productive, how to squeeze 27 hours of work out of every 24, how to double your work pace, how to do more and more all in the name of someday getting out of the rat race. Well this is about the side effects of those ideas. If we aren’t multitasking, we feel lazy. If we aren’t doing everything, we feel like we’re slacking. We compare ourselves to others who we think are doing more, having more, getting more and achieving more, and it’s driving us crazy. We feel overwhelmed when we think we have too much to do, too much is expected of us, or that a stressor is too much for us to handle. And we respond by lashing out with emotions of anger, irritability, anxiety, doubt and helplessness.

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          This season especially is the most stressful time of year. Between the holidays, final exams, family gatherings and general feelings of guilt that it’s the end of the year, it’s easy to get overwhelmed thinking of all the things you still need to get done. But if you use these tips, not only will you get the important stuff done, you’ll keep your sanity while doing it!

            Is this you?

            Change your thought pattern-stop thinking negatively

            When you feel overwhelmed, the first thing you do is start thinking negatively or begin to resent why it’s your responsibility in the first place! The first thing you have to do is to stop! Stop thinking negatively immediately. Instead, focus on the positive. If you’re stuck in traffic, think of how great it is to have some time to yourself. If you’re rushing trying to get things done by a deadline, think how lucky you are to have a purpose and to be working towards it. If you’re stressing about a final exam, think of how fortunate you are to be given the opportunity of higher education. After you’ve changed your thought patterns, you must then say to yourself “I can do this.” Keep saying it until you believe it and you’re more than halfway to ending feeling overwhelmed.

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            Take a deep breath/change your body posture

            When you’re stressed certain things happen to your body. You start to breath shallowly, you hunch over, you immediately tense up and all that tension drives your feelings of stress even more. Relax! Straighten your posture and take at least ten deep, cleansing, breaths. Force yourself to smile and do something to change your state. It could be as simple as giving yourself a hug or as silly as clapping your hands three times, throwing them up in the air and shouting “I GOT THIS!” Think to yourself, how would I sit/stand if I had perfect confidence and control of the situation?

            Focus on right now

            Now that you are in a better state of mind and are no longer thinking negatively, you need to focus on the here and now. Ask yourself this question: What is the most important thing I have control of and can act on right now? Keep asking yourself this until you have a concrete next step.

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            Take Action

            Now that you know what’s most important and what to do about it, do it! Start with the first step and focus on getting that done. Don’t worry about anything else right now, just on what your first step is and how to get it done. Once that’s done with, determine the next most important step and get that done.

            Let go of what you can’t control (the gambler’s theory)

            Seasoned gamblers understand the importance of due diligence and knowing when to let go. The Gambler’s Theory is that once your bet is placed there is nothing you can do, so you might as well relax and enjoy the process. The time to worry is when you’re figuring out the best odds and making the decision of what to bet when you can actually take action. I used this one a lot in college. After an exam, there is absolutely no point in stressing about it. There’s nothing you can do. And the same goes for feeling overwhelmed. If you can do something about your situation, do it, focus and take action. But if you’ve done what you could and now are just waiting, or if you’re worried about something you have no control over, realize that there’s no point. You might as well relax and enjoy the moment.

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            yoga-422196_1280
              Relax and enjoy the moment

              Stop feeling guilty

              Finally, stop comparing yourself to others. If you are at your wits end trying to keep up with what you think you should be doing, you aren’t being fair to yourself. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t strive for improvement, just don’t go overboard because you feel like you have to. Only you know what’s really important to you, and your personal success journey so focus on what your top priorities are, not someone else’s.

              Everyone feels overwhelmed sometimes. The important thing is to realize it’s normal and that you can do something about it by taking focused and deliberate action. Happy Holidays!

              Featured photo credit: Stress Therapy via flickr.com

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