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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 March 25, 2020

          How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

          How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

          Habits are hard to kill, and rightly so. They are a part and parcel of your personality traits and mold your character.

          However, habits are not always something over-the-top and quirky enough to get noticed. Think of subtle habits like tapping fingers when you are nervous and humming songs while you drive. These are nothing but ingrained habits that you may not realize easily.

          Just take a few minutes and think of something specific that you do all the time. You will notice how it has become a habit for you without any explicit realization. Everything you do on a daily basis starting with your morning routine, lunch preferences to exercise routines are all habits.

          Habits mostly form from life experiences and certain observed behaviors, not all of them are healthy. Habitual smoking can be dangerous to your health. Similarly, a habit could also make you lose out on enjoying something to its best – like how some people just cannot stop swaying their bodies when delivering a speech.

          Thus, there could be a few habits that you would want to change about yourself. But changing habits is not as easy as it seems.

          In this article, you will learn why it isn’t easy to build new habits, and how to change habits.

          What Makes It Hard To Change A Habit?

          To want to change a particular habit means to change something very fundamental about your behavior.[1] Hence, it’s necessary to understand how habits actually form and why they are so difficult to actually get out of.

          The Biology

          Habits form in a place what we call the subconscious mind in our brain.[2]

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          Our brains have two modes of operation. The first one is an automatic pilot kind of system that is fast and works on reflexes often. It is what we call the subconscious part. This is the part that is associated with everything that comes naturally to you.

          The second mode is the conscious mode where every action and decision is well thought out and follows a controlled way of thinking.

          A fine example to distinguish both would be to consider yourself learning to drive or play an instrument. For the first time you try learning, you think before every movement you make. But once you have got the hang of it, you might drive without applying much thought into it.

          Both systems work together in our brains at all times. When a habit is formed, it moves from the conscious part to the subconscious making it difficult to control.

          So, the key idea in deconstructing a habit is to go from the subconscious to the conscious.

          Another thing you have to understand about habits is that they can be conscious or hidden.

          Conscious habits are those that require active input from your side. For instance, if you stop setting your alarm in the morning, you will stop waking up at the same time.

          Hidden habits, on the other hand, are habits that we do without realizing. These make up the majority of our habits and we wouldn’t even know them until someone pointed them out. So the first difficulty in breaking these habits is to actually identify them. As they are internalized, they need a lot of attention to detail for self-identification. That’s not all.

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          Habits can be physical, social, and mental, energy-based and even be particular to productivity. Understanding them is necessary to know why they are difficult to break and what can be done about them.

          The Psychology

          Habits get engraved into our memories depending on the way we think, feel and act over a particular period of time. The procedural part of memory deals with habit formation and studies have observed that various types of conditioning of behavior could affect your habit formations.

          Classical conditioning or pavlovian conditioning is when you start associating a memory with reality.[3] A dog that associates ringing bell to food will start salivating. The same external stimuli such as the sound of church bells can make a person want to pray.

          Operant conditioning is when experience and the feelings associated with it form a habit.[4] By encouraging or discouraging an act, individuals could either make it a habit or stop doing it.

          Observational learning is another way habits could take form. A child may start walking the same way their parent does.

          What Can You Do To Change a Habit?

          Sure, habits are hard to control but it is not impossible. With a few tips and hard-driven dedication, you can surely get over your nasty habits.

          Here are some ways that make use of psychological findings to help you:

          1. Identify Your Habits

          As mentioned earlier, habits can be quite subtle and hidden from your view. You have to bring your subconscious habits to an aware state of mind. You could do it by self-observation or by asking your friends or family to point out the habit for your sake.

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          2. Find out the Impact of Your Habit

          Every habit produces an effect – either physical or mental. Find out what exactly it is doing to you. Does it help you relieve stress or does it give you some pain relief?

          It could be anything simple. Sometimes biting your nails could be calming your nerves. Understanding the effect of a habit is necessary to control it.

          3. Apply Logic

          You don’t need to be force-fed with wisdom and advice to know what an unhealthy habit could do to you.

          Late-night binge-watching just before an important presentation is not going to help you. Take a moment and apply your own wisdom and logic to control your seemingly nastily habits.

          4. Choose an Alternative

          As I said, every habit induces some feeling. So, it could be quite difficult to get over it unless you find something else that can replace it. It can be a simple non-harming new habit that you can cultivate to get over a bad habit.

          Say you have the habit of banging your head hard when you are angry. That’s going to be bad for you. Instead, the next time you are angry, just take a deep breath and count to 10. Or maybe start imagining yourself on a luxury yacht. Just think of something that will work for you.

          5. Remove Triggers

          Get rid of items and situations that can trigger your bad habit.

          Stay away from smoke breaks if you are trying to quit it. Remove all those candy bars from the fridge if you want to control your sweet cravings.

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          6. Visualize Change

          Our brains can be trained to forget a habit if we start visualizing the change. Serious visualization is retained and helps as a motivator in breaking the habit loop.

          For instance, to replace your habit of waking up late, visualize yourself waking up early and enjoying the early morning jog every day. By continuing this, you would naturally feel better to wake up early and do your new hobby.

          7. Avoid Negative Talks and Thinking

          Just as how our brain is trained to accept a change in habit, continuous negative talk and thinking could hamper your efforts put into breaking a habit.

          Believe you can get out of it and assert yourself the same.

          Final Thoughts

          Changing habits isn’t easy, so do not expect an overnight change!

          Habits took a long time to form. It could take a while to completely break out of it. You will have to accept that sometimes you may falter in your efforts. Don’t let negativity seep in when it seems hard. Keep going at it slowly and steadily.

          More About Changing Habits

          Featured photo credit: Mel via unsplash.com

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