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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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          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 February 19, 2019

          How to Break Bad Habits: I Broke 3 Bad Habits in Less Than 2 Months

          How to Break Bad Habits: I Broke 3 Bad Habits in Less Than 2 Months

          The cycle of bad habits is what keeps us living small and stops us from reaching our true potential. Breaking a bad habit isn’t as hard as it seems; despite being a CEO of a company and raising two children, I still managed to break 3 bad habits I had within 2 months. Yes, that’s quitting one habit in less than 21 days.

          I took steps to eliminate them one at a time. Habits such as drinking Coke every day, slouching when sitting and not having a consistent exercise routine.

          So how did I break these habits? I used the Control Alternate Delete Method (Ctrl Alt Del).

          What is this method and why is it so effective? Read on to find out how to break bad habits with this unique method.

          How to break bad habits with the Control Alternate Delete Method

            We all notice on some level what our bad habits are. A lot of the time we choose to ignore the negative ways these impact us.

            For me, I was sitting most of the day in front of my computer at work in a slouching position. I drank Coke every single day in an attempt to stay awake. I put off any kind of exercise regime because I felt that it was better to just relax and have fun after a whole day of work. As a result, I was leading a really unhealthy lifestyle suffering from weight gain and back pain.

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            I needed to make a change.

            I started to read books about building habits such as The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg, The One Thing by Gary W. Keller and Jay Papasan, and The Now Habit by Neil Fiore. After reading all these books, I’ve come up with my own method to quit bad habits — The Ctrl Alt Del Method.

            I started by focusing on just one bad habit, the first one being the sheer amount of Coke I was consuming each day.

            Every day I applied the Ctrl Alt Del Method and after two weeks, not only did I stop drinking Coke every day (I only drank one can in 2 weeks), but I started the better habit of drinking 8 glasses of water every day instead.

            After eliminating one bad habit, I moved on to the other two with this same method and a month later I was:

            • Hitting the gym twice a week.
            • Improving my sitting posture, not only at the office but also at home and everywhere else, improving my back pain.
            • Gaining core muscle which improved my back pain as well.
            • Losing fat around my waist which went from 36″ (considered obese level) to 32″ (normal level).

            If I can improve my life using this method, then so can you. Using this structure to eliminate your bad habits will increase your success and replace your bad habits with more positive ones.

            Control: Master your desire

              Identify your triggers

              Bad habits such as drinking alcohol, smoking and snacking too much trigger the release of dopamine, a feel-good chemical in the brain.[1] Although you might not like the end result, they give you a positive outcome in the moment. This is pure psychology.

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              It’s important to identify what is triggering you to continually act out your bad habit. This isn’t always an easy step because our habits have been built up over a long period of time.

              If you need help in identifying your triggers, here’s a list of common bad habits and their triggers: 13 Bad Habits You Need to Quit Right Away

              Self-reflect

              To help you work out your triggers, do a bit of self-reflection. Ask yourself questions such as:

              • What comfort are you getting from this habit?
              • Why do you need comfort?

              For example, I chose to drink coke because it tasted good and it made me feel good when I was stressed. I slouched only when I sat for too long working on my desk and started to feel tired. I skipped exercises because every day after work I felt I already did enough works and didn’t want to work out.

              If you choose to eat fast food every night, you’re probably telling yourself you’re too busy to cook. But ask yourself why? What are your priorities?

              Maybe you have a lack of self-worth that means you don’t have the self-love to want to look after your health. Perhaps it’s a sign you’re not making enough time for important routines like shopping and creating a healthy meal yourself. Maybe you’ve always had a belief that you’re a bad cook.

              Write a diary

              Write down your thoughts and feelings around this bad habit. Writing things down forces the brain to think harder.[2] This helps you to find the source to your stress or limiting negative beliefs.

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              Alternate: Find a replacement

                Find a positive alternative habit

                Once you think you’ve discovered your trigger, try to find a similar but healthy option. This is where I replaced Coke with lemon water; slouching with simply taking a walk and stretching my back every hour; and chilling at home after work with workout exercises that I actually found fun.

                You could decide to walk to the office instead of driving or getting off the bus earlier to walk. You could switch to a healthier breakfast cereal instead of grabbing a sugary snack when you head out of the door.

                By doing this, you aren’t getting rid of the act altogether like you would if you completely gave something up with nothing to fill that void. This helps your brain accept the improved habit more.

                Create a defence plan

                Everyone has moments of weakness and that want to revert back to the bad habit will rear its ugly head. This is where a plan can help counteract these moments.

                Think of things you can do when the temptations come. For example, if you want to check your phone less, ask your friend or partner to keep it for you or switch it off and read a book. If you’re a starter for an exercise routine, like me, get someone to do it with you to keep you accountable.

                Decide on something you will do once you feel triggered to go back to your old habit. Repeating these positive alternative habits consistently will help wire your brain to see them as your normal new habit over time.

                Delete: Remove temptations

                  Remove stuff that reminds you of the bad habit

                  Getting rid of anything that reminds you of your bad habit is essential. For example, I got rid of coke in my office and at home and replaced my usual office chair with an exercise ball. It makes it much easier to stop slipping back in a weak moment.

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                  Avoid all kinds of temptations

                  In the same vein, avoid places or people that you know will tempt you back into that bad habit. Don’t go to the supermarket on an empty stomach to avoid the temptation to buy trashy snacks, don’t drive past that fast food joint but find an alternative route instead, say no more often to the friend you know will get you drunk again this weekend.

                  It’s all about not putting yourself in the situation where you’re in danger of relapsing.

                  Conclusion

                  The Control Alternate Delete Method uses the right steps you need to overcome your need to indulge in your bad habits. Working with your core psychology, emotions and feelings behind your actions is what makes this method effective and easy to apply to all bad habits you have.

                  Bad habits are easy to form and making changes can seem difficult but remember that it’s all about consistency and repetition.

                  Start using the Control Alternate Delete Method today and you can stop a bad habit permanently.

                  What bad habit do you want to put a stop to once and for all? You must set aside time and pick one bad habit to focus on. Start using the steps to increase and maintain more positivity in your life moving forward.

                  More Resources About Changing Habits

                  Featured photo credit: Picjumbo via picjumbo.com

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