Social Style Guide: How clothes can change your life

How did you first come into your relationship with clothes?

Were you taught that clothes are solely functional items or were you taught that they should make a statement? Did you grow up thinking that clothes are of no importance or did you grow up believing that they are of utmost importance?

“Your clothes say a lot about you”

In addition to this, our style is also influenced by our surroundings, our emotions and various other parts of our being. How you see yourself, where you see yourself, your confidence level, so many things can affect how we dress. We know the importance of clothes in making.a first impression, because we have all made assumptions about people just from their outfits. 

Clothes make a statement, and we can control this statement. We can control what people think about us and even how we see ourselves. You know this too, because when you put on a bangin’ outfit, you feel …different. How can we get this feeling daily? How can we elevate our wardrobe, not just with clothes but with the personality we want to portray, the confidence we need and the dreams for our future? Let’s talk social style

I’ve been following this stylist, Lauren Messiah, on the ‘gram for a while and if you need some motivation, I would suggest you start with following her. 

Social style (within the context of this blog post) is much more than just the clothes in your wardrobe, it’s how you feel about the clothes in your possession, what your signature style is, and how other people can relate to the pieces you’re wearing. 


Episode 44: Your Confidence Compass with Melanie Spring

What is enclothed cognition?

This Forbes article  talks about a study done by researchers at Northwestern University that mentioned a concept called “enclothed cognition”.

Researchers define it in their report as “the systematic influence that clothes have on the wearer’s psychological processes,” meaning what your clothes are saying to you, not about you. And how they make you feel. The researchers distributed standard white lab coats to participants, telling some that it was a doctor’s coat and some that it was a painter’s smock. All participants performed the same task, but those wearing the “doctor’s coat” were more careful and attentive. Their actions were influenced by their clothing.

Clothing can change people’s perception of you and it can also change how you view yourself. When you look good, you feel good, you’re glowing, you’re more interested in your work and you’re generally a better co-worker, friend, brother, sister, parent, lover. Our clothes affects us in so many ways and we don’t even realize it. 

Since our sense of sight is our most developed sense, we often rely on visual information in forming social perceptions. When using visual information to form a social perception, there is a significant amount of  information available on which to base perceptions.

from”The Social Psychology of Dress”, via Instagram

How you dress will influence how people perceive you and how they interact with you. The most captivating person in the room, is generally a well-dressed person (if not the best dressed person in the room). This has nothing to do with wearing the biggest names in fashion, but how you wear your clothes and how you feel in these clothes.  Choosing outfits that make you feel good about yourself will give off a good visual impression and will generally lead to smoother interactions. I’ve always found it easier to talk to people when I am well-dressed, how ‘bout you?

Enclothed cognition gives scientific proof to the idea that you should dress not how you feel, but how you want to feel. Which clothes make you feel powerful? Sexy? In control? Wealthy? The clothes you choose are sending a message to those around you, but also to you, yourself. (Source)


Episode 43: The Power of Storytelling with Lynne Golodner

Let your clothes do the talking

What kind of message do you want your clothes to send to the people around you, but also to yourself?  How do we achieve a wardrobe that is authentic to who we want to be?

Personal style changes, but the key is to ensure that even as your clothing options change the baseline remains the same: that it is true to you. As we evolve our wardrobes also need to evolve but they need to be portraying the truest image of us at that time – how we see ourselves: who and what we aspire to be. 

  1. Think of some words that you would use to define yourself (or that you would want to define you, if you don’t think you’re quite there yet). For example: I would say brave, even thought I don’t consider myself quite brave yet.
  2. Write these adjectives down
  3. Think about how you could wear these words. Which outfits would make you feel brave, or powerful or successful? How can you showcase your creativity and love of colour?
  4. Take it to Google! …or whichever search engine you use because you’re going to need some style inspiration. Flip through some fashion magazines too if you can and start trying to put together a virtual vision board for your style. 
  5. What pieces do you like, how would you want to wear them, how would you put your spin on them?
  6. Make a short-list of some items to either add or remove (or both) from your wardrobe.
  7. What is your signature piece? It might be statement jewelry, it might be pops of colour, it might be prints, or it might be a combination of things. Think about it. 

These aren’t steps per se. They are simply a few avenues we can take to arrive on Fashion Drive! Wow, that is way more corny than I even imagined lol. 


Episode 40: What will you title this chapter of your life?

Your wardrobe should represent who you’re becoming

Before you go on that big shopping spree, take inventory. What’s currently in your closet. Try things on and see how they feel. Do you still like them? How do they make you feel? Do they still fit well? If your face doesn’t light up when you try something on, it’s safe to say that the piece has expired. It is no longer serving you, and you should let it go. 

When you’re shopping, I would suggest that you try on every piece before you buy it. 99.95% of the time how it looks on the mannequin is not how it will look on you, so you want to be sure before you leave the store. Before checking out, ask them their return policy and if it’s not a piece you absolutely love (and if they don’t have a good return policy) then leave the store, go home and see how you feel about it. Lauren (remember the stylist I follow on IG?) recommends 72 hours. Give yourself 3 days and then see how you feel. 

For some more inspo, check these out articles:

Make your wardrobe grow up with you
How cleaning out my closet changed my life

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