9 Fascinating Facts about Fashion Psychology

Fashion Psychology

What you wear has a direct impact on how you perceive yourself, how others perceive you, and how you relate to the world. Clothes are an indicator of our personality, our emotions, our behaviors. How you choose to dress can impact your career, your self-image, your mental state, your mood, and even your chances of success. This idea of “enclothed cognition” in fashion psychology tells us that clothes can actually alter the wearer’s thought patterns. So how can we use this to our advantage when getting dressed in the morning to increase confidence and get to the next level in life?

Let’s take a look at some of my favorite 9 fashion psychology facts to help you figure out how your wardrobe could be impacting your life and how you can use fashion and color theory to your advantage.

1. Suit up to brain up.

fashion psychology hacks

One interesting fashion psychology study found that dressing in formal clothing like a suit enhances one’s ability to think abstractly. While wearing your best tailored clothing, you’re more likely to think “big picture,” which leads to enhanced creativity and vision. If you’re looking to create a vision board for the future of your company or department, a power suit will help you get the job done.  

Tailored clothing may also boost your ability to conduct business with others.

One study showed that those participants who wore suits received better deals in a simulated negotiation. In fact… they received $2 million, while the casually dressed participants lost $1.2 million.

Another study found that participants felt more competent, authoritative, trustworthy, and productive when wearing formal or business casual. That means that putting on tailored clothing like a suit or form-fitting outfit can get you in the right mindset to conduct business like the incredible boss lady you are. Talk about dress for success!

2. Wear casual clothes for social situations.

While that last study we mentioned demonstrated that formal business clothes increased business competence, it also showed that formal clothes decreased the participants’ friendliness and sociability. If you’re looking to make connections with others, you’ll feel more relaxed and comfortable in casual clothing; in turn, others will perceive you as more relaxed and approachable as well. So, while a suit might be the move for a big board meeting, casual Fridays are the perfect time to get to know your colleagues a little better. Casual wear may also increase imagination, originality, and inspiration, so it’s a great time to get together with colleagues and brainstorm creative ideas!

fashion psychology about clothes

Psst… these findings hold true whether you’re back in the office or working from home. For a Zoom call where you want high productivity or you’re negotiating a job salary, throw on a suit to feel your most powerful and confident. For a relaxed Zoom happy hour, feel free to dress down and get comfy with your friends.

3. Wear your sexiest underwear for a bump in confidence. 

No one can see it. No one knows what kind of underwear you’re wearing. But you know, and even “hidden” clothes like undergarments can have a major impact on our confidence and self-image. Studies show that wearing sexy underwear or lingerie can make you feel more powerful and confident. When you exude confidence, you radiate power, happiness, optimism, excitement, and a willingness and readiness to take on whatever comes your way. 

If I ever want to step into my divine feminine a little more, I throw on my favorite pair of sexy underwear—just for myself! It helps me instantly tap into that powerful, gorgeous side of myself, and I feel like I can conquer the world. Try it out this week and see how you feel! No one will know but you.

fashion psychology tricks

4. Wearing a watch will help you show up on-time.

Was your New Year’s resolution to be on-time more often? It may be easier than you think – just put on a watch! Studies show that people who wear watches are more like to arrive early to an event and be conscientious with how they spend their time.

Even better, wearing a watch can have an impact on other areas of your life too! According to an article in Forbes, wearing a watch can:

  • Increase productivity by minimizing distractions (every time you look at your phone to check the time, you get distractions from notifications and social media; a watch means no distractions so you can focus on the task at hand while checking the time)
  • Increase professionalism (checking your phone all the time, even if just to check the time, looks unprofessional to others)
  • Increases perception of organization and responsibility
  • Demonstrates sophistication and competence

Find your favorite watch to become your new go-to accessory, and maybe you’ll start seeing a boost in productivity and perception! 

Fashion psychology of colors and patterns

Even the colors you wear have a direct impact on how you feel, how you act, and how others perceive you. Which colors should you wear for different occasions and emotions?

5. Wear blue to seem more approachable.

wear blue fashion psychology

Blue is the world’s favorite color. Studies show that blue is the preferred color for much of the worldwide population, regardless of gender, likely because it is associated with beautiful things like clean water and good weather. Because blue is such a beloved color, it’s also seen as non-threatening and more approachable. It implies calmness and serenity, like tranquil lakes or bright blue skies. In fact, blue is so peaceful that it has even been shown to have physical effects like lowering pulse and body temperature!

So, if you want to seem more approachable, calm, stable, and friendly, try out a blue shirt or dress. Or if you’re feeling a little stressed, wearing blue can help keep you relaxed and chill. A good example is blue jeans; casual blue jeans make you seem more approachable and friendly, and you probably feel most comfortable in your favorite pair of jeans too.

6. Choose red for strength, confidence, and attraction.

red clothes fashion psychology

Red is a power color. It’s considered the most emotional color, associated with some of the strongest emotions like passion, love, power, and anger. That’s why red makes such a fashion statement, from a bold red lip to a pop with red heels.

Wearing red can boost your confidence. Studies have shown that athletes who wear red shirts win more often, likely due to a subconscious boost in confidence. Another study found that participants in red shirts had greater self-perceived importance and appeal. That means if you’re looking to boost your confidence, throw some red into your outfit, whether it’s a full-body red jumpsuit or just a statement scarf or sunglasses.

A boost in confidence also translates into others perceiving you as more powerful and authoritative. Consider the “red carpet” for celebrities, which indicates importance. Think about it: if someone is wearing an entirely red outfit, you’ll likely think that they have the power and self-assurance to wear something so “bold.” Someone timid and scared won’t wear red and attract attention to themselves, right? So, be that confident, sexy, daring woman who’s not afraid to wear red!

Moreover, red is the color of love for a good reason. Wearing red actually makes you more attractive to the opposite sex, likely because it signals confidence and power. It’s called the “red dress effect,” but even a red t-shirt or red purse seems to inflate sexual appeal too.

Use red responsibly! A few red pieces in your closet can be the biggest assets for power, confidence, and boldness.

7. Black will make you more professional.

fashion psychology of wearing black

Black is perceived as “serious” and “reliable,” according to one color fashion psychology study. It demonstrates a level of trustworthiness, authority, power, and leadership. Think about it – judges wear black robes, layers almost always wear black suits, Steve Jobs had the black turtlenecks… If you want to advance your career or boost your inward and outward confidence, black clothes are an easy and effective option. Maybe that’s one reason the little black dress has so much power to make women feel confident, beautiful, and sexy! 

8. Bright colors boost your mood.

bright colors fashion psychology

If you’re into 1980s and 1990s fashion, you’re probably all about the bright colors already… and, chances are, your clothes are probably making you happier! Studies show that people associate bright colors with positive emotions and darker colors with negative ones (like yellow indicating optimism and blue indicating sadness). For example, a 2015 study found that participants picked bright, warm, saturated colors on the red-yellow spectrum to pair with joyful expressions and cyan-blue hues for fearful expressions. Even the word “bright” has positive and optimistic associations. A bright person is happy and joyful, so “bright” clothes can have the same effect.

Looking to cheer up on a bad day or add a little happiness to your life? Add a little color to your wardrobe! It’s impossible to be sad when wearing neon.

9. Wear clothes that make you feel good… to feel good!

But, there’s a caveat to what we just said. If you hate the color yellow, wearing yellow isn’t going to brighten your mood. Wearing bright colors is a great place to start, but it’s not the only way to wear clothes that make you feel good. Wear clothes and colors that make you feel confident. Buy clothes that make you excited to go home and put them on. Don’t choose clothes just because they’re fashionable or you “should” like them; choose clothes that speak to your soul and your unique sense of style. If you love every item in your wardrobe, you’ll always be dressed for success.

Carmen Lopez, President & CEO www.currentboutique.com


Hello Fashion Lovers! I've been in the fashion industry for over 15 years. I started Current Boutique with the desire to recycle amazing pre-loved designer gems for others to enjoy! I value quality, unique craftsmanship, sustainability & saving money. I am a fashion lover who is energized by the challenges and rewards of being an entrepreneur. I'm here to share tips on fashion, style, bargain shopping and business. I hope you enjoy!
XOXO, Carmen