Does casual dress harm productivity at work?

what to wear to work

According to fashion psychologist Dr. Karen Pine, a professor of psychology at the University of Hertfordshire, dressing casually can make a person feel less focused and alert. A study of work attire by Hajo Adam and Adam Galinksky found that subjects wearing physician’s lab coats were better at tasks that required attention. Interestingly, when the subjects were told that the coat was a “painter’s lab coat,” their attentiveness and carefulness were not as high as when subjects were told that they were wearing a “doctor’s lab coat.”

Adam and Galinksky coined the term, “enclothed cognition,” to describe the influence that clothes have on the wearer’s psychological processes and concluded “The influence of clothes depends on wearing them and their symbolic meaning.”

In an interview with Forbes magazine, psychologist Dr. Jennifer Baumgartner, author of the book “You Are What You Wear,” said, “There’s no absolute scientific study to prove that attire impacts productivity.” She added that if you dress casually for work every day, you might feel stressed because you’re never dressed for “off-duty” time. She suggested changing clothes when you come home from work, even if you just put on a different pair of jeans. “Changing your outfit after work is a concrete representation that you are not in work mode any more.”


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