Dress Well, Test Well: Empower Yourself With Your Wardrobe

According to the “dress well, test well” mantra, dressing up on exam day will help you perform better on your test. It might sound like wishful thinking, but recent studies show that there might be some truth to the idea. Here are a few reasons why dressing well might give you an advantage.

Clothing May Affect Confidence

While confidence alone isn’t enough to get you a good grade, you definitely won’t perform as well if you’re too nervous to think straight. You probably already know this from personal experience, but let’s take a look at the scientific study that backs this idea up.

While conducting a study on clothing and confidence, professor Karen Pine found that students wearing “Superman” shirts gave themselves a higher rating for likeability and physical strength compared to students wearing regular clothes. Pine also had women take a math test while wearing either a swimsuit or a sweater. The women wearing swimsuits performed worse than the other group.

These results suggest that what you wear is connected with confidence and test scores. While neither study proves that your outfit will get you a better test result, the outcome is certainly compelling.

Color Influences Mood

It’s not news that color can affect your mood. Businesses have used this knowledge to their advantage for years. Fast food restaurants use bright red and yellow decor to stimulate appetite, and hospitals are more likely to have soft blue or green walls to create a calm atmosphere. The question is: How can you use color psychology to your advantage?

Try using color to improve your energy. If you pulled an all-nighter, you may find that wearing orange helps to perk you up. If you’re feeling nervous, shades of blue may calm you down. Of course, not everyone reacts to colors the same way. For one person, red may feel energizing. For another, it could induce feelings of agitation or anger. The key is to wear colors that work for you.

Your Wardrobe Can Affect Cognition

There’s a relatively new term — enclothed cognition — which states that what we wear influences how we think. Maybe you’ve noticed that when you wear gym clothes, you’re more likely to work out because it puts you into the right frame of mind. Current research looks at other types of clothing to see if there’s a similar effect.

Professor Adam D. Galinsky conducted an experiment to see if lab coats influence attention span. He found that the participants who wore a white doctor’s coat showed better attention than participants wearing regular clothes or white painter’s coats. According to Galinksy, it’s the symbolism of clothing that really matters. Doctors are careful and serious, so when people put on a doctor’s coat, they try to fit that role.

Does this mean that dressing well can help you concentrate better during your exams? Maybe. So far, it looks like the clothes you wear affect your mood, confidence, and the way that you think. The next time you take a test, wear something comfortable and flattering and see if it makes a difference.

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