As college students around the country begin their transition to online classes and practice social distancing as a result of COVID-19, it can be tempting to fall into a routine of wearing sweats and t-shirts every day. While there’s nothing wrong with lounging around in a sweatsuit, studies show that there is actually some truth behind the age-old saying “dress for success.”
What you wear affects not only how you are perceived by others, but also how you act. In a 2016 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, participants who dressed more professionally exerted more dominance and were more successful in negotiations than those in casual clothing. Similar findings can be seen in a 2016 study from Social Psychology, where participants who dressed in nurse’s clothing showed more empathy and helpfulness regardless of whether or not they were actually nurses.
This principle does not only apply to the professional world. Students, too, see similar results.
“When I look good, it gives me the extra confidence boost I need to do well on my exams,” says Dareth Douglass, SMU junior.
With the move to online classes, many students have gotten creative with their fashion. Whether you spend a little extra time on your hair and makeup or throw on a trendy hoodie before you log online to class, a little extra effort can go a long way.
“I like to dress snappy casual up top and wear pajama pants or shorts on my bottom half,” said Kennedy Eaker, SMU junior.
So while we’ll all be dressing down as we spend much more time at home, consider the positive psychological effects of dressing up to stay in when you’re getting ready for your next Zoom class.