We all know what we do when we look in the mirror. We see that little “pooch”, we see our flabby arms, and then we find the biggest item of clothing to cover them all with. But what if this habit was upside down? And by looking for our imperfections and trying to hide them we were subconsciously “shaming” ourselves, and confirming the belief that we are not worthy.
There is a LOT of research on how clothing affects how we think. For example, in the book “Mind What You Wear”, Professor Pine demonstrates how a person’s perceptions and mentality can be primed by their clothing, that they internalise the symbolic meaning of what they wear.Other effects of what you wear include:
Wearing a Superman T-Shirt made the people in a study feel likeable, superior, and that they could lift more than those in the same T-Short (without the logo).
A person’s mental agility is improved by wearing a Lab Coat.
Clothing will reinforce mood states, narrowing a person’s choices by up to 90% . What someone wears when they’re low or depressed (in this study, women wearing jeans) will be most likely all that they wear, and by altering this we can alter their perception.
Wearing formal business attire can make the person feel more authoritative, trustworthy, and competent.
Wearing casual attire makes you feel more friendly (and perceive someone else as more friendly too!).
“Powerful” body positions (such as “puffy chest posture”) can make people act more confident and even raises testosterone levels (imagine the training consequences of that!!).
Clothing choices reduce wind resistance in speed sports.
Proper grooming and healthy personal habits can help you resist illness.
Proper grooming and healthy personal habits can also help you feel good about yourself, and the opposite is also true. If your client appears dishevelled, it is a symptom of their mental health.
Wearing red can make you work harder, lift more, behave aggressively, and make you more likely to win.
Different colours can result in feeling more powerful, gaining more penalties, and performing creatively.
What colour you wear can alter other people’s perception of you, for example black signifies leadership, blue means you’re a team player, white is organised, and brown is dependable.
Wearing fake sunglasses can make you more likely to behave dishonestly, feel less authentic, and judge others as unethical.
Wearing gym clothes makes you more likely to exercise.
Wearing certain clothes can make you feel good even when you’re depressed!
Keep in mind that is is what the clothing represents, it’s symbolic meaning, that has the most impact. For example, in the above studies with Lab Coats, they did not get the same results when
the participants were told it was an artist’s smock. The same goes for the women wearing jeans when they’re depressed, almost any other article could change their mindset, depending on what
that article represents. In this way, wearing you gym clothes will make you more likely to go and workout!
It follows that we, as personal trainers, can guide our clients in what they wear to promote mental health and wellbeing in a similar way to how we guide them to good nutrition choices without
being nutritionists. And at IntoYou, we do this with our Styling and Self Esteem Sessions.
Our Styling and Self Esteem is all about uncovering the real YOU, right here, right now, in the shape you’re in. Achieving “X” and feeling “Y” is a common misconception (for example, “when i am 60kg, then i’ll be happy”) and it simply Does. Not. Work. You will still be as unhappy when you achieve X if you don’t work on the Y first. Ironically, working on your Y makes you MORE likely to achieve X… i hope this makes sense!
So back to styling. It is NOT an extravagance. It is an investment in your mental health and a positive state of mind. It is something that you will work at, the same way as you work at your fitness, your strength, your mothering, your marriage, and other aspects of your life! Unlock the secrets with a one on one session with Charlie here.
And that is what styling has to do with self esteem!