Are you someone who plans out their outfit the night before, or more of a last-minute dresser? Whatever your getting-ready ritual, you might revaluate which outfit you select when you discover more about how it could completely change your day.  According to scientific studies, how we dress can transform our moods and behaviour. Indeed, from confidence to happiness, clothes can influence a person’s psychological state. With this in mind, we’ve put together 4 IDEAL tips on how to create a wardrobe that makes you feel incredible, backed up with plausible scientific research of course. 


One of the most prominent scientific studies into the psychology of fashion is called ‘enclothed cognition’. Essentially, the outcome of the study highlighted how an item of clothing’s ‘symbolic’ meaning, as well as actually wearing it, worked together to affect behaviour. For example, one of the participants in the study pulled on a white lab coat and began adopting traits we’d associate with a doctor, including a rise in attention and carefulness. Could this result be reassigned to other items of clothing, such as sportswear? 

Research by Professor Karen Pine also appears to back up the ‘enclothed clothing’ study. After asking multiple students to wear Superman t-shirts, she found that participants claimed to feel strong and confident while wearing the clothing. So, if you’re looking to get fit; joggers, leggings, tees, and a vest might all help you subconsciously channel a professional athlete, subsequently putting you in the mood for fitness. 


 Psychologists at California State University discovered that people who dressed formally to complete a task were more logical and objective. Also, in her book, ‘The Color of Success’, Mary Ellen Lapp commented: “Different clothing colours exude different feelings and meanings, and colours can affect — and reflect — your mood.” If this is true, you could wear differently coloured outfits to mentally prepare yourself for the day ahead. So if you’re heading to a big meeting channel a business-ready persona by switching your everyday work outfit for a stylish tailored blaze or more formal attire And since black, then, is the colour of strength and formality, incorporate plenty of it into your work outfit.


Researchers at the University of Queensland in Australia conducted a study that looked at how we attach emotions to certain outfits, and how our clothing choices affect our moods. Lead researcher, Dr. Alastair Tombs, said about the people he interviewed as part of the experiment: “Quite a few people talked about using clothes to change their mood. If they get up and aren’t feeling great, they would put on something that would brighten them up.” They also found that we can potentially evoke happiness within ourselves simply by wearing an item that reminds us of a nice moment or that we were complimented on previously.

To boost spirits on a down-day, try looking through your wardrobe to dig out those key pieces of clothing that you remember having a great day when you wore them. Or even go shopping for new, similar pieces — whether they’re an identical colour, similar style or the same pattern — to help channel positivity through your clothes. Chances are, if you got a compliment the first time, you’ll get one again.


Since how we perceive an item of clothing is crucial to how we feel when we wear it, an outfit may help us get creative if it looks creative itself. So ignore standard items of clothing — like the iconic little black dress or cherished skinny jeans — and opt for something quirkier. Choose tops in a colour you wouldn’t usually go for or get a pair of statement culottes featuring vibrant checks or bold paisley prints. Clothes featuring stand-out frills, asymmetric designs and embellishments could also help.  Orange is the colour of energy, while red is the shade of excitement — could you use splashes of these when building your creative look to boost innovation?


Rachel is the beauty and fashion director at IDEAL. She loves trying new products and is an avid fan of London's fashion, from the high end to the high street.