Think about your favorite article of clothing. How does it make you feel?
- Does your favorite pair of jeans give you a surge of confidence?
- Or when you slip on a tailored suit, do you immediately perceive the world with a sharper, more focused lens?
- Or perhaps your comfiest t-shirt is like a hug, instantly putting you at ease?
This phenomenon is known as enclothed cognition, and psychologists have studied it extensively over the years.
As an apparel brand, understanding the psychological impact of clothing can be a powerful tool in designing and marketing your collections. After all, purchasing new clothes is an emotional experience.
We’re about to examine the intersection of fashion and psychology and show you how you can leverage this knowledge to produce clothing that does more than just look good.
Manufacture Your Next Clothing Line with Scrappy Apparel!
The Science Behind Enclothed Cognition
In a study featured in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, researchers Hajo Adam and Adam D. Galinsky introduce the term “enclothed cognition.” They define it as the systematic influence of our clothes on our psychological processes. Their research asserts that the impact of clothing on the wearer comes from two independent factors—the symbolic meaning of the clothes and the physical experience of wearing them.
They explored the effects of wearing a lab coat, an item typically associated with attentiveness and carefulness. They discovered that physically wearing a lab coat increased selective attention compared to not wearing one. The attention boost was even more significant when the coat was described as a doctor’s coat than when it was described as a painter’s coat.
The study suggests that enclothed cognition depends on the symbolic meaning and the physical experience of wearing the clothes, reinforcing the idea that what we wear affects how we think and behave. Understanding this phenomenon as an apparel brand can help you provide a better experience to your customers. (We’ll talk more about that in a bit!)
What Others Are Saying
Now that we’ve defined the science-backed concept of enclothed cognition, let’s look at a few other notable conversations around the topic.
“Social Signaling, Conformity, & Enclothed Cognition” by Apparel Success
In this insightful video, Rob Prsa, the man behind Kay Bahd Apparel and host of Apparel Success, takes us on a journey through the world of behavioral economics and psychology. He breaks down some pretty complex stuff—social signaling, conformity, and enclothed cognition—making it easy for us to understand why people pick certain clothes and what influences their buying decisions.
Prsa explains that social signaling is all about expressing our personal and cultural identities through what we wear. Conformity, on the other hand, is our tendency to fit in with societal norms. Then, there’s enclothed cognition—the concept we just discussed. It shows how our choice of clothes shapes how others see us, how we see ourselves, and our confidence levels.
Drawing from his own experiences with his clothing brand, Prsa highlights the need for clothing designs to resonate with the customer’s desire for self-expression, conformity, and a boost in self-confidence. It’s all about understanding the customer and aligning the design with their needs and aspirations.
“How Fashion Affects Your Brain” by ELLE
Ever wonder if certain clothes could make you perform better? Hanna Rosin, Alix Spiegel, and Lulu Miller of Invisibilia From NPR have some intriguing insights on that. They were inspired by the same Adam and Galinsky study we discussed earlier. In the video, they talk about how something as simple as a doctor’s white coat could boost your attention and performance on tasks.
Rosin, Spiegel, and Miller carried out their own experiment. They also found that folks wearing a doctor’s coat made significantly fewer errors on an attention test.
And it’s not just about the fabric—it’s also about the symbolic association. The beliefs we attach to specific clothing can temporarily affect us while we’re wearing it.
“Are You Wearing Your Future?” A Ted Talk by Manou Messmann
In her Ted Talk, branding and consumer behavior expert Manou Messmann explains how big of a role clothes play in our day-to-day. They’re like a visual language we use to communicate with the world.
Our brains process visuals faster than text, which means we can quickly sort through tons of visual info and make sense of the world around us. According to Messmann, our clothes are an extension of our body language. They affect how we see ourselves and how others perceive us.
Messmann wraps up the talk with a powerful message:
Don’t dress for your past wins. Instead, dress for the future goals and the identity you’re aiming for. Pretty inspiring, right?
What This Means For Apparel Brands
At this point, you’re probably wondering how this enclothed cognition knowledge can benefit your apparel brand. Let’s explore some insightful tips to leverage this fascinating phenomenon in your clothing line.
Harness the Influence of Social Signaling and Conformity
Consider the societal and cultural messages your clothing sends. By understanding how your customers use clothing as social signaling, you can tailor your designs and marketing to resonate with their desired affiliations and identities. Acknowledging the balance between individuality and conformity can guide you in creating collections that allow self-expression while fitting within the broader social norms.
Create a Connection Between Clothing and Desired Self
Your clothing collections can serve as an extension of your customer’s desired identity. Designing pieces that align with their aspirations, whether professional, personal, or creative, can foster a deeper connection with your brand. Marketing campaigns that focus on this connection can help potential customers visualize the transformation they could experience by wearing your products.
Emphasize the Symbolic Meaning of the Clothing
The symbolic value attached to clothing can be a powerful marketing tool. Highlight the feelings, attitudes, and traits associated with wearing your brand. Customers who associate your clothing with positive attributes such as confidence, creativity, or success are more likely to purchase from you.
Develop Comfortable Yet Stylish Designs
Comfort can directly impact a person’s mood and confidence. Prioritizing comfort demonstrates your commitment to the customer’s well-being, making your brand more appealing. Despite this, it’s crucial not to compromise on style. Striking the right balance between comfort and fashion will set your brand apart. (When you partner with Scrappy Apparel, you don’t have to compromise on either!)
Encourage Customer Feedback
To better understand the evolving tastes, preferences, and needs of your customers, encourage them to share their feedback. This not only helps improve your products and services, but also makes your customers feel valued.
Leverage the Power of Storytelling
Tell a story through your designs, collections, and marketing campaigns. People are naturally drawn to stories, so this is a powerful tool for communicating your brand values, showcasing your designs, and engaging your customers on a deeper level.
Adapt with the Times
The fashion industry is ever-changing, and so are consumers’ preferences. Staying on top of the latest trends, technological advancements, and societal changes can help you adapt your collections and keep your brand relevant in today’s dynamic market.
Designed for Speed, Engineered for Reliability: Meet Scrappy Apparel’s Winning Solution
At Scrappy Apparel, we’ve spent the last 17 years perfecting our apparel design, production, and fulfillment processes to bring our partners’ clothing concepts to market at lightning speed.
We have an expert understanding of the challenges apparel brands face when working with manufacturing and fulfillment partners. We’ve tailored our services to provide a seamless experience from the moment a customer orders to when their apparel is delivered.
Here’s what makes us different:
We Specialize in High-Volume Apparel Production
Scrappy Apparel is not your typical apparel partner. Our name has become synonymous with high-volume, high-quality apparel manufacturing.
Our large-scale manufacturing solutions are designed to help brands scale up quickly while maintaining the superior product quality they’re known for. We can turn around thousands of garments in a matter of weeks.
We Work with Customers in Various Industries
From influential YouTube personalities to corporate clients, event management companies, and universities, we’ve partnered with a diverse range of industries to deliver custom apparel.
Streamlined Product Development for Seamless Execution
We curated our product development process to ensure a smooth journey from the initial concept to the final product. We develop comprehensive spec sheets, tech packs, manufacturing patterns, DXF files, and 3D renderings to facilitate clear communication before the manufacturing process begins.
Our all-inclusive pricing, quality control checks, and comprehensive fulfillment services ensure that brands provide their customers with a seamless, luxurious experience at each step of their journey.
We Offer End-to-End Manufacturing and Fulfillment Services
Our all-in-one solution includes production, warehousing, fulfillment, and shipping. This means you can trust us to handle every aspect of your apparel production process while maintaining complete transparency.
Ready to Bring Your Clothing Concepts to Life with Scrappy Apparel?
If you’re looking to scale your apparel brand without sacrificing quality, Scrappy Apparel is your go-to partner.