Do you ever feel like you absolutely run the world when you are dressed up? When you wear your favourite blazer or best heels, maybe you feel like you become more productive? Hmm – we have probably all felt this way at least a few times in the past. But now there’s research to show that there is actual science backing up this feeling!
Recent research from Notre Dame, the University of Kentucky and Penn State all found that wearing branded clothing can produce a placebo effect of inflated confidence levels1. OK OK! Let’s all stop and reflect this “wow” moment. Done? Great, let’s keep reading!
The study required a bunch of people to play golf – one group was led to believe they had a Nike golf club and the other group were led to believe they had a no-brand club. The group that thought they had a club that sports-stars used seemed to have an improved level of performance – around a 20% increase. That’s massive!
Now, it’s important to realise that this study is only correlational and not causal. What this means is that the researchers only found a relationship between the independent variable (attire/brand) and the dependent variable (confidence/performance). It is in no way saying that the relationship is 100% causal, however it’s definitely something to think about!
I know that when I’m exercising in my branded activewear I feel more ‘on the ball’. I also feel way more productive when I am working or studying if I am dressed nicely. Although I do like the comfort of attending university in tracksuit pants, I definitely feel like I get more done when I’m dressed to impress (#girlboss feels)!
As a psychology student, I believe our consumer society has a big role to play here. We are seeing advertisements daily on what we should be buying and wearing, and consequently, the brands that we see all over TV and social media platforms are the ones we usually feel most confident in! Although this is a materialistic viewpoint, my current stance on the matter is to maximise what you can do with it – use it to your advantage.
Sometimes, when you can financially allow yourself, splurging on items can be a good thing, especially when they have this type of placebo effect. Personally, the items I have splurged on are items that I adore and always feel more productive when I am wearing them.
DISCLAIMER: I’m not saying that you can’t look or feel great and productive if you are wearing brandless items. I, too, always rock brandless items because for me, I buy and wear what I think looks good – this can come from Dotti or Kmart or Mix or even Marketplaces with clothing brands I have never heard of. But this post surrounds the study published about the effect that branded items have on your confidence and productivity.
Ultimately, if they make you feel more confident (hi there GIRLBOSS), then by all means, go for it!
Garvey, A. M., Germann, F., & Bolton, L. E. (2015). Performance Brand Placebos: How Brands Improve Performance and Consumers Take the Credit. Journal of Consumer Research, ucv094.