I think the concept of enclothed cognition is fascinating. I haven't heard that terminology used before, but I have dealt with state trait behavior, because it is a primary concept in my work. The many nuances of using the concept have taken me years to master when working with children. I do think there is some power in the effect an outfit can have on ones mood. I know that when I am not feeling well, either because of a headache, viral illness, or poor sleep, I take extra care to wear my more flattering clothes and to take more time with my makeup. Looking good during the day, helps me feel better, even though I do not. If I stay in my lounge wear and do not put on makeup, I typically feel sluggish and notice more physical symptoms. There may be no difference between my symptoms in either scenario.

Each of your choices is associated with a cognition. We know it is helpful to take actions that support positive cognitions which then support positive moods when someone is in a funk. It really can be as simple as picking a beautiful red lippie, or a great outfit to wear instead of something that is sloppy or less flattering. So when I'm tired, I pick colors that give me energy, when I have a headache I pick items that make me feel unstressed and balanced, etc.

i too, am a firm believer in the power of a great outfit. sometimes its the outfit itself, but more often than not, its the power of the thought and intention that i put into the outfit. its about getting my head around how i want to look instead of how i feel.
anyway, love the red hair, and the shape and cut, add the glasses, and you get a fab look that say, yes, i am everything i think i am and more.

You look absolutely sensational. And lipstick, amazing shoes, fabulous specs, and a new haircut may not be cheap, but they're no more expensive than therapy. Love you in the crop pants outfit -- you may feel you are struggling but it looks sensational.

You look totally fantastic and all those things...why not? Apart from pure function, isn't that why we wear clothes and adornment?

Really enjoying this thread! You always jump-start my brain, approprio.

BTW, since you asked -- here are a few things I've bought lately that help me realize what enclothed cognition is all about:
- A black leather Veda jacket. I really feel like a bada** when I put that on. Good for days when I'm lacking in moxie and self-confidence.
- Several pairs of Eileen Fisher pants. They were crazy-expensive (for me), but they fit like they were made for me and I feel both chic and comfortable when I'm wearing them.
- A black sequined Alice & Olivia jacket. I looked at several less-expensive ones, but this one fit like a dream and just sort of melted onto my body in a very effortless way. I feel like the Queen of the Night when I wear it.

All worn with my favorite MAC lipstick, of course!

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I enjoy your musings as always, Liz. BIG FAT YES TO ENCLOTHED COGNITION. It's why I have a business and feel so very passionate about it. I'm always going on about how we need to LISTEN TO OUR EMOTIONS when it comes to our outfits. I'm glad you did, Liz - and reaped the reward.

Go Team Comfy Fab Footwear, Pretty Undies, Fun Haircut, Mascara and Lipstick.

And I am sooo with Smittie. I believe you're taken more seriously when you're dressed up. I believe you get better care as a caregiver when you're dressed up. And I DEFINITELY am happier when I'm dressed up. It's why I never wear T-shirts unless I am sleeping or in loungewear after my evening shower.

Wonderful pics Approprio. You look stunning, and authentic and interesting. In dark and difficult times, these small acts can signify a positive step towards feeling stronger and lighter and more empowered.

I agree with Jenni, there is a balance to be had between adornment, and authenticity, and it sits at different places for all of us. Some people take great pride in their natural look, others a much more constructed look (Linda McCartney compared to Madonna).

I am pleased the new shoes are proving such a success, excellent purchase!

You look fantastic and powerful...like you're ready to slay dragons.

I don't have a power piece exactly, but I do need my hair to look it's best and some lipstick helps, too. I work from home 85% of the time, and I can sink into lethargy pretty quickly if I don't feel like I look good, even if no one will see me. Lately I've been wearing perfume at home alone, and it energizes me when I catch a whiff. Radical, I know

Love Suz's comment.

This is such an interesting post, and your photos are wonderful. I love reading you - you write things that really resonate with me. When I was young, I felt strongly that the way women were expected to act and dress was a way of controlling them. I did not conform to expectations and would not wear heels, revealing necklines, makeup, or fitted dresses. Now that I'm older I've found to my great surprise, that I'm becoming interested in fashion. I'm still a bit unconventional but I've found that I enjoy trying new ideas. They often don't work but it's fun. I don't worry too much about what other people think and I now love to wear lipstick, funky shoes, and interesting tops.

Love this post, and you look sensational. As a petite blond attorney, I feel much more powerful in heels with a blazer and lipstick, and am glad that dressing the part has both internal and external effects. At the same time, I feel best when these pieces are true to me - the fun and challenge of curating and updating a professional wardrobe!

As to enclothed cognition, I have been working from home for a bit more than 18 years. My daughter is now almost 18. I am a lawyer and it was a major transition for me going from the all suits look to the nursing mom and then mom of small child look. I had a couple of years where not having spit up on me was a good look, and not having crying or barking in the background was an achievement for conference calls. However, I did settle in to a relatively casual but more dressy than my rural New England environment look for the long haul. I just cannot work in pajamas or athletic clothes. I have to be showered, wearing something nice, and have some makeup on. My major concession to casual is wearing driving shoes because we don't wear outside shoes in the house. I will never give up my love of dressy jackets and blazers because I get that powerful feel from them.

Liz, you look magnificent. I fully embrace the idea of clothed cognition. However, I do want to add that your comments are always equally enlightening and expansive, regardless of how you are dressed when you post them. The real YOU comes through in your posts, and you are always intellectual and challenging others to think; this is part of the reason I always appreciate your posts.

I'm sorry you feel in a funk right now. It certainly doesn't show from the outside.

As for ACTUAL cognition, yes, I find that clothing matters. When I go to conferences all decked out, I feel confident about what I have learned and ready to teach it to others. When I am dressed more casually, I often feel iffy about the material and ready to defer to others. The clothing does't necessarily make the man or the woman, but it certainly doesn't hurt.

I've noticed that what I wear often makes a huge difference in how I feel. I work at home, and on some days when I'm feeling depressed, if I take the time to examine my outfit and make changes, I find that my mood lifts significantly. As another commenter said, dressing is kind of a form of therapy in and of itself. I try not to overspend on clothing, but I am also aware that it's OK if I treat myself now and then, because the emotional boost I get from a "happy" outfit is so life giving.

I'm happy to know that you are feeling good in your outfits, and well, you look fab. I totally agree that the right clothes and the right makeup can do miracles on our mood. Ah, the power of a pink lipstick!

I enjoyed this post too. I'd never heard that term before, but the concept is all too familiar to me, as another who made a transition from working in an office to self-employment, and consequently fell into the trap of working in pajamas way too often.

My magic doesn't come from lipstick (I don't wear bold shades well), but from a balance of flattering shapes and a bit of edge. My blue leather moto, great stompy boots, etc. Outfits that make me look longer and leaner. A bit of sexy along with some modern edge really helps me feel more like a badass.

You look amazing in these photos, so it's easy to see how empowered you feel. Rock on! I love your musings and your style.

Guys, I'm so sorry it took me so long to get back to this thread. I'm having some technical issues here, but in reality there's so much interesting stuff here that I barely know where to begin.

Xtabay: thank you so much for that beautiful picture. I love opera and The Magic Flute is one of my absolute favourites. You could find no better inspiration than the Queen of the Night for a gorgeous black sequin jacket.

Staysfit: thanks for weighing in with your professional insight. I'm very interested in trait theory, but I'd always missed the "state" aspect of it. Makes much more sense that way. I will keep this in mind and look into it when I next visit the topic.

Angie: I'm taking your comment on t-shirts on board. They've always been an easy fix for me given my problems finding good fit and flattery on the upper body. I'll give that some thought.

Everyone else....Janet, Gigi, Echo, Bonnie, UmmLila, bonnie, Penny, viva, smittie, Sisi, Suz, Aquamarine, kkards, lpr, KG/Sally, and anyone I may have missed - Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences. I wish I could condense them all into a paragraph, but I'd never do them justice. You all continue to amaze me.

Spectacular photos -- I love your aesthetic. You look phenomenal.


I so enjoyed what you wrote and can identify with how hair, clothing and makeup can change so much! Also, I love those photos! You look absolutely amazing and I feel like I can really see YOU - which is, in my opinion, exactly what it's all about! Thank you so much for sharing!

You are looking fab.
Great choice.