In honor of International Women’s Day, we should bring back the power suits of the 1980s. I know, they were hideous, but it turns out they may have actually given gals magical powers.
A study by researchers at Kellogg University found that what we wear impacts how we feel about ourselves and how we perform in our jobs.
“Clothes can have profound and systematic psychological and behavioral consequences for their wearers,” according to a study on the effects of clothing on employees by professors at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, which was published in the recent issue of the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.
In testing the theory, the researchers used a lab coat on their subjects and looked at how wearing the coat impacted their work. It turned out, the study found, that “physically wearing a lab coat increased selective attention compared to not wearing a lab coat.”
A lab coat makes people feel important and smart, and that translates into how they perform. That’s why I’m proposing a redux of the shoulder pads. Gals back then were onto something. They wanted to look like men because we’ve all been brainwashed for years to think men should be the only holders of power. The guys wear suits and have big shoulders. So, if we look like them we’ll feel we have more power and the ability to become leaders.
OK, maybe I’m being a little tongue and cheek, but something’s got to give folks. Little has changed for women and power since the 1980s. Women held only about 16 percent of board seats and 14 percent of executive officer positions at Fortune 500 companies last year, according to a study by Catalyst, a research firm.
Here’s a telling quote from the Kellogg study:
“Although the saying goes that clothes do not make the man, our results suggest that they do hold a strange power over their wearers.”
When will the river run power our way?
And speaking about fashion, Paris Fashion week just ended and based on the research above, most of what designers displayed probably won’t do much to build up your confidence gals. Here’s one of my favorites. Would this one from a New York Times recap of fashion week today make you feel powerful?
And everyone was showing these ridiculously high heels. If you don’t fall over the height will definitely make you feel powerful.