Study: High-End Clothes Can Improve Performance

Study: High-End Clothes Can Improve Performance
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Dress for the job you want, not the job you have. Fake it until you make it. Look good, feel good, do good.

Professionals have used phrases like this for years. But it’s not just sound advice backed by experience anymore. According to a study by researchers from Penn State, Notre Dame and the University of Kentucky, folks who wear brand name clothes to work were found to have more confidence and performed better.

Related: 'Clothes' the Deal: 7 Ways to Dress to Impress

So, go ahead, buy those expensive designer duds. Dress for the job you want (or think) you should have. It’s not just a “treat yourself” purchase anymore. There’s no need to justify the need for another $1,000 suit. Those $600 Jimmy Choo’s say success. That $200 Chanel jacket? Science.

In actuality, clothes don’t even have to really be legitimate designer merchandise. Researchers found if they simply told people they were using a high-end Nike golf putter rather than some off-brand imposer, performance improved by 20 percent. The hole-in-one mentality also proved true for people who were given "high-performance" earplugs to wear during a math quiz.

“Some people have a power suit that they put on for important presentations, or they have some special cufflink that they put on to bring them luck,” Frank Germann, Ph.D., an assistant professor of marketing at Notre Dame University Mendoza College of Business, who worked on the study, told Bloomberg. “I think our research would suggest that engaging in that kind of behavior might actually work.”

Previous research found a similar correlation between attitude and clothing. For example, a study published in 2008 by Journal of Marketing Research showed logo exposure could actually make people act in a certain way, based on the identity of the brand itself. For example, Apple loyalists were more creative. Disney lovers were more honest compared to E! Entertainment enthusiasts.

Related: Insights: How to Dress to Impress