The Psychology Behind Dressing Well

The Psychology Behind Dressing Well

Written by: Aaron Ignacio | King & Bay

There's more to being well dressed than just looking good – it can have a positive impact on your state of mind, as well. Here's how the psychology behind dressing well plays into your day-to-day life.

Our Master Clothiers are often asked, "Why should I take care of my appearance?"

There is a constant struggle in many men when it comes to taking care of themselves, as it feels like a chore, something seemingly unnecessary in the grander scheme of things, and with all of the other responsibilities of life.

Phrases like,  "I would love to dress fashionably, if I could pull it off" or "If I had more time in a day, I would take better care of my appearance. I have too many commitments," are a common refrain in many men's minds.

In spite of these apparent obstacles, there has still been something of a renaissance in men's clothing in recent years – especially custom clothing. Why is this? 

The truth is, dressing well can make a significant difference in daily life in ways you wouldn't expect. In this article, we explore 3 key ways that dressing well can affect your life in a positive way.

How You Dress Definitely Affects Your Mood

One significant way that dressing well can positively affect your life is by changing your mood. Studies show that there is a direct link to dressing well and your mood as it stabilizes and improves quality of happiness, drastically reducing the risk of depression.

While it may seem like a chore for men, we suggest to try upgrading your style. You will subconsciously start to feel a sense of pride and fulfillment in the smallest ways. Life can throw many things your way and there is a constant need to stay on top of things. It can get rather overwhelming to think about all of your priorities.

However, by staying on top of a simple task like dressing better, you will start to feel a difference right away. It's the same concept as cleaning a messy room. You prolong the chore as it isn't a big priority, but when you finally clean it, it feels fulfilling.

However, dressing well is a daily task that will yield much more reward than a simple feeling of fulfillment. This leads us to our next point.

You are What Others See

Many have heard the phrase 'Dress For Success', but what is the meaning behind it? It's simple.

The way you dress offers a clear visual representation of who you are. It can positively represent you as someone who is confident, sophisticated and smart, or it can negatively represent you as someone careless, indifferent or worse: a failure.

The most tangible benefit of dressing well is that it helps you identify yourself to others without saying a single word.

This is especially important in the workforce. At work, your image is everything. If you carry yourself with poise and confidence, wearing the right suit, it makes a drastic difference in both productivity and probability of promotion. People respect someone who looks put together much more than someone who dresses carelessly.

Your Individuality & Self Esteem are on Display

Adding to the previous point that your image represents you, it also differentiates you from others. Everybody is different, with their own unique sense of style. Truly defining or discovering your sense of style is a part of your individuality.

Furthermore, it helps develop your confidence and self esteem. Being well put together, you will experience a daily reassuring feeling that you look good, which is a step towards truly being happy and comfortable with yourself.

  • The best way to start upgrading your style is to start closet cleaning. Purge what you don't need and keep what you can salvage. From there, find a clothier that fits your personal style. The best route to rebuild your wardrobe is custom as it has no limits in both style or fit. -Aaron Ignacio, Clothing Specialist

The truth is, dressing well not only provides an avenue for creativity and individuality, it also creates an avenue to feel your best. This is why many men today are rediscovering the feeling it brings to take care of their appearance and are forging their own personal styles.

Especially in the work place, men are starting to realize they should dress for the position they want to be in, rather than dressing for the position they are currently in. In life, dress to be the man you should be: the best possible version of yourself. Always remember that your image is a visual representation of you so put your best foot forward.

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All the Talk of an Accelerating Economy and Rising Inflation Just Doesn't Add Up

All the Talk of an Accelerating Economy and Rising Inflation Just Doesn't Add Up

The biggest news for the markets this week came from the Federal Reserve. On Wednesday, it released the January Federal Open Market Committee meeting notes and they were interpreted as dovish by some and hawkish by others as analysts raced to divine insight from the text.

The recent data isn’t supporting the narrative of accelerating global growth and inflation while equities continue to experience higher volatility.  What does it mean for stocks, bonds and yields? Glad you asked! Here’s my take on why all the talk on an accelerating economy and rising inflation just doesn't add up when you look at the data.

Equity Markets — A Relatively Narrow Recovery

The shortened trading week opened Tuesday with every sector except technology closing in the red. The S&P 500 fell back below its 50-day moving average after Walmart (WMT) reported disappointing results, falling over 10% on the day, having its worst trading day in over 30 years.

Walmart’s online sales grew 23% in the fourth quarter, but had grown 29% in the same quarter a year prior and were up 50% in the third quarter. We saw further evidence of the deflationary power of our Connected Society investing theme as the company reported the lowest operating margin in its history.

Ongoing investment to combat Amazon (AMZN) and rising freight costs — a subject our premium research subscribers have heard a lot of about lately — were the primary culprits behind Walmart's declining numbers. To really rub salt in that wound, Amazon shares hit a new record high the same day. This pushed the outperformance of the FAANG stocks versus the S&P 500 even higher.

Wednesday was much of the same, with most every sector again closing in the red, driven mostly by interpretations of the Federal Reserve’s release of the January Federal Open Market Committee meeting notes. In fact, twenty-five minutes after the release of those notes, the Dow was up 303 points . . . and then proceeded to fall 470 points to close the day down 167 points. To put that swing in context, so far in 2018, the Dow has experienced that kind of a range seven times but not once in 2017.

Thursday was a mixed bag. Most sectors were flat to slightly up as the S&P 500 closed up just +0.1%, while both the Russell 2000 and the Nasdaq Composite lost -0.1%. The energy sector was the strongest performer, gaining 1.3% while financials took a hit, falling 0.7%.

The recovery from the lows this year has been relatively narrow. As of Thursday’s close, the S&P 500 is still below its 50-day moving average, up 1.1% year-to-date with the median S&P 500 sector down -1.0%. Amazon, Microsoft and Netflix alone are responsible for nearly half of the year’s gain in the S&P 500. The Russell 2000 is down -0.4% year-to-date and also below its 50-day moving average. The Dow is up 78 points year-to-date, but without Boeing (BA), would be down 317 points as two-thirds of Dow stocks are in the red for the year.

Related: We're Back to “Bad News is Good News” and “Good News is Great News”

Fixed Income and Inflation — the Coming Debt Headwind

The 1-year Treasury yield hit 2.0%, the highest since 2008 while the 5-year Treasury yield has risen to the highest rate since 2010, these are material moves!

What hasn’t been terribly material so far is the Fed’s tapering program. It isn’t exactly a fire sale with the assets of the Federal Reserve down all off 0.99% since September 27 when Quantitative Tightening began, which translates into an annualized pace of 2.4%.

As for inflationary pressures, U.S. Import prices increased 3.6% year-over-year versus expectations for 3.0%, mostly reflecting the continued weakness in the greenback. The Amex Dollar Index (DXY) has been below both its 50-day and 200-day moving averages for all of 2018. The increase in import prices excluding fuel was the largest since 2012 and also beat expectations. Import prices for autos, auto parts and capital goods have accelerated but consumer good ex-autos once again moved into negative territory.

Outside the U.S. we see little evidence that inflation is accelerating. Korea’s PPI fell further to 1.2% - no evidence of rising inflation there. In China the Producer Price Index fell to a 1-year low – yet another sign that we don’t have rising global inflation. On Friday the European Central Bank’s measure of Eurozone inflation for January came in at 1.3% overall and has been fairly steadily declining since reaching a peak of 1.9% last April. This morning we saw that Japan’s Consumer Price Index rose for the 13th consecutive month in January, rising 0.9% from year-ago levels. Excluding fresh food and energy, the increase was just 0.4% - again, not exactly a hair-on-fire pace.

The reality is that the U.S. economy is today the most leveraged it has been in modern history with a total debt load of around $47 trillion. On average, roughly 20% of this debt rolls over annually. Using a quick back-of-the-envelope estimate, the new blended average rate for the debt that is rolling over this year will likely be 0.5% higher. That translates to approximately $250 billion in higher debt service costs this year. Talk about a headwind to both growth and inflationary pressures. The more the economy picks up steam and pushes interest rates up, the greater the headwind with such a large debt load… something consumers are no doubt familiar with and are poised to experience yet again in the coming quarters.

The Twists and Turns of Cryptocurrencies

The wild west drama of the cryptocurrency world continued this week as the South Korean official who led the government’s regulatory clampdown on cryptocurrencies was found dead Sunday, presumably having suffered a fatal heart attack, but the police have opened an investigation into the cause of his death.

Tuesday, according to Yonhap News, the nation’s financial regulator said the government will support “normal transactions” of cryptocurrencies, three weeks after banning digital currency trades through anonymous bank accounts. Yonhap also reported that the South Korean government will “encourage” banks to work with the cryptocurrency exchanges. Go figure. Bitcoin has nearly doubled off its recent lows.

Tuesday the crisis-ridden nation of Venezuela launched an oil-backed cryptocurrency, the “petro,” in hopes that it will help circumvent financials sanctions imposed by the U.S. and help improve the nation’s failing economy. This was the first cryptocurrency officially launched by a government. President Nicolás Maduro hosted a televised launch in the presidential palace which had been dressed up with texts moving on screens and party-like music stating, “The game took off successfully.” The government plans to sell 82.4 million petros to the public. This will be an interesting one to watch.

Related: Warning: Suppressed Volatility Ultimately Leads to Hyper-Volatility

Economy — Maintaining Context & Perspective is Key

Housing joined the ranks of U.S. economic indicators disappointing to the downside in January with the decline in existing home sales. Turnover fell 3.2%, the second consecutive decline, and is now at the lowest annual rate since last September. Sales were 4.8% below year-ago levels while the median sales price fell 2.4%, also the second consecutive decline and this marks the 6th decline in the past 7 months. U.S. mortgage applications for purchase are near a 52-week low.

Again, that’s the latest data, but as we like to say here at Tematica, context and perspective are key. Looking back over the past month, around 60% of the U.S. economic data releases have come in below expectations and this has prompted the Citigroup Economic Surprise Index (CESI) to test a 4-month low. Sorry to break it to you folks, but the prevailing narrative of an accelerating economy just isn’t supported by the hard data. No wonder that even the ever-optimistic Atlanta Fed has slashed its GDPNow forecast for the current quarter down to 3.2% from 5.4% on Feb. 1. We suspect further downward revisions are likely.

Looking up north, it wasn’t just the U.S. consumer who stepped back from buying with disappointing retail sales as Canadian retail sales missed badly, falling 0.8% versus expectations for a 0.1% decline. Over in the land of bronze, silver and gold dreams, South Korean exports declined 3.9% year-over-year.

Wednesday’s flash PMI’s were all pretty much a miss to the downside. Eurozone Manufacturing PMI for February declined more than was expected to 58.5 from 59.6 in January versus expectations for 59.2. Same goes for Services which dropped to 56.7 from 58 versus expectations for 57.7. France and Germany also saw both their manufacturing and services PMIs decline more than expected in February. The U.K. saw its unemployment rate rise unexpectedly to 4.4% from 4.3%

The Bottom Line

Economic acceleration and rising inflation aren’t showing up to the degree that was expected, and this was a market priced for perfection. The Federal Reserve is giving indications that it will not be providing the same kind of downside protection that asset prices have enjoyed since the crisis, pushing markets to reprice risk and question the priced-to-perfection stocks.

Lenore Elle Hawkins
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Lenore Hawkins serves as the Chief Macro Strategist for Tematica Research. With over 20 years of experience in finance, strategic planning, risk management, asset valuation an ... Click for full bio