A woman who dresses to impress herself standing confidently in front of a wall in a dress she loves.

There are certain occasions in life that call for dressing to impress. Whether you’re going to a job interview, meeting your significant other’s parents, or getting ready for a first date, we all usually go the extra mile to look good.

But a pretty dress or a snazzy tie and expensive shoes don’t just impress others; it has the power to change us from the outside in.

In what psychologists are calling “enclothed cognition,” the way we view our bodies not only shapes our own behavior, but the clothes we choose to wear can as well.

According to a study at Northwestern University, the symbolic meaning of clothes and our experience wearing them have the power to change our behaviors.

So, do you dress your mood, or does your mood dress you? Psychology Today states that what you choose to wear is directly linked to how you feel.

It’s why you don’t wear sweat pants to a job interview (sloppy worker—no thanks!), and you don’t wear a cocktail dress when you’re feeling down and drowning your sorrows in a pint of mint chocolate chip ice cream while watching Bridget Jones’s Diary.

If you are what you eat, can you be what you wear? According to science, yes! Your performance, behavior, and attitudes change based on not only what you wear, but how you view yourself when you wear something. Your clothing affects your cognitive process. This means we think with more than just our brains—we think with our bodies, and with the clothes we dress them in.

How we dress affects how we interact with the world around us. So what does this mean in our relationships? Well, let’s start with what it doesn’t mean. This information doesn’t mean you should pretend to be someone you’re not to impress others. When you’re on a date, you don’t have to wear something tight or revealing in order to feel sexy. Likewise, you don’t have to dress up super formal if you’re looking for something serious.  Instead, realize that what you slip into for each date is a direct reflection of your thought processes, and has the power to shape your mood and how you approach the date.

If you find yourself desiring a relationship that more appropriately compliments your lifestyle, then dress to match those ambitions.

Every morning when you wake up, you can do more than just get dressed, you can put on your power! Make sure you’re doing it for you, and you’ll feel the difference.

Christie McConnell

Freelance Writer

Christie McConnell is a recent graduate of Arizona State University where she studied fitness and nutrition. She has two children and lives in Denver, Colorado with her husband of 12 years. Christie is very passionate about healthy lifestyles. In her spare time she enjoys Olympic Weightlifting and works hard to make balance in life a priority. You can follow her and her fitness journey on Instagram.