How to Dress in a Way that Boosts Your Productivity

9602307_origFinding a balance between work and life can be challenging. Especially because  jobs are starting  to appease employee demands for remote working options and flexibility. Job seekers are looking for something that gives them more freedom and value for their work instead of their time, and jobs that enhance their personal lives. Who wouldn’t want that? But after working remotely for over a year, I have found it very challenging.

The lines between clock in and clock out can get blurred, and I feel a constant need to be productive. My to do list runs through my head constantly. Maybe I am just preaching to myself over here, but I have definitely allowed work to consume my personal life. I work while I watch T.V. at night, the first thing I do when I wake up is work because of that 7am Instagram post, and, when I travel, finding a coffee shop with wifi is a priority because…work.  It’s endless and all consuming.

Didn’t we become entrepreneurs so that we could be our own boss? That’s what I thought, until I realized that work is the one bossing me around.

So where do clothes fit? When I was young, I was homeschooled. This gave me the luxury of wearing whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. No school uniform and no one to impress. In fact, I could stay in my pajamas all day if I wanted.

However, I quickly learned that this was not an option. I needed help and the sweats weren’t cutting it. Working and living  in the same space day in and day out, helped me find the game changing value of external motivators. Workspace, music, and clothes all play into how you feel and therefore how you work.

We all know that style is a way for us to communicate with the world, but I don’t think we always realize how much our clothes communicate with us . Subconsciously, what we wear talks to us and evokes feelings that we may or may not be aware of.8910038 Research shows that we tend to adopt the characteristics of our garments. Activewear makes us feel fitter, sweatpants correlate with a Netflix date, and when we rock that pair of 4” heels we feel taller (both literally and figuratively). Studies have shown that this is because we subconsciously adopt the characteristics of our garments. Knowing this, we can intentionally choose outfits that prime our brains for productivity.

This doesn’t mean that we have to wear corporate attire nor does it mean that we all wear the same type of “work” clothes. Style and productivity are both still very individualistic. An artist will want to channel fun and creativity so they might need paint splattered overalls whereas the entrepreneur seeking investors might need an all black New-York-style power outfit.

3048239_origFor me, wearing a suit might evoke a feeling of power and professionalism, but it would also deplete from my creativity and make me feel overdressed in my work environment. I would rather feel professional and fashionable, while also feeling comfortable and creative. It’s as simple as trading out my jeans and white crop top for my black pants and silk blouse. The difference I feel wearing the two outfits is dramatic. So why not wear the one that compliments my productivity?

If your work clothes and your weekend clothes are the same, you are not letting your brain know that you have clocked out for the day. Having either a designated work wardrobe or changing your clothes after you have finished work will not only help you transition into your next activity, it will help set the boundary between work and personal.

Find out what you need the most at your job and explore styles that promote that lifestyle and productivity.

Here are a few tips to get you started —

  • Find out what you need: Do you need to feel powerful, professional, active etc…Finding out what you need, and how you need to feel, will help you isolate outfits that support your needs.
  • Be inspired: Pay attention to who inspires you and why; what feelings do their clothes evoke within you ? Make a Pinterest board, watch movies, read a magazine-be inspired!
  • Experiment with your wardrobe: Take a test drive with different outfit options and find what works the best for you and then be consistent.
  • Make the change: Be sure and officially clock out from work by changing your clothes. This will mentally help you transition from one activity to another and help provide a work-life balance.

Photos by Andrea David


Amy Harris