A suit and tie might feel constricting, but one research team thinks that combo might be key to workplace success.
A series of five studies conducted using undergraduate students showed those wearing formal attire were more likely to think abstractly, focusing on their larger goals instead of the minute details of the workday.
Participants took a survey to rate the formality of their clothing and that of their peers before completing intellectual questionnaires to help researchers understand the way they processed ideas.
Here's the good part: Participants were randomly assigned to dress in ''clothing you would wear to a job interview'' or ''clothing you would wear to class" before retaking the inclusiveness test.
Those in formal outfits leaned toward abstract thinking. Bolstered by the success of a small group, study 4 repeated a similar experiment on a slightly larger scale.
By study 5, researchers were able to confirm through a series of surveys those wearing formal clothing felt socially distant from their peers.
In other words, a cocktail dress signals to your brain this isn't your living room. It's a rules-oriented workplace.
Study co-author Michael Slepian told The Atlantic the studies confirm the "power suit" really does change the way the wearer thinks by signaling an environmental shift.
I wouldn't expect the suit as a symbol of power to be leaving us anytime soon.
For an important meeting or a difficult day at the office, a formal outfit might just be the sartorial bulletproof armor you need.