Dress for Success
May 1, 2015 11:53 AM   Subscribe

Want to change your mind? Wear a suit[study] or a labcoat[study].
posted by the man of twists and turns (30 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
 
noooooooooooo i hate wearing my lab coat nooooooooooooo
posted by maryr at 12:14 PM on May 1, 2015 [7 favorites]


A good suit or tailored ensemble is the most comfortable attire for flying, I've found.
posted by wonton endangerment at 12:19 PM on May 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


I love wearing my lab coat. I always joked that it makes me feel smarter, but maybe I was right.

I pretty much stopped wearing my lab coat in my current job. I think this is indicative of how jaded and over this whole post-doc thing I am.
posted by shelleycat at 12:20 PM on May 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


These are small effects. The suit study seems especially dubious because their different measures of "abstract thinking" don't agree. There are tons of priming studies like this, enough that any individual one that reaches "statistical significance" is not particularly meaningful.

If you run an experiment on more than a hundred undergraduates, and the difference you find is like 1 more item on a change detection test with 10+ items, you didn't really find anything.

Previously on evidence in social psychology (1,2).
posted by grobstein at 12:21 PM on May 1, 2015 [4 favorites]


Well, maybe if they actually had the participants actually wear formal wear instead of those lazy lounge suits the youngsters are into these days.
posted by backseatpilot at 12:30 PM on May 1, 2015


A good suit or tailored ensemble is the most comfortable attire for flying, I've found.

Where do you put the jacket or sportcoat? In the overhead compartment? Like a wild animal?
posted by leotrotsky at 12:54 PM on May 1, 2015 [6 favorites]


I would pay good money for a proper lab coat. Not these modern things about as thick as a cotton bedsheet, something heavy duty, designed to resist chemical spills. I suppose it is too much to ask for those old style buttons made from knotted canvas strips.
posted by charlie don't surf at 1:02 PM on May 1, 2015 [3 favorites]


I don't think wild animals are allowed in overhead compartments.
posted by Greg_Ace at 1:04 PM on May 1, 2015 [7 favorites]


corollary: you do not do your best thinking in a raggedy housecoat.
posted by el io at 1:45 PM on May 1, 2015 [2 favorites]


oh I don't know, I do some of my best work in a flowing satin nightgown. (what? I work from home half the time, I'm not putting on pants for that)
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 1:58 PM on May 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


Last time I had a job interview, I wore my suit from my wedding, vows still in the inside pocket and all. Nailed it.
posted by emelenjr at 2:00 PM on May 1, 2015 [4 favorites]


I would pay good money for a proper lab coat.

I keep toying with the idea of getting a labcoat properly tailored. I spend well over half my waking hours wearing them, why not enjoy it? A better fit, and a really good swoosh when going round corners.
posted by metaBugs at 2:02 PM on May 1, 2015 [5 favorites]


A good suit or tailored ensemble is the most comfortable attire for flying, I've found.

Agree completely.

Where do you put the jacket or sportcoat? In the overhead compartment? Like a wild animal?

I either have the flight attendant hang it in the small closet that exists but that most people don't know about, or I hang it from the hook on the seat back.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 2:12 PM on May 1, 2015 [2 favorites]


I do my best thinking wearing nothing but a raggedy old pair of underpants.
posted by Fnarf at 2:27 PM on May 1, 2015 [2 favorites]


Adam Galinsky (one of the authors of the lab coat study) also does other interesting work on power, gender, negotiation, and emotion. I'm looking forward to reading the one about "powerful music."

N=1, this is 80% of what I use my reading glasses for.
posted by katya.lysander at 2:32 PM on May 1, 2015 [3 favorites]


I tend to think of my suit as a grownup costume or superhero costume, depending on the day.
posted by bile and syntax at 2:47 PM on May 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


I do my best thinking wearing nothing but a raggedy old pair of underpants.

one fears to ask exactly how you wear them.
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:18 PM on May 1, 2015 [6 favorites]



I keep toying with the idea of getting a labcoat properly tailored. I spend well over half my waking hours wearing them, why not enjoy it? A better fit, and a really good swoosh when going round corners.

I don't know . . . Why don't you just go all out and get a lab cape?
posted by rankfreudlite at 3:49 PM on May 1, 2015 [5 favorites]


I do my best thinking wearing nothing but a raggedy old pair of underpants.

Did you mean to write that out where everyone could read it?

Why don't you just go all out and get a lab cape?

The whole idea is to prevent spills from getting on your clothes, not for your clothes to swoosh around and cause spills, or get caught on stuff.

Anyway, I did find some nice lab coats with the knotted canvas buttons, starting at $159. But they were too short, and it was impossible to tell if it was made of a decent quality fabric. And that is an astonishing price for a lab coat, unless you're a doctor who can afford to use them like rags.
posted by charlie don't surf at 4:03 PM on May 1, 2015


The whole idea is to prevent spills from getting on your clothes, not for your clothes to swoosh around and cause spills, or get caught on stuff.

I mean, ideally the plan also involves a cadre of unusually absorbent henchmen. I won't pretend I've settled quite all of the details yet.

You're right, obviously. I'm not serious about the swooshing, but I would love a set of labcoats that actually fit me, with fitted pockets for timer, various pens, non-ruined (and hence secret!) fine forceps, a couple of clean gloves, etc. I spend most of my waking hours in them, why must they be ill-fitting and uncomfortable?

The actual material of most of my lab's coats is fine- not crazily heavy, but sufficiently close-woven and hydrophobic that I'd expect most things to just roll off it, or at least be slow getting through. The exception is the mouse house, where the coats are only designed to keep dust from my clothes in, and are therefore tissue thin and absolutely no impediment to mouse pee.
posted by metaBugs at 4:38 PM on May 1, 2015 [3 favorites]


metabugs, you've now just sealed the deal on my need for a labcoat. I want one for working in my fish room, even if it would probably get in my way most of the time. I too want to swoosh when I do science, even if it's hobby science. And taylored, of course. I've been meaning to learn to sew, this is just one more reason to.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 5:15 PM on May 1, 2015 [2 favorites]


Why settle for just a tailored labcoat - might as well get a purple silk lining put in.
posted by porpoise at 5:49 PM on May 1, 2015 [2 favorites]


These studies tie in nicely to my own research into a peculiar anomaly I've come to dub The Fedora Effect.
posted by um at 5:53 PM on May 1, 2015


I've never worn either a lab coat or a proper suit (like with a tie and everything; I've worn sports coats a few times). Lab coats aren't flattering, but they are at least practical, while suits are neither. These days (and I should note that I am not living in a major city or center of political or banking power) the only people I see wearing suits are lower level workers at mortgage brokers or franchise financial investment offices.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:14 PM on May 1, 2015


I guess this is why Dr. Beverly Crusher wore that blue labcoat thing even though it seemed incredibly unnecessary on a starship. I have a hip-length cardigan that makes me feel like Dr. Crusher when I put it on, I imagine it's my super-powered starship doctor coat.
posted by bleep at 6:55 PM on May 1, 2015 [2 favorites]


I tend to wear a denim printers apron and reading glasses at the shop .....I look like Gepetto.
posted by boilermonster at 10:48 PM on May 1, 2015 [2 favorites]


wonton endangerment: "A good suit or tailored ensemble is the most comfortable attire for flying, I've found."

As a prime candidate for random profiling at airports, I fly to/from America in a suit by default. The difference in respect and treatment from pretty much everyone is staggering. So far I've assumed that it was just people responding to the suit, but I suppose it's possible that my own confidence and bearing changes when I'm wearing it? Interesting to think about.
posted by vanar sena at 4:55 AM on May 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


So, in order to get respect, dress like a man in power, then?

I'm so shocked! I never would have guessed!
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:11 AM on May 2, 2015


jenfullmoon: "So, in order to get respect, dress like a man in power, then?

I'm so shocked! I never would have guessed!
"

Is a labcoat a symbol of male power now, or are you responding to something else?
posted by vanar sena at 10:24 AM on May 2, 2015


I can't comment on lab coats, not being worthy of such a garment, but I did buy a new suit several months ago just prior to delivering a whole series of seminars. Not an expensive suit, just basic off-the-rack mid-range stuff, but it fitted perfectly in every way straight from that rack - an ordinary black 3-piece suit, but one that fitted like it was made just for me. I've been doing lots of public speaking for a few years now and have built up a certain amount of credibility in my area (not because I'm particularly well-spoken or charismatic, far from it - I've been told many times it's because I tell things how they are with no double-speak or bullshit and speak with people, not at them). But there was a noticeable difference in the level of confidence I felt standing up in clothes that fit well and (to the extent possible) make me look good (new shirts, ties, shoes etc as well as the suit). There was a definite improvement in engagement of the audiences and in the post-event feedback, but I had done nothing different except new clothes. The previous suit I used to wear was over 10 years old and never really fitted properly even when I bought it. People kept saying that I looked great, something that simply never happened before and which I was quite flustered by.

Yes, there is a point to this - I don't actually think it's just the difference between wearing a suit and wearing jeans, it's also about feeling comfortable in what you are wearing and wearing styles that make you look your best. If you feel comfortable, you act more confident. If you act more confident, people pay attention to you. But also, if you feel confident, you're much more likely to be using your brain productively and well.

jenfullmoon: "So, in order to get respect, dress like a man in power, then?
I'm so shocked! I never would have guessed!
"
No, more like in order to get respect, dress like a person in authority? The word 'suit' is not synonymous with 'male' and the article itself certainly doesn't make this connection. Women wear suits, too.
posted by dg at 5:23 PM on May 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


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