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Your Suit Is Making You Stupid

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by odoreater, Sep 8, 2006.

  1. odoreater

    odoreater Well-Known Member

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    From this month's issue of Men's Health:

    "A Harvard study found that dressing comfortably can boost brainpower. In a study of 88 students, those wearing sweats earned higher markes on cognitive-ability tests than those in suits. 'We had assumed that looking good made people feel good and helped them perform better,' says lead author Richard Bell, Ph.D. Instead, discomformt may distract the brain and make it harder to retrieve information."

    Maybe we're on to something with this business casual thing after all.
     
  2. Toiletduck

    Toiletduck Well-Known Member

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    those tests were written biased against stylish people
    !!

    And what about those baggy jeans and t-shirts. Those must be comfortable as hell...but...
     
  3. ted

    ted Well-Known Member

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    those tests were written biased against stylish people
    !!

    And what about those baggy jeans and t-shirts. Those must be comfortable as hell...but...



    Baggy jeans phoey - I do my best work naked [​IMG]
     
  4. hobo

    hobo Well-Known Member

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    Do you have a copy of the actual study so that we can review the methodology and so on?
     
  5. rssmsvc

    rssmsvc Well-Known Member

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    I would agree if the suits were uncomfortable, however I have suits that are well fitting and every bit as comfortable as any pair of sweats.

    My "lucky" pants for school were a pair of gray cashmere trousers that were soft as butter and kept me comfortable in the overconditioned halls.
     
  6. Film Noir Buff

    Film Noir Buff Well-Known Member

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    It is interesting to note that the study makes an assumption that tailored clothes are "uncomfortable".

    Additionally, it makes another assumption, that a company (my assumption is these people werent observed just strolling about town but for an office setting) wants cognitive thinkers all the time. Sometimes during work hour it is better to have a team mentality. Also, part of its effect is on the eye of the observer and how they react to the person wearing the clothes. Without even touching on whether the subjects had ever "dressed up" before, this study appears it could be very flawed and pre-determined by "scientists" with an agenda.
     
  7. designprofessor

    designprofessor Well-Known Member

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    Check the ghost riding thread to see this theory in action!
     
  8. AlanC

    AlanC Well-Known Member

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    Additionally, it makes another assumption, that a company (my assumption is these people werent observed just strolling about town but for an office setting) wants cognitive thinkers all the time...

    [​IMG]
     
  9. Dan-

    Dan- Well-Known Member

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    Additionally, it makes another assumption, that a companywants cognitive thinkers all the time. Sometimes during work hour it is better to have a team mentality.
    Herd mentality? Better to not think? What? Are we talking about grocery bag packer? Mail room worker? Sweatshop? Assembly line?
     
  10. NewYorkBuck

    NewYorkBuck Well-Known Member

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    Ive also seen numerous studies where going from business formal to business casual significantly cuts productivity.

    Go figure....
     
  11. Gradstudent78

    Gradstudent78 Well-Known Member

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    Well the study was done on students... Most of which could afford to buy comfortable sweats, but I wouldn't say the same about the average students ability or knowledge to buy comfortable suits. Not to mention most students on the average campus would probably feel out of place wearing a suit day to day (at least as students). I'll be more impressed if it is reproduced on your average business person. However, I would say people probably do work better when they are comfortable, but wearing a suit doesn't have to be uncomfortable.
     
  12. Get Smart

    Get Smart Well-Known Member

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    If I were taking an exam I would rather wear sweats and a tshirt than a suit/tie. The closer I am to pajamas, the more relaxed I'm gonna feel because no matter how well fitting/made a suit is, it will never be as comfortable as sweats.
     
  13. lifersfc

    lifersfc Well-Known Member

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    The study is flawed. Just because students who wore suits performed worse does not mean that the sweats are responsible for diminished performance. The study does not establish causation, only correlation.

    For example, people who are intrinsically smarter and better-prepared might prefer to wear sweats. When I was in college, I would wear ripped jeans, flip flops, and a t-shirt in the back of a class full of blazered MBA students, yet I was the one setting the curve.
     
  14. odoreater

    odoreater Well-Known Member

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    The study is flawed. Just because students who wore suits performed worse does not mean that the sweats are responsible for diminished performance. The study does not establish causation, only correlation.

    For example, people who are intrinsically smarter and better-prepared might prefer to wear sweats. When I was in college, I would wear ripped jeans, flip flops, and a t-shirt in the back of a class full of blazered MBA students, yet I was the one setting the curve.


    I assumed that they told who to wear sweats and who to wear suits - they didn't just pick out people on campus who were already dressed that way. I doubt that the study is particularly flawed - in fact, it seems to make a lot of sense. Just like Get Smart said, I would go to tests wearing sweats and a t-shirt and felt a lot more comfortable that way than if I was wearing a suit. As some posters said, a suit does not necessarily have to be uncomfortable, but come on, a suit is never going to be more comfortable than a pair of sweats. Maybe there are people out there that would subjectively feel more comfortable in a suit because they were raised wearing suits or whatever, but objectively a pair of sweats is much more comfortable as a suit.

    Also, someone mentioned that there are studies that found decreased productivity with business casual. I'm not sure that productivity and cognative ability are the same thing, or even related all that much.

    And, no, I don't have a copy of the entire study. The quote I posted was just a little squib out of Men's Health.
     
  15. mrchapel

    mrchapel Well-Known Member

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    Interesting. Then again, I agree. Taking exams are stressful; being in comfortable clothing allows you to relax. There ARE some places where wearing a suit just doesn't make sense, and taking an exam is one of those.
     
  16. odoreater

    odoreater Well-Known Member

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    Interesting. Then again, I agree. Taking exams are stressful; being in comfortable clothing allows you to relax. There ARE some places where wearing a suit just doesn't make sense, and taking an exam is one of those.

    Yup. On the other hand, I imagine that if you are sitting in your office and the managing partner of your firm or your most important client walks in while you are wearing sweats, it would make you feel very uncomfortable.
     
  17. Nantucket Red

    Nantucket Red Well-Known Member

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    If I were taking an exam I would rather wear sweats and a tshirt than a suit/tie. The closer I am to pajamas, the more relaxed I'm gonna feel because no matter how well fitting/made a suit is, it will never be as comfortable as sweats.

    My suits fit as comfortably as pyjamas. So long as I can put my suit coat on or take it off at will, my suits are some of the most comfortable and useful items of clothing I own.

    Sweats are roughly equivalent of underwear; unless I'm wearing them in the house or for exercise, I wouldn't care to be seen in them.

    Merely being contained in a physical body can cause discomfort enough to be distracting.

    I should think you would perform best in the clothing that makes you feel both physically and mentally comfortable in a given situation.
     
  18. designprofessor

    designprofessor Well-Known Member

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    My suits fit as comfortably as pyjamas. So long as I can put my suit coat on or take it off at will, my suits are some of the most comfortable and useful items of clothing I own.

    Sweats are roughly equivalent of underwear; unless I'm wearing them in the house or for exercise, I wouldn't care to be seen in them.

    Merely being contained in a physical body can cause discomfort enough to be distracting.

    I should think you would perform best in the clothing that makes you feel both physically and mentally comfortable in a given situation.


    Sweat suits in public unless you are training tell the world -"that's it, I've given up.."
     
  19. odoreater

    odoreater Well-Known Member

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    Sweat suits in public unless you are training tell the world -"that's it, I've given up.."

    That's interesting because in college and law school, a lot of times the students that wore sweats to class and were not overly concerned with their physical appearance performed better than the students that were more concerned with physical appearance.

    I agree that wearing sweat suits to the office would be a terrible idea, but come on, you're telling me that you never wore sweats or shorts to a college class? In law school, not only did I wear sweats, but I also rarely shaved. I don't think that was a sign that I had given up, but a sign that I was so focussed that I didn't have time for the rest of that crap.

    EDIT: By the way, Nantucket Red, when I made the comment about people who were born in suits and feel more comfortable in their suits than in anything else, I had you in mind. [​IMG]
     
  20. mrchapel

    mrchapel Well-Known Member

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    Yup. On the other hand, I imagine that if you are sitting in your office and the managing partner of your firm or your most important client walks in while you are wearing sweats, it would make you feel very uncomfortable.

    Yes, but you missed the point. I wouldn't wear sweatpants in such a situation. I wouldn't wear sweatpants at all in any situation as I do not own any. I do dress casually and comfortably (jeans and a t-shirt) on exam days. My exams are not short by any stretch of the imagination, so it helps to be comfortable, which is really what the study was all about. To say nothing of the fact the chairs are like sitting on bricks.
     

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