The Effects of Colours and Clothes

Just a few short thoughts about the effects colours and what I wear have on my mood and perception.

So, I’ve known for a while that people who wear a lab-coat during exams get better results because subconsciously it makes them feel smarter and they feel more confident. I guess most people have heard of such experiments already, if not you can search for them on the internet for yourself, I’m too lazy right now, sorry.

For many years now I’ve shown pretty strong reactions to colours – both positive and negative – because some colours give me the impression of a bad taste in my mouth or make me feel depressed. How clothes fit have a strong effect on my mood and self-perception as well. In very loose clothing I can’t think properly – when I want to study or be really productive I have to wear decent, fitting clothes (e.g. a pair of comfortable jeans and a shirt that is neither too short nor of a weird colour) and my hair either up or tightly braided. Maybe it’s because loose clothes and hair make me feel lazy and sleepy, and for some reason also not very smart (maybe just distracting because of sensory issues?); and an issue of gender notions comes in as well, I believe. In very feminine clothes I start acting really feminine (gasp!) and think of stuff which is more traditionally connected to female roles. Not helpful for feeling like a scientist/researcher! University is a place and state of mind for me where I try to be more neutral. Neither overly feminine nor trying to be more masculine than I already act when I’m in competition mode. Just a plain human being with a lot of curiosity and five years of linguistic training behind them.

But new for me was today’s epiphany that when it comes to capoeira, I feel less confident when I wear my black sweatpants instead of the usual white uniform, which in turn makes me play so much worse than usual. I’ve noticed this feeling every now and then (and it was conscious enough for me to put aside the orange sweatpants I had worn before the black pair) but never this clearly. I guess it’s a combination of black being a heavy colour (making my legs feel twice as chunky and heavy when I look down at them) and a similar effect to the one with the lab-coat I mentioned above. Wearing the more formal white attire and the cord that comes with it is a constant reminder of what I’ve reached so far, that I’m part of something bigger where people have accepted me and seen my progress, and that I should try my best because still playing like a complete newbie after three years of training would be a shame, because I can do better than that.

Sadly my abadá is made from synthetic fibres, something I really dislike (especially in summer) and try to avoid. Last year I tried to find white pants made from cotton, but I had no luck finding ones that were stretchy/wide enough, had belt loops, and weren’t very transparent. It’s high time for a decent sewing machine …

 

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2 thoughts on “The Effects of Colours and Clothes

  1. So true! I had a business meeting today for the first time in ages and dressed accordingly. It changed my approach to the meeting – I have been living in joggers for a while now so it was good to feel ‘powerful’!

    • Oh yes, clothes definitely make the (wo)man :) I’m glad you found something to wear that made you feel powerful! A friend recently tried to convince me to buy a blazer, but stuff like that makes me feel too much like I’m dressed up as somebody else; so I’ll have to find something else that’s more my cup of tea and still looks semi-formal. I’m happy I’m not in business – university is so much more laid back when it comes to looks, at least in the humanities!

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