The formula for fashion success

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The perfect outfit. Is there one? Parents, professors or friends can tell you all the time how important it is to dress up, but how does your look influence your life?

In an article from New York Magazine, Tanya Basu said that how you look can actually determine how you view the world. Researchers with the Social Psychological and Personality Science journal did a test with 60 undergraduate students to see how their clothing choices really affected them. “The students ranked how much better or worse they were dressed compared to the average person, then answered a ten-question non-academic survey that had two answers: one abstract, the other concrete,” said Basu.

“The students ranked how much better or worse they were dressed compared to the average person, then answered a ten-question non-academic survey that had two answers: one abstract, the other concrete,” said Basu.

Students who were dressed nicer chose the more abstract answer while students wearing casual clothes chose concrete answers. The abstract answer looked more big picture and the concrete answer focused on specific concepts. While this may not seem important, people who chose the abstract answer (and dressed better) would be better suited for a creative field like arts or literature while those who chose the concrete answer are the future engineers, scientists and mathematicians of the world.

While this may not seem important, people who chose the abstract answer (and dressed better) would be better suited for a creative field like arts or literature while those who chose the concrete answer are the future engineers, scientists and mathematicians of the world.

But your clothing choice matters outside of the academic sphere. Studies have shown that the choices we make at the threshold of our closets can determine our job chances, whether we make a positive first impression, and how we perceive ourselves,” said Alina Simone on Slate.com.

Psychologist Kurt Gray actually found a formula for fashion success:

Fashionableness = -.50m2 + .62m + .49 where m = matching z-score

“Don’t be too matchy-matchy,” Simone said.

Gray and other researchers began by testing subjects on color combinations with different articles of clothing—pants, tops, skirts, jackets, etc. What they found was that people abhorred outfits that clashed but also outfits that were too matched.

In other words, the perfect outfit is based on the “Goldilocks principle.” Just right, Simone said.

This “just right” outfit will help your sartorial success, but not necessarily your academic success. As Baus points out, “if you didn’t study up for a lit exam, for example, wearing your best interview suit won’t magically make you do better. But there’s reason to at least consider sweatpants as the perfect outfit for both Netflix and calculus.”

If you’re looking for the perfect outfit for class, I’ll share some advice: stick with the basics. Guys and girls alike can follow this simple outfit formula. Start with a basic pair of jeans and white T-shirt. This is a no-fail base for any look you want to put together.

With spring around the corner, ditch your puffy winter coat and bulky boots for a classic denim jacket and the ever-popular Adidas sneakers. From there, “add just enough individualistic flair to hint you are the kind of person who collects vintage Japanese textiles or appreciates records on vinyl, but not so much as to ignite suspicion you are on your way to a cosplay convention,” says Simone. Accessories are what differentiate you from the rest of the campus crowd, so make this basic look your own.

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