Enclothed Cognition

Feeling Sexy – Enclothed Cognition

I have wanted to write about clothes and how they make me feel for a while now. I love clothes and I love dressing up. What I wear can really change the way that I feel about myself and I have found that if I feel good, I tend to get more compliments too, so I can only assume that something about me also looks better. It turns out that, actually, this is not just in my head. It is a based on a phenomenon called enclothed cognition, which essentially means that clothes really do change the way that you feel.

Enclothed Cognition

We introduce the term “enclothed cognition” to describe the systematic influence that clothes have on the wearer’s psychological processes. We offer a potentially unifying framework to integrate past findings and capture the diverse impact that clothes can have on the wearer by proposing that enclothed cognition involves the co-occurrence of two independent factors—the symbolic meaning of the clothes and the physical experience of wearing them. 

Sciene Direct

If you want to know more, the idea is explained further by the short video that I have added at the bottom of this post and, although the experiment was conducted using a lab coat, I was interested that it made sense of the ways that we use clothing during play to make a difference to our own mindsets. I wrote about our use of accessories to aid mindset for the SWC, and we also use clothing and lingerie in similar ways. In fact, thinking of a lab coat, HL does own one of these and when he uses it for medical scenes, it immediately changes the way he behaves as well as the way that I respond to him.

Accessories and Mindset

This goes further than just thinking about what we wear as part of play, to tapping in to how accessories can make us feel. Sometimes certain things will bring with them a particular memory and trigger a feeling based on how they have been used before, or on what our previous experience of them has been. Read More

So Can Clothes Really Change the Way We Feel?

While being smarter is always appealing, sometimes I would like to be sexier, so it seemed like a stroke of fate when my new lingerie set arrived yesterday and I could conduct an experiment of my own. All change is relative, so it is probably prudent to provide some background. For the sake of clarity, if the arrival of new lingerie always made me feel sexy then the experiment would not necessarily be a reliable one. This is not the case though.

Potential Barriers to Feeling Sexy

Unrealistic Comparisons and Shopping on a Budget

In reality, I found the set online and naturally, it looked super hot on the model. She looked great in the image and I wanted to look like that! Having an image of a lingerie model in your mind when you try something on can be a fool’s errand, of course, but that wasn’t the only issue. The set was in the sale so although it was a bargain, I wasn’t convinced it would be big enough. I would usually buy a small or medium but this was only available in XS/S. I hummed and hawed and then went ahead and ordered it, hoping it would stretch to fit.

Inaccurate Sizing and Lived-in Bodies

Sizing on lingerie always stresses me out. There is seemingly no rhyme or reason and so it is very difficult to tell from looking, and even from using the size guide, what will fit. The varying shapes of our bodies can’t really be accommodated in one measurement for bust and one for waist, but that is often all you have to go on as a guide. In addition, the doubts about how I will look are always there. I am too lumpy, too bumpy and too old to ever look how I would like to. I never know if my shape will be the right one for the item and so it is a bit of a gamble.

Positive Factors to Positive Psychology

Knowing What Suits

It has helped over the years getting to know what sorts of styles work for my shape and my good bits and bad bits. I love some of the strappy items but I will often look like a string of sausages or a tied joint of meat, so they are out. Things which are meant to be sexy are frequently high cut which means that they tend to dig in to the layer of padding which coats my hips and bisect me, so they are also avoided. However, cami style pieces which cover my tummy are good. My legs are quite long so something with stockings is nice too.

Sexy Packaging

The packaging when it arrived, was lovely. Already I felt a little sexier – things were looking up. I did feel some anxiety though. I knew how I wanted to look but wasn’t sure it was going to happen. The material was gorgeously stretchy which was a plus, so lots of give. Things mentally took another turn upwards. And this is why I think that clothes can affect the way that you feel. Psychologically, for me, it is a complex process and at each stage things can go well and things can go less well.

Changing Cognition

Feeling Desirable

Although a little on the small side around the cup, it seemed like a pretty good fit. Phew – breathe out. No: Don’t breath out yet! Keep the tummy in at all times, remember. I got enough of an idea the first try to see the potential and then I let that sit with me a while. I find that this is often best. Feeling sexy is about a response for me, so I wanted to show HL. I found the right stockings and the right shoes, and tried it on with the whole set today for him. It worked. He seemed to really like it which means his face and voice changes and he usually tries to touch me. Yup – sexier already.

Clothes - enclothed cognition and feeling sexy

Clothes - enclothed cognition

“Do you think you could take a picture?”
What? I never ask this unless I really think it will go well, so there is another piece of proof that the lingerie was working. We took a couple of pictures and then came another surprise. I suggested trying a picture with a black jacket I had that I thought might make for a good look. What was I now? Some sort of lingerie model? I was on a roll. Fortunately feeling sexy didn’t stop there. I was horny enough to have a quick buzz after I had taken it off and now am sharing one of the pictures we took. Yet more to data for my experiment!

Although this was just a simple example, I do believe that clothes can affect the way that I feel. A nice lingerie set or everyday knickers? A pair of heels or trainers? Seamed stockings or 120 denier tights? They all suggest different things for me on a subconscious level. That is not to say that I will always choose the first of each pair, there is a time and a place after all, but wearing something that makes me feel a certain way will also affect how I think and behave too.

Enclothed cognition works. Experiment complete. For now.

I have added this page as I would like to explore more about feeling good, so check it out if you would like to know more.

Posted in Feeling Good, Style, Throwing Caution To The Window.

9 Comments

  1. I totally understand how clothing can change the way you feel and perceive things. A new lace thong with no evidence of color fading or a strappy bra that holds the girls in place just right…definitely something reserved for special nights because it makes me feel sexier. It was interesting reading a bit more on that theory.

    • Thank you sassy. I am the same in that if I make the effort I definitely feel more confident. I also have certain clothes for different situations 😊

  2. This makes SO much sense to me. Clothes affect my mood and my mood affects what I am wearing. There definitely is a link between the two, and I have actually stopped buying lingerie online because of the disappointment I have every time. I have so much that I would love to wear, but for some I would need to lose a TON of weight to be able to so. Great post!
    ~ Marie xox

  3. As you know I am very keen on an experiment. So when that is combined with lingerie that of course is going to get my attention. For me the wearing of sexy lingerie keeps some mystery and makes me yearn to see underneath, those images are a fitting example. You look magnificent, especially with a cheeky gloved finger.

  4. I think we all have a style we like and things we feel more attractive in. When we feel attractive we radiate it to others around us.
    Great post

  5. So much of this resonated for me as well. I love corsets as they push and pull in just the right ways, so wearing one gets me in the sexy mindset and draws his interest too. Great post Missy!

  6. I have always felt this about shoes – what is on my feet really makes a difference to how i am viewing my self at the time – even if i am naked with just shoes or boots
    May xx

  7. What a fascinating concept. I’ve seen this myself – clothes, your surroundings, the things you interact with… all of them play into your mood and your sensory experience. Makes me want to experiment with the way I dress.

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