What do you think about socks? Do you actually think about your socks? Or do you just grab any pair that will do, most often a bland nondescript pair?
It turns out that the socks that you wear can tell a great deal about you—as well as determine how other people see you. And, as a result, your socks can actually have quite a bit of influence on how successful you may be!
Read on to learn more.
Socks are like cuff links or shoelaces: No one ever notices them until they do.
That may seem like an obvious statement, but research shows that areas like these, where the vast majority of us are boring and conformists, can be a place where a flash of individuality stands out most. And that individuality can have major consequences.
A study recently published in the Journal of Consumer Research recently found that noncomformists—the guy wearing crazy socks, or orange shoelaces—may be viewed as both more competent and skilled, as well as holding higher status, than peers who follow social norms.
In other words? Wearing those crazy socks can increase the likelihood that your peers will see you as brilliant, creative, and successful.
As the study authors—Harvard’s Silvia Bellezza, Francesca Gino, and Anat Keinan—note, “We proposed that, under certain conditions, nonconforming behaviours can be more beneficial to someone than simply trying to fit in. In other words, when it looks deliberate, a person can appear to have a higher status and sense of competency.”
And if we think about this, especially in the corporate world, it makes sense. Say you’re meeting with a new lawyer, and note that below their expensively tailored suit they’re wearing bright yellow socks. The boldness of their sock choice may surprise you, but it also makes you more likely to think of that lawyer as rebellious, an individual, willing to go against the grain. It takes a certain boldness to make that stylistic choice, and you are more likely to think well of someone willing to take that wardrobe risk.
Additionally, a study from Northwestern University suggests that truly bold socks, those with the crazy patterns and stunning colors, may also help by introducing what is called embodied cognition. As Dr Adam Galinsky, the study’s author and social psychologist, notes, wearing crazy socks can boost our own view of ourselves, giving us confidence and bravery, which in turn helps us achieve greater success.
That combination of our peers thinking more highly of us and seeing our own self-confidence boosted by crazy socks makes us far more likely to achieve success.
So if you’re a fan of bright, flashy, crazy socks, what are you waiting for? Start wearing them to work! Science shows it’s likely to help you, and it’ll help you feel better about yourself, too!
*This content was inspired by an amazing article that can be found here.