27/10/2016
It’s official, because Tim Gunn said so.

Words by

Bianca O'Neill

There aren’t many things Tim Gunn can’t do. 

He can give WTF side eye like a mofo. He can give advice on streetwear that’s directional, while wearing a totally unidirectional three-piece plaid suit. And most of all, he can judge you, and tell you he’s judging you, without coming off like a total dick. 

He’s just giving us all fatherly advice, yo. 

And the latest form of judgement coming from Mr Gunn is that yes, dressing down changes the way other people perceive you. But it also changes how you perceive yourself. 

Talking at an event on October 19, Gunn spoke about how his own choice of super-strict suiting alleviates his anxiety about what other people will think of him – because suiting subconsciously tells people you’re professional. 

So basically, while Liz Lemon appeared to be having a great career while also working on her night cheese in a onesie, apparently it was all a TV sitcom lie. 

I’m going to have to change my whole approach to life now, great. Like us freelancers didn’t have enough problems.

He also stressed the connection between how a person chooses to dress and how they subconsciously act as a result, saying: “it’s a very important responsibility, and we need to accept that. I believe in the power and appropriateness of semiotics.” 

And it turns out Mr Gunn is right – scientists recently conducted a study to assess how clothing affected a person’s behaviour, and found that when they wore a suit, they actually communicated differently. For example, instead of using functional speech like “I’ll lock the door,”, they’d use more visionary speech like “I’ll secure the house.”

It’s like when someone upgrades their ankle boots from Kmart to Acne Studios, and then five seconds later changes their Instagram description from ‘Blogger’ to ‘Creative Director’. Or when they wear a borrowed Thurley dress to the races and suddenly think they’re on the Emirates Marquee list as a VIP guest. 

Or, you know, when someone wears activewear to brunch with a full face of perfect non-sweaty makeup and they blab on about burpees and quinoa.

* Tim Gunn side eye *

In other words, I can’t wear trackpants with chocolate stains on them all day, tuck them into bedsocks and transition them straight into a bed-based fromage smashing session, and still respect myself in the morning. 

Look, it’s all very well and good to know these science-y things, I guess,. But personally, I think I’m going to stick with my night cheese trackies. 

I have no problem screaming at my husband for bed-eating support through the closed door as I curse Netflix for asking me if I’m still watching Arrested Development reruns after six straight eps. 

Me: “Dude! Bring me my ice cream eating thingy!”
Him: “You mean a spoon?”
Me: “[pauses]…. Are you wearing a suit?”

Turns out you CAN have your night cheese and eat it too.

Follow Bianca working on her night cheese at @_thesecondrow.

For more on how dressing up can change your behaviour, we've fleshed it out here.

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