The Power of Clothes

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Adam Navis and Liz Waid look at how clothing can influence how people feel. What is so special about clothes?

Voice 1  

Welcome to Spotlight. I’m Adam Navis.

Voice 2  

And I’m Liz Waid. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

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Voice 1  

Yoshiyuki Miyamae loves to design and create clothes. He is a successful clothes designer. As a young boy he wanted the clothes that he saw in stores, but they cost too much money. So he began to make his own clothes. When he was a university student, Miyamae was able to attend a clothing show by another Japanese designer, Issey Miyake. He saw how clothes could change how people felt. He explained to the Thailand Tatler,

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“How does what we wear influence how we feel? When we wear bright colours, we are in a bright mood. When we feel tired, we do not want to wear clothes that fit close to our body. To me, this is the power of clothes.”

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Clothes can simply protect us from rain, cold, or heat. But clothes can also change how people see us. They can change how we see ourselves. Clothes can even be a way to express our personality. Today’s Spotlight is on the power of clothes.

fashionably dress man
Photo by Dami Adebayo
Voice 1  

If someone told you, “You look nice today!” what would you imagine you are wearing? A colourful dress? A shirt and necktie? Maybe your favorite shirt or shoes? The answer depends on where you live. Clothes are different around the world. Also, there are different clothes for different situations or events.

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The clothes we wear communicate something. Some people like clothes that are wild and crazy. Other people like clothes that are quiet and simple. Each choice tells the world something. Clothes shape us in ways we may not even understand. For example, in school, many children all wear the same uniforms. Research shows that children who wear uniforms learn better in school. When people wear clothes for exercise, they are more likely to exercise. Even the color of our clothes can change how we feel. Gauri Sarda-Joshi wrote for Brain Fodder about this. She wrote,

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“While our mental state clearly affects the way we dress; the opposite may also be true. What we wear could affect how we react when we are sad, nervous, or feeling stress. Research says the fastest little fix for a bad day is to wear brightly colored clothes. Happy colors can improve how we feel and how much energy we have. We connect bright colors with happiness, days in the sun, and carefree times like the summer vacations when we were children.”

Photo by Sharon Garcia
Voice 1  

Our clothes can even change the way we think. In 2015, the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science published a study. The study looked at how students felt wearing different kinds of clothes. Formal clothing is clothing a person may wear to work or an important event. The study found that when the students dressed in formal clothing they were better at thinking about complex problems.

Voice 2  

Many jobs used to require people to wear formal clothing. This could be a suit and tie for a man and a dress for women. But now this is less common. People dress more in casual clothes — clothes that are more comfortable. But this does not mean formal clothing is going away. Michael Slepian is one of the authors of the study. He told the Atlantic,

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“I would even guess the effect this study found could get stronger if formal clothing is only worn for the most formal of situations. It takes a long time for symbols and our agreed meaning of those symbols to change. I would not expect formal clothes as the symbol of power to be leaving us anytime soon.”

Voice 1  

And it is not just formal clothing that can have power. Scarlett Curtis was only 14 years old when she needed a medical surgery. After the surgery, she was only able to walk short distances. She stayed at home. She often stayed in bed. She only dressed in soft, comfortable clothes that were easy to sleep in. But Curtis decided to go to school in New York City and make a change. She still found clothes that made her feel comfortable. But now her clothes also helped her feel better. She began to choose clothes would look nice too. She wrote in InStyle magazine,

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“It is easy to think of clothes as things that only touch the surface. We forget the truth that every choice we make each morning says something about who we are or who we want to be. Our clothes are the protection we put on against the battle that is life. As I move back into normal life I struggle with this; the strong connection between how I feel and what I am wearing.”

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And yet, not everyone in the world is able to make these choices so easily. Many people do not have a lot of clothes. And in some places this becomes a problem.

Photo by Eloise Ambursley
Voice 1  

In Myanmar there has been a lot of fighting between different groups. One result of this has been that over 100,000 people had to leave their homes in one area – Kachin State. Many of these people live in refugee camps. They do not have money or stores to buy clothes. The Japanese clothing company UNIQLO decided to work with the United Nations High Commission on Refugees to do something.

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UNIQLO gave clothing from Japan to the refugees in Myanmar. One woman who left her home in Myanmar explained to the UNHCR why this was important:

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“Some of us even had no choice than to leave by foot. We heard the gun shots and we escaped. We could carry one or two sets of clothes. What we are wearing is what we brought from home. When we left we took some things with us, but not a lot. We did not think it would take so long before we could return to our villages.”

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Even in a bad situation, good clothes can make people feel a little better. People living in refugee camps do not care about the latest trends in fashion. They want new, clean clothes. It does not solve all their problems. But it does help them feel better.

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What about you? Do you have a favorite piece of clothing? How do you feel when you wear it? Tell us about it. You can leave a comment on our website. Or email us at You can also comment on Facebook at

Voice 1  

The writer of this program was Adam Navis. The producer was Michio Ozaki. The voices you heard were from the United States and the United Kingdom. All quotes were adapted for this program and voiced by Spotlight. You can listen to this program again, and read it, on the internet at This program is called, ‘The Power of Clothes’.

Voice 2  

Look for our free official app in the Google Play Store and in iTunes. We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye.


Do you have a favorite piece of clothing? How do you feel when you wear it? Write your answer in the comments below.

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  • “Research shows that children who wear uniforms learn better in school”
    i think the reason is people don’t need to think “what should i wear today” and they have more time to do homework. LOL
    My girlfriend also like shopping, that is a expensive hobbly. when she happy, she shopping. when she unhappy, she shopping too. when she have money, she shopping. when she don’t have money, she shopping with me. i have never see a dress she wear in second time and always told me “i don’t have anything to wear”

  • There are some clothes when I wear them, I fell more comfortable and confident. For example thub and shimag. Because they represent my culture and customs.

  • Yes, I do. My fovorite piece of clothing is red shirt and blue jeans. I’am feeling better when I get it for going to school, a party etc…

  • I like to wear a comfortable clothes , and l prefer a clothes of summer l feel of happinesses when l wear it

  • From:
    To: spotlight program
    Subject: to answer to the questions below
    Date: Wednesday 05, August 2020
    Location: São Paulo city São Paulo Brasil

    Dear Liz Waid, Adam Navis, and Michio Ozaki

    First, I want to thank you for bringing us more one great article, thank you very much.
    Question 1 – Do you have a favorite piece of clothing?
    Answer 1 – Yes, I do. My favorite piece of clothing is a blue jean trousers and a white T – shirt. And as a footwear I like to wear a brown or blue sneakers.
    Question 2 – How do you feel when you wear it?
    Answer 2 – I feel comfortable and I feel in freedom to walk.
    God bless you
    Severino Ramos

    • I think every human prefer Some thing On others and clothing including, in islam religion, the prophet Muhammad peace be upon him encourage us to wearing awhite cloth because awhite colours it is feel about happy and cheer

  • I love differents ways of wearing. I am used to saying that I have many styles. I agree that the clothes are ourselves expression.

  • I love the confortable clothes, my favorites cloths are the dress, and sport clothes. I dont think that the clothes are soo important. Thaks for this history, good bye!!!

  • İ love wears a white Top and a blue pants jeans , i felt so comfortable when i wear it , also , i should take with me another piece for outside its tall jacket .

  • Thanks Spotlight.
    I don’t have many clothes but I also have some favourite ones. When attending a party or an important event, I will wear formal clothing. At that time, I feel very confident. And at home, I only wear comfortable clothes.

  • my favotite clothes are the soft ,bright one ..l also like the ones which make female shap to the body .l feel cofortable and confident when l wear them

  • I like a oversize T-shirt with short jeans. When I wear it I feel awsome because that style make me feel confident and comfortable

  • I am a different girl I think. I do not like colorful garments, I prefer comfortable set of clothes, loose clothes, the best is sport clothes which I can easy move and do activities. I feel it takes time to prepare clothes and make up and do other stuff so people suppose I am like a guy. Indeed, I am completely 100% girl. I have full set of shoes but do not have any high heels. I barely buy dress instead of jeans and shirts. I understand that clothes make power and it is worth to put on nice clothes and respect lookers as people usually said. However, I am difficult to follow it and most of the time I free in wearing and get scolds from my parents. Is there any girl like me?

  • Hi there,
    My favorite piece of clothing is Abaia because I’m musleem, this is very comfortably, I can wear any thing under it when if i go anywhere.

  • Oh i do. I like my long black shirt a lot because I feel better when I put it on and I feel more confident and it is comfortable. I think it attracts people and they admit it

  • yes I have
    my favorite casual clothes and like wear a dress
    l like bright color than dark color
    when l wear new clothes , l feel happy

  • in fact i dont give a value to may clothes but iwant to wear a clean clothes and my favorite color is grey and black and white

  • I had clothes from my big brother, not because I am no wealthy or something like that but when I like some clothes and be small of him he gives to me he clothes and I am so happy he has a good choice of clothes

  • I have some pieces i love to wear it when i have special occasion,incontrast i have alot of clothes i hate it though i bought it with my self personally,why? i don’t know why.

  • I have a favorite picece of clothing, it’s my blue dress. I usually wear it in the party. When I weared it, i fell myself better and confidence.

  • I like using comfortable clothes and colorful,
    When I use a soft color immediately I fell sad and tired. The colorful fill me of energy.

  • Yes I have clothes but not too much, and I it effects on personality . But when we wear our clothes should think about those who don’t have it.

  • My name is Viktoriia.
    I like to wear new clothes
    I feel good and happiness
    My favourite colour is green
    My best clothes are many pretties dresses. It is a big dream for each girl

  • I think clothes are part of the shell, which does not represents the person who is wearing them.
    my favorite sort of clothes is simple, practical, casual and dark colored clothes .
    i don’t feel any difference when wearing bright colors.
    in the Hebrew society, we have this hearsay “Eat what you like , Wear what people like” which i hate and don’t follow.
    thank you for this great app and program

  • Any clothes in black color is favorite to me , but there is a shirt with a trink I love to wear it and I feel so comfortable and happy.

  • I usually like casual clothes in my dail life and formal in the work. I wear a skirt with shirt and I think When I wear a formal jacket i became very elegent. I don’t like wearing dresses or pants i feel very stress in such clothes.

  • I like white clothes, because it is colour of my religion Islam. In my opinion white colour represents the truth, freedom, honesty and justice. All the mentioned qualities are my best ones.

  • I like T-Shirts but i have just one; i feel more comfortable when i wear it, olso it doesn’t need to be folded and this is the most important thing.

  • I have 2 clothes I love. I usually wear it during formal ceremonies. for example: Mass celebrations, major celebrations of the year. I feel cuter and more brave when I wear that cute outfit.

  • I love summer the most season because I can wear my favorite pair of clothes. During summer I wear short pants and a loose t-shirt it’s comfortable and refreshing.

  • – umm yes but it depends , I don’t have a certain piece for entire my life no I love changing my outfit . The changing is a part from my personality .

    – when I wear clothe and I be totally pleased on it . I be confident and happy

  • Actually, I have a comfortable T shirt I love to wear wherever I go . It was gray color I think it has tearing now I didn’t wear it any more but I always trying to buy gray T shirt .

  • Everyday I’m wearing workout clothing as I’m working in a gym it is comfortable for work , but the most comfortable clothes that I really love and feel comfy and free when I wear it home clothing

  • I like to wear a oversized clothes. It makes me feel comfortable. I always wear simple and quite clothes. Because i think it is suitable for me.

  • Yes, I have two fav pieces of clothes I like workout clothes and important event clothes. I feel like on cloud

  • I love shopping, but i don’t spend much money to buy clothes.
    I prefer wearing brightly and colorful clothes, it’s make my full of energy.
    Maybe my favorite clothes is jean skirt and purple hoody.
    My favorite color is purple i love it so much.

  • my favourite clothes that contains pictures of forest everything and related to the nature, also when it has some pictures of cute animals, for example: rabbit, turtle.
    When I wear them, I feel like Im special and Im totally different from the others.

  • I think it depends on your condition. If you are rich, you will have a lot of pieces of clothing. Besides, everyone has their own favorite clothing. When you wear it, maybe you feel better and especially, you are in the good mood. That mood makes you relax and happy. In my opinion, people in the world like wearing the latest trends in fashion Try the best in order to enjoy your life in a way reasonable.

  • My favorite pieces of clothing is a red sweater, I wear it with a blue jeans. When I wear this outfit, I feel good and happy. However, I have other favorite outfits.

  • my favorite piece of clothing is sweaters .
    it really let me feel relax and comfortable after a tough day

  • I think that wear clothing that you like, make you feel well and safe. I have a few clothes and I’m trying that the new clothing fix with my body, because I have bought clothe that in other people fix well but when I try on it I don’t like.

  • Each one has a different style of dress. Some people like a simple and comfortable style. Others like a rebellious and crazy style. For me, I also have my own style of dress. I like dressing in T-shirt with jeans. when I wear them, I feel comfortable and this’s who I am. I feel confident when I meet people. When I do anything, I don’t feel squishy and uncomfortable wearing them. Moreover, I wear them in any situation. This is my style.

  • I have white shirt and beige pantaloon when I wear this clothes I feel comfortable and relaxed.

  • yes,i have a perfect shirt. it’s plaid,its colors are red,black and gray.
    i really feel great when i wear it.i feel confident and comfortable. i dont want to lose it because it’s the best!

  • actually, the most favorite piece for me is PAJAMAS it’s so comfortable, i like to wear it all day, now I’m kinda know why I’m so lazy

  • I don’t spend a lot of money on clothes. But my favorite clothes are white T-shirt, jeans and sneakers. I detest all affectation so I choose soft colors especially white. When I wear my favorite clothes, I feel confident and self-motivated. It feels like I can do anything in the world when I wear that. Also, since I have light skin, I also look better when I wear white clothes, with a white shirt it makes me look brighter and cleaner. As for jeans and sneakers it helps me move more comfortably.

  • I’m Alex from Colombia

    Yes, I do. I love my clothing, specially when we gonna get lunch wiht my family a sunday, I feel de-stressed and powerfull man. My favorite colour are blue and gray.

    Thank a lot.

    Have a good day.

  • I’m a person, Who like the perfect and want to wear beautiful clothes. Because, When I wear the beautiful dress, fit shoes, I feel more confident. It make me feel the day is beautiful, and from that, my productivity is more effective.

    I’m very love wearing dress, pink dress and I usually wear it in special days in my life.

  • I’m probably a person that most people would think wouldn’t care about fashion, but I enjoy it and I try hard to dress well, it gives me confidence. I believe fashion is important

  • I don’t have a favorite piece of clothing, but decent clothes make me feel so much more confident, especially when I’m out on the street.

  • I like uniform. Because of some reasons. Firstly, it shows equality, everyone is the same, no richer no poorer. Second, it is usually comfortable, it fits with many people, even you’re short or tall, thin or fat. Finally, it shows you are part of an organization, and when you wear a uniform it means you are proud of your organization.

  • Clothes are impportant, especially in each situation.
    However, it is not easy for me to buy the right ones. Many times, i was happy to select a cloth at shop but using for the first time, I am doubt about my decision.

  • I absolutely love all of my outfits, and I only purchase them when I am
    completely in love with them. Costumes include not only clothes,but also hats,
    shoes, and other accessories as well as make-up. Costumes, in my opinion,
    reflect a part of the wearer’s personality and esthetic. No matter where I go, I
    make it a point to dress comfortably and decently. Due to the fact that they
    make me feel more confident when I wear clothing that I enjoy and that fits
    well on me. However, I avoid dressing in an outlandish manner in order to
    avoid making others feel uncomfortable. In contrast to the way I dress when I
    go to school, when I hang out with my friends, I dress ina more sophisticated
    manner when we go out. In general, allow the costumes to instill more selfassurance in your character. The things that make you more beautiful do not
    have to be expensive; simple things can also make you more beautiful if you
    know how to put them together properly

  • Heeeey, I’m mohi aldeen from sudan
    I’m srtongly interesting to hear your broadcast..however,
    Acutely, I’m someone who care very much about what i wear and how i look in other eyes… And deeply believes that clothes is one of sources that make people interested on you❤️

  • Yes l have a favorite clothing , dress black and jeans blue with t-shert black but I liked to wear a comfortable clothes in home, soft dress or pajamas with beautiful slepers she a feel happy and good also strong

  • In my point of view having too many pieces of clothes is not important. Having a few pieces that are comfortable for for met isbetter than having a lot of pieces that aren’t comfortable. I I prefer things that are simple

  • Beautiful clothes really help me more confident. Beside when I wear my favorite clothes feel very happy. Fashion is part of live. However, I only buy what i need. So, i don’t have too many clothes.

  • Hi. My name is Dung. I am from Vietnam. I really want to wear the traditional clothes. ‘”Ao dai” is the most beautiful cloth of Vietnamese’s women”. I feel pround when I wear traditional clothes.

  • hello
    since the nature of my job i dress formal and i do like some paces in my wordrope most of them are blazers.i do like them because they are simple to matche them with anything alse.

  • For sure i have i favorites mostly it is will be comfy~fit me good
    a lot of clothes have weird waist
    i am a girl but i really do hate shopping online or in the market i get tired quickly
    As the school uniform it is really helped me ! i don’t have enough time to think about what i will wear next but now i will moved to collage l will have to face some problem about my clothes

  • When I wear some clothes , I fell comfortable and better , specially if I wear THOP (which’s traditional clothes in Saudi Arabia) I have more confident in myself and be more happier .

  • I like wearing clothes, comfortable and soft because the weather in my country often severe heat and sunny. And dress clothes bright colors help reduce heat sun. Thank you team spotlight. I have appreciated this work.

  • To be honest I have a lot of clothes and when a wear a beautiful clothes, I feel more confident and elegant also it help me in social relationships
    But now I decided not to rely only on my appearance, So I started to reading books and developing my skills

  • yes, I prefer to wear comfortable clothes no matter if those clothes were genes and a shirt or long clothes if I feel I’m comfortable that will be fine for me, and if talk about color that depends on my mood if I was happy or exiting I prefer the bright color like blue, red or pink and vase versa

  • Hi, Actually I like wearing bright dresses cuz they make me feel comfortable and free like a butterfly! ^^

  • Do you have a favorite piece of clothing? How do you feel when you wear it?
    No I haven’t a fav clothes but i like to wear something comfortable and beautiful clothes that suit me and my face

  • Hi for me I like a quiet clothes and I’m wearing special clothes just important events, I noticed the podcast doesn’t talk about traditional clothes!!

  • I LOVE fashion nevertheless as much as I love fashion I don’t like to stick to one type of style, because iam a type of person who wants to enjoy it all and look always for the best and what expresses me best though I may be prone to choosing bright and colourful choice of clothing

  • ihave clothes but not to much ut i have favirot clothe its lack dress and is very comfortale when i go to wedding its vey nice dress when i wear it i feel like princess and its very elegant i relly like it .

  • Of course i have in my country the beautifull piece of clothes
    When i wear the beautifull clothes i feel good and happy, also the nice clothes improve my self confidence and be comfortable.

  • I like to wear the comfortable clothes with a little dark colors. My favourite clothes is Jean and T-shirt. It makes me feel more confident and dynamic person. Almost women is like to buy clothes and I’m one of them.

  • In fact,when I buy abd wear new clothes I feel good. In Saudi Arabia, men formal clothes are thoob and head scarf called shemagh or ghutrah.

  • Yes, I have. My favorite piece is t-shirt.
    I feel with comfortable and it give me positive energy.

  • I have many favourite piece of clothes that when, I wear them l feel strong, more confident and full of beauty.

  • My favorite piece of clothes is a large dress private for the girls muslims. I feel when I wear it by confortable and happy and I hope all the woman in the world depends for the culture of muslims and I so excited to try wear el hijab because el hijab is the better clothes in the world.

  • I do like formal clothing especially when I’m studying! it makes me thinking about complex problems …when I’m studying outside I wear abaya, hijab and I’m sure every Muslim girl feels comfortable and strong wearing it.

  • After I listened to this, I felt better because now i know that i have good clothes, and i felt sad for people who leave their home
    I hope then to get better live ❤️‍, i thank allah because i have good clothes and comfortable house al hamd le allah

  • Hi i am Omar, How i feel when wearing the new clothes maybe changes, but not every day, And sure not when i was in refugee tent, because when i was there i have to think about more important things.
    Thank you for this topic

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