Fashion is a highly personal form of self-expression, and the contents of your closet can reveal a lot about who you are and how you see yourself. Are you someone who shops primarily for comfort or for a name brand? Do you try to blend in or stand out? There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to personal style, but it’s important to be aware of how your choices can affect your life.

1. Your clothing choices can affect the way you think.

Studies have shown that when people are dressed more formally, they tend to think more abstractly. A formal clothing style, like a business suit, creates a sense of distance from others, and this feeling of distance seems to promote an ability to look at the big picture and reason in a more abstract way. Fashion choices that enable you to take a broader perspective on a problem or situation can potentially make you a better and more creative problem solver. This is not to say that everyone should dress formally all the time, but when abstract thinking is desirable, more formal attire can be a benefit.

Power dressing has also taken a more personalized approach, based on how some top executives and business leaders dress more casually these days. After all, not all business deals happen in the boardroom; some occur in more relaxed settings like the golf course or on a yacht. Pick pieces from Paul & Shark to be leisurely yet splendidly dressed while being self-assured and serious for business. A flexible style and focused mindset make a good match.

2. Your clothing can affect how attractive you are to others.

This may seem like a no-brainer to anyone who has spent hours getting ready for a first date, but researchers have actually done studies to determine the specific factors in clothing choices that can make people more attractive to potential mates. For example, the color red has been shown to make both men and women look more attractive to each other. Psychologists say that red signifies health and fertility in nearly all species.  Also, research has demonstrated that clothing can have a stronger influence on another person’s perception than physical characteristics. In other words, the clothes you choose are the key to other people’s first impression of you.

3. The clothes you wear can affect your job performance.

Clothing plays a surprisingly big role in the way people do their jobs, due to a phenomenon known as enclothed cognition. Most people tend to have a mental image of what a competent professional looks like in their field. Scientists wear lab coats, for example, and executives wear tailored suits. Wearing clothing that matches a professional ideal tends to make people perform their jobs more competently. If you work at home, you may find that you get more done if you give up the pajamas or sweat pants and put on a more professional outfit.

4. Your style choices can influence how you see yourself.

Clothing doesn’t just reflect the way we see ourselves; style choices can actually shape our self-perception. Comfortable clothes, for example, can make you feel relaxed, while formal clothes can make you feel more competent and powerful. Name brand clothes from top designers can make you feel better about your social status and give you more confidence. Wearing stylish dresses from trendy boutiques can make you feel more feminine. In general, people feel good about themselves when they feel well-dressed, and this is equally true for men and women of all ages.

As you can see, style choices are about so much more than self-expression. The next time you get dressed, think about how you want others to see you and, even more importantly, how you want to see yourself.