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Description: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a record number of employees began working remotely. These workers have a wider array of attire options, from work outfits (which are consistent with the content of work) to home outfits (which are consistent with remote work settings). Media accounts suggest this shift has created a new outfit—business tops with casual bottoms. Although this “Zoom mullet” outfit has been called “the perfect pandemic work-from-home attire”, it is not fully consistent with either the work or home context. To investigate the psychological consequences of attire on remote workers, we conducted two multi-day experiments. We randomly assigned remote workers, both within- and between-participants, to wear Work Attire, Home Attire, or Mixed Attire (work-attire-on-top/home-attire-on-bottom), and measured their authenticity, power, and engagement at work. The experiments produced three key findings. First, Home Attire increased authenticity and engagement. Second, Work Attire did not consistently increase power. Finally, the media-hyped Mixed Attire outfit did not produce any psychological or work-related benefits. To understand these effects, we introduce the concepts of enclothed harmony and enclothed dissonance, which capture whether one’s attire is symbolically consistent with one’s context. The results suggest clothing choices, even for remote workers, are psychologically and organizationally impactful.


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