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Why People Who Wear Crazy Socks Are Smart, Successful, And Revolutionary

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man sitting at desk with feet up

People who frequently wear crazy, colorful socks are likely to be independent, interesting, and successful.

The socks in question can be outrageous colors like chartreuse or neon green or have gigantic eyes, lobsters, flying pigs, or over-frosted cupcakes all over them — as long as they aren't a dull brown or blue, they can reveal much about the wearer.

Essentially, a review of research shows that people who wear crazy socks are telling the world that they refuse to conform to social trends.

As they boldly display their playful personalities and unique sensibilities, they're unconsciously leading a revolution against uniforms and decorum.

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In general, what you wear says a lot about your personality.

As Lauren Rothman, stylist and author of Style Bible: What to Wear to Work tells Quartz, crazy socks give off a vibrant, upbeat, creative and fascinating image, especially at work.

"Colorful or character socks show playfulness and make a great icebreaker or way to connect with others," Rothman says. "Folks are showing their power, their bravado in the boardroom. The louder the socks, the bigger the wallet."

Neil Tambe, an MBA student, and former management consultant agrees, explaining further, "Another possible advantage of wearing fanciful socks and other unexpected attire: You build a brand as the gutsy guy or a creative type, and other times it may give you more room to bend or break the rules."

The New York Times credits the tech entrepreneurs of Silicon Valley with heading up the trend of wearing flamboyantly colored, outrageously patterned socks among power players.

Wearing these flashy socks, they say, "signals that you are part of the in-crowd. It’s like a secret handshake for those who have arrived, and for those who want to."

"I have been in meetings where people look down and notice my socks," says Hunter Walk, former director of product management at YouTube and now Partner at Homebrew Seed Stage Venture Capital Fund, "and there is this universal sign, almost like a gang sign, where they nod and pull up their pant leg a little to show off their socks."

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There have been multiple studies published over the years in which researchers looked into the various personality traits and qualities that can be attributed to people who wear crazy socks.

One such study conducted by a team at the Harvard Business School, published in the Journal of Consumer Research, investigated and confirmed the theory that people confer higher status and competence to individuals who exhibit nonconforming, rather than conforming, behaviors.

"We propose that under certain conditions, nonconforming behaviors can be more beneficial than efforts to conform and can signal higher status and competence to others," the study's authors explain.

Our clothing choices dictate not only the way others see and treat us but our own self-perception — a phenomenon referred to as enclothed cognition.

According to Hajo Adam and Adam Galinsky, social psychologists who coined the term while conducting their research at Northwestern University, what we wear can affect the way we think.

"We introduce the term enclothed cognition to describe the systematic influence that clothes have on the wearer's psychological processes," they explain.

Their study measured doctors' attentiveness, carefulness, and performance on attention-related tasks when wearing either a lab coat or a painter's coat. Not surprisingly, they found that wearing a lab coat increases attention, that attention "did not increase when the coat was not worn or associated with a painter," and "attention only increased when the coat was a) worn and b) associated with a doctor."

Therefore, they say, "the influence of clothes thus depends on wearing them and their symbolic meaning."

In other words, wearing certain clothing can change the way we think and act, and can give us the confidence to take on certain tasks we might not normally want to do.

Thus, wearing crazy socks may help us feel more courageous and willing to take chances.

Someone may not think of you as a successful rebel at first glance, but you will think about yourself and act accordingly.

That little bit of rebellion will spur you on to think more creatively and, in time, to become more successful.

Because crazy sock-wearing is the hallmark of being a champion and a boss.

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Christine Schoenwald is a writer, performer, and teacher who loves writing and performing personal narratives. She's had pieces in The Los Angeles Times, Salon, Woman's Day, Purple Clover, Bustle, and is a regular contributor to Ravishly and YourTango. Check out her website or her Facebook page.