Leonard Cohen: “Suit Up!” Poster Boy


Suit up! Dressing smarter changes how you act and think by Colin J McCracken (My Good Planet: April 17, 2016) is a report on a study1 indicating that wearing a suit confers certain cognitive benefits on subjects thus attired. In the words of the abstract of the actual study, “The findings demonstrate that the nature of an everyday and ecologically valid experience, the clothing worn, influences cognition broadly, impacting the processing style that changes how objects, people, and events are construed.”

I’m not, however, interested in the scientific merits of the study. No, I’m taken by the choice of the photo to illustrate the Suit Up! article. Of all the portraits of men in suits in all the galleries in all the internet, it’s a shot of Leonard Cohen that stands atop the piece. It’s especially relevant, to my mind, that Leonard Cohen is not mentioned anywhere in Suit up! Dressing smarter changes how you act and think, in in The Atlantic article on which it is based, or in the original study. It’s the image of the Canadian singer-songwriter, garbed in his double breasted pinstripe jacket and fedora, itself that is expository.

And, although we are given no clue if this picture was selected by someone aware of Leonard Cohen, the artist, or if the photo was simply felt to resonate with the notions advanced by the study, Leonard Cohen is certainly a splendid embodiment of an individual associated with both formal business attire and enhanced abstract processing.


  1. Actually, it’s a report on a report (in The Atlantic) of a study (published in Social Psychological and Personality Science March 31, 2015 ). []