Fashion Psychology: What Does Your Wardrobe Say About You
Guest Author: Jennifer Hahn Masterson
You may not realize it, but you are communicating with people through your dress sense, which they will pick up on subconsciously, but how to know what impressions you are giving people about yourself? Do they really reflect the messages that you think you are giving? Let’s find out.
First impressions count
Fashion choices have an effect on your self-image, the message that you send to others, and consequently how people will react and behave towards you. This can influence things such as the impression that you leave with a prospective employer who will decide your ability to do well at a new job and it can even sway the results of a sport’s match, demonstrating the subliminal power behind style.
One study considered well-tailored formal clothing over regular fitting clothing of a very similar kind as showing the person to be more confident, successful, and flexible on first impressions. It also showed that minor details make a difference, so don’t overlook the particulars.
The impact of your style
The choice of clothing has become much more numerous, varied, and accessible over the centuries thanks to technical advancements. Long ago, clothing was just a necessity to keep us warm and help us survive. As we evolved, so did our clothing, which now projects social status and personality.
It’s been observed in a lot of different societies that dress sense symbolizes taste and personal wealth. One study found that during hard times women tended to sport longer dresses while in more prosperous times the hemlines became shorter.
Personality, skills, and experience come in to play
Understanding fashion, trends, style, colors, materials, and patterns are all key skills in the design world, but without a wider set of experiences and skills which can be ascertained through formal education, applying yourself effectively will be much more difficult within the industry, explains a current bachelor of arts in fashion design.
It should be noted that perceptions change over time and will vary between societies and cultures. Different countries will interpret the significance of garments differently, perceiving them to have different qualities.
Does gender affect fashion consciousness?
Scientific studies have shown that men are generally more often self-conscious about their personal dress sense than women, and think more about how other people perceive their style when in public, which may not have been what you expected.
This means that understanding the significance and impact of clothing choices are worthwhile and relevant regardless of gender, and to reiterate an earlier point, make sure to be aware of the impression of clothing on a global scale. It would be unfortunate to accidentally be insulting for something as simple as wearing the wrong color, in particular at weddings and funerals.
The importance of selecting color
In one experiment, men and women were asked to rate people’s attractiveness from photographs of them wearing clothes of different colors. It found that men rated all of the participants differently based on the colors that they were wearing, whereas the women that rated the participants tended to judge the men more.
Overall, everybody that rated any participant that was wearing the color red gave them a much more favorable score. So it’s safe to say that you already know what top to wear on your next date. A similar experiment showed that people waiting tables received more tips while wearing red T-shirts compared with any other color. Hardly a coincidence.
Just like a peacock that will present its vibrant feathers in a flamboyant display to attract a partner, us humans have evolved to behave in similar ways. When you go on a date, you make that extra effort to be presentable and stylish, to stand out and be memorable, even the sense of smell comes in to play when you put on your favorite aftershave or perfume.
The whole exhibition is a part of a larger effort to essentially find a partner. There are times that we dress to blend in and hide individuality, through lack of confidence or lack of really knowing yourself for instance.
Perceptions of masculinity and femininity
A university study found that posture and movement influence people’s perceptions of masculinity and femininity, which, depending on the personal preferences of the observer, can again affect how attracted they feel. An awareness of polarized gender styles and increasingly more neutral gender styles need to be absorbed in the fashion world, as well as other aspects such as material and cut in order to allow for the desired freedom of movement, expression, or posture. Western studies have shown for example, that men wearing tight as opposed to baggy clothes gave people the impression of masculinity.
Armed with some extra clarity and insider knowhow, you are now closer to understating what your clothing preferences say about you. Will you use this newly acquired knowledge to your advantage?
Author bio: Jennifer Hahn Masterson is a lifestyle blogger with a keen interest in a wide array of topics related design, fashion and travels. In her leisure time she likes to immerse herself in a good book and try to satisfy her perpetual wanderlust.