The psychology of fashion

LogoConsidering all that’s been going on in the world lately, I must admit that I felt a little guilty complaining about my wardrobe in last Friday’s post. After all, that’s such a first world problem. In fact, sometimes writing about fashion at all seems terribly trivial.

On the other hand, I’ve been reading about something called enclothed cognition, a term that relates to the effect that clothing has on the way a person thinks, feels, and functions. There’s nothing new about the idea that how we dress influences the way others perceive and respond to us. That’s why we dress differently for a job interview than we do for a day at the beach. Recent studies show, however, that what we wear also directly affects our behaviour, attitudes, personality, mood, confidence, and even the way we interact with others. If that’s the case, then perhaps taking an interest in what we wear isn’t as shallow and self-centred as it might seem!

An interesting question to ask yourself is not only what messages do you want your clothing to tell others about you, but also how do you want to feel when you wear them? I’m reminded of how I instinctively packed what might best be referred to as comfort clothes when I got the call that my father was dying. In this case, I was using clothes to help reduce anxiety and foster calm. If clothing actually has a therapeutic impact, maybe it really does matter that I’m not entirely satisfied with what I see hanging in my closet! After all, self care is an important aspect of mental health.

8 thoughts on “The psychology of fashion

  1. Your Post brings to mind a question cabi asked at the beginning of the Spring 2020 collection, Long before the Covid Coaster was a “Thing”….

    CAN CLOTHES CHANGE YOUR LIFE? …. We think they can!

  2. Clothes can definitely change your life, even if you pooh-pooh the idea as being frivolous. I’m not sure if feeling better by wearing something that is flattering and makes you feel confident is something that you are born with or if it is a cultural, learned thing. Even as a child, I liked to look nice, which wasn’t easy on a very tight budget. As a well-seasoned adult (ahem), I enjoy selecting an outfit complete with accessories.

  3. I didn’t know there was a word for how clothes make you feel! That’s so cool! I definitely think that dressing a certain way can make you feel better. During quarantine, when I am feeling like a blob, I dress up a little and start to feel better!

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