The Psychology of fashion is the branch that studies how clothing intervenes in the behavior of the human being. The way of dressing leads to the issuance of judgments, how people adjust to different social situations, in addition to the expression of their own personalities.
What does the study on the psychology of clothing consist of?
The importance of clothing on how to feel and appear to others has given rise to a subject that covers the analysis of this matter: the psychology of clothing. This branch of science can be defined as the study and treatment of the image, style, color, clothing, and beauty that influence the behavior of the person within a specific sociocultural framework.
It should be added, this discipline continues to be unknown as it still does not have official recognition. Its study has become more necessary because consumers in the fashion industry have become more demanding.
Therefore, dress psychology is a concept of use restricted to the colloquial context, which refers to the message that individuals transmit through the use of their clothing. However, science itself has been showing greater interest in this study, which is why some analyzes have been carried out.
Individuals have acquired a greater awareness of how knowing how to dress does not refer only to an aesthetic issue, but that clothing also determines how they are feeling.
Since when do you study?
During the Renaissance times, in medieval court society, unlike later times, clothing was considered a way to keep up appearances. The reality of their “I” did not matter so much to them, but the appearance, the presentation that is given to society.
Compared to earlier times, in which clothing was not entirely based on expressing the personality of the person, with Romanticism an approach had been proposed that, if there was an inner life, it should have a more direct relationship with the external appearance.
Romanticism helped build a more psychological perspective of the self and fostered the notion that clothing should reflect the personality of the wearer. Sowing the foundations of the relationship between psychology and fashion.
The relationship has the clothing with the processes of transmission of information
Have you ever wondered what your clothes say about you? The way you dress always conveys information about who you are, communicating certain aspects of your personality. It is a way of expressing and making yourself known in front of other people. So it can be considered as part of non-verbal communication.
Functions that clothing can fulfill
The social function of clothing in the first instance was to protect from the different temperatures of the environment, however, as society has advanced, clothing has acquired more functions.
Need for adornment
The first function we can think of is decoration. Being a basic and primordial function of people’s clothing, marking themselves as trophies, serving as a display of rank in a tribe or occupation in it, in addition to displaying wealth.
Compared to the rest of the functions of the clothing, the decoration can reflect the origin or nationalization, in addition to becoming an extension of the bodily self, because the garments and adornments have an extensive objective that is in full harmony. with the impulses of the individual.
As has already been seen, the decoration of the body with the appropriate clothing is a primary function, the way of dressing together with the corporal emphasis through clothing fulfills the following objectives:
The suits are related to aggressive and defensive energy, with the wearer needing to prepare for an attack or defense.
Several garments have an erotic value, clothing can have an exhibitionist bearing as seen in the case of necklines, and the use of ties, among others.
Social prestige and power
According to the person’s way of dressing, it can be determined if he belongs to a certain social circle, thus differentiating himself from other people. In other words, it can define the status of the individual.
The type of clothing used can give clues about the state of the opulence of the person who wears it.
Extension of the Corporal Ego
Contrary to those who have said “my way of dressing does not define who I am”, the extension or expression of the Corporal Self through clothing goes beyond expanding the optical image of the figure, but also psychically elaborating the impressions touch that is sought.
Need for modesty
The concept of modesty has been present over time in different ways, although today it is considered modesty and shame when the truth is that most situations are more associated with some inhibition with body image or sexuality.
Need for Protection
Although protection is a feature of clothing, although not excessively predominant, it is a primary need. Clothing acts as a mode of protection automatically against the adversities of the weather. In other words, it gives protection against cold and heat, and even protects against possible enemies.
Need for Differentiation
The way of dressing demonstrates two basic plans of differentiation, the sexual distinction. This is related to gender roles and assimilation of aesthetic canons imposed by ancient traditions and individual differentiation, as an unconscious desire of the human being to want to differentiate himself from others, but at the same time, wanting to be part of a group. That is, feel equality and acceptance, but unique.
Importance of the ways of dressing ourselves and other people
When thinking about the importance of the way people dress, it is related to creating an identity, as has been seen with the use of typical and traditional costumes of the communities during the festivities, although it is also seen in the socioeconomic, types of religion and employment are distinguished through clothing.
Communication in clothing
The first image or impression that is shown before someone unknown will go in the anointing of the physical appearance and, therefore, in the way of dressing. How an individual dress speaks of how and who he is.
Hence lies why it is essential to dress appropriately according to the situation. For example, when attending a job interview, it is generally necessary to analyze what would be the most appropriate clothing and that would best benefit the meeting, be dressed in one way or another according to the position that is aspired to, everyone will be dressed differently. whether you are going to interview for a job in a nightclub or if it is to join a law firm.
Clothing as a way of differentiation
The use of clothing implies a search for identity or differentiation from other people. Hence, clothing becomes more important for several adolescents who seek to define their identity and belonging to a social group. See the case of goths who dress peculiarly, wearing only black clothes, or something red, as well as rappers who wear baggy clothes, caps, and sports shoes.
As previously mentioned, clothing denotes a social status, overvaluing clothing from recognized brands, and is synonymous with the importance of dressing well, using modern clothes as a symbol of ostentation and wealth. While other people differ, saying that there is no need to pay more for a garment just because it belongs to a firm when in the vast majority of garments there is no noticeable difference in quality.
Despite what fashion may dictate today, there is no correct way to dress, it is advisable to wear something according to the way of thinking and provide comfort to oneself, instead of worrying about external opinions, as long as the dress is appropriate to the situation.
Way of dressing in society
The way of dressing has special importance as observed in the cases of public figures, to the extent that some have image consultants to be well presented, which is very common in politicians, television presenters, and senior executives. These professionals are in charge of indicating that they should agree to the circumstance and above all what is the message that is sought to be transmitted.
Politicians during their rallies frequently use sports suits to project a familiar and close image. Public figures, for the most part, wear their clothes, not to express who they are but to convey an image that their audience wants to perceive in them. The same health professionals such as doctors and therapists can show their psychological clothing, to be identified by their respective jobs.
Several of the research findings about the psychology of clothing and clothing choice have been very subject to the cultural values of the society to which the individual belongs. Cultural characteristics have a great influence on clothing. Hence, not in every culture, the same associated particularities are perceived, such as a specific color to give example.
Elements that make up the way of dressing
Has it ever happened to you that you wake up one morning and he doesn’t tell you I don’t know how to dress today? When choosing a garment, it is common for the person not to be fully aware of some common elements that influence the decision of what clothing to wear.
Subjectivity and body
Today the functions of clothing are diluted. It is not only a form of protection against the adversities of time, disguise, or second skin, but it can be about several things according to its context. Psychology and fashion are intertwined in a way that the dress has come to be used to protect both physical cold and coldness.
Creativity and fashion
If the subjective experiences of the body have been quite positive, clothing becomes a playful element that allows greater enrichment and fun in life. Sharing, modifying, combining, and buying different clothes and accessories, allow us to build a source of creativity and pleasure. Artifices such as clothing and ornaments are subjectively integrated and internalized.
Dress as an affirmation of self
The subjectivity of people who are related to clothing begins from birth and is maintained throughout life. The reason why we wear clothes is found during the beginning of life, when the little one, during his path to autonomy, demonstrates his first desire to choose clothes as a personal representation.
Clothing not only covers the body, but it also models it within the space it occupies, in interaction with others. In addition, it contains emotional content such as happiness, sadness (mourning clothes as an example), security, doubt, shyness, and social status.
Tips to improve our communication through clothing
Personal image is of great importance, since, in many cases, if it is negative, it will not reflect a well-educated individual, his care, and his knowledge in his professional area.
Choose the right outfit for the occasion
Just as it is important to know how to be polite in daily life, it is also important to know how to dress, having an idea of what clothes to use for each situation is essential. Projecting a positive image allows for giving an appropriate cover letter to the individual. Image and style are elements that help create a better impression on other people.
Clothes don’t fit everyone
Every individual has characteristics that describe them physically, such as a certain weight and height, a specific shape of the face, the color of skin, hair, eyes, and current age. Taking these characteristics into account, there is the possibility of giving benefit to the body by emphasizing some things and reducing them in others. Putting together a good image and your style helps to hide defects and enhance virtues.
Dress in well-kept clothes
Clothing should always look ironed, clean, and in good condition. It is no use wearing branded clothing when it is stained, wrinkled or torn, or unsewn. Similarly, it must be taken into account that age should be considered when choosing clothes. An example of bad dress would be an elderly person wearing very youthful clothes that look not very suitable for them.
Clothing for women
What does the way a woman dresses say? Her wardrobe is usually quite varied, with many garments that allow her to make multiple combinations. The woman can incorporate into her clothing different items of male clothing such as pants, sweaters, and shirts, among others.
In addition, feminine ones such as skirts, and blouses, dress according to the style that each woman has. According to the type of clothing and accessories used by women, it can be determined which styles are more feminine and which are a little more masculine.
Finally, it can be seen that the psychology of clothing helps to share the correct message, so as not to reflect an image different from one’s own, taking into account the style, color, and image, in addition to cultural values. The psychology of fashion has sought to point out that if there is no congruence between the way of dressing and lifestyle, there is a risk of sending the wrong message that can harm the person socially.
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- Hurlock, E. (1929). The psychology of dress: An analysis of fashion and its motive. Ronald Press Company. https://doi.org/10.1037/13382-000
- Van Edwards, V. (nd). Fashion Psychology: What Your Choice in Clothes Say About You. Science of People. https://www.scienceofpeople.com/fashion-psychology/