One doesn’t need to be student of fashion or an avid follower of fashion trends to be aware about what our clothes speak about us. The clothes we wear send powerful messages and signals to our colleagues, peers, subordinates, superiors, friends and family as well as to strangers regarding the self-image we are trying to display.
Yet, how many of us have taken an effort to understand the psychology of how others be in on the street, office or even at our home interpret our wardrobe choices and the impression about us our clothes create on others. Is it not worthwhile to give a moment of thought before we make our choice from our wardrobe as to what do we want to convey by the medium of our clothes and how it will be interpreted by others?
Several psychological surveys have revealed the true impact of clothing choices on the way in which we perceive and judge each other. They even reveal how subtle varieties in dress sense can affect our ability to attract a partner while dating , clinching a deal, impact our relationship with our colleagues in office as well as at our homes and many more. Thus, the importance of the powerful messages our clothes convey cannot be wished away.
Before we move forward, let me narrate a very interesting research carried out by Ben Fletcher, a renowned psychologist. In that research carried out over 300 adults (male and female), the subjects were shown the images or a man and woman for about 3 seconds before they were asked to make snap judgements. In the images, one of the male models was shown wearing a well-tailored suit while the other wore an off street suit. The differences in the suits such as fabric , colour as well as the facial expression of the models were controlled and pixilated so as to prevent any hidden messages. Afer the 3 second exposure, the snap judgements were weighed heavily in favour of the model wearing the tailored suit and the model was rated as more confident, successful, flexible, ,social, high earner etc. Since the face of the models were blanked out, the impressions formed was purely on the basis of the clothes. Similar results were obtained in the case of female models also. The subjects were asked to rate the female models on six dimensions of intelligence, confidence, trustworthiness, responsibility, authority and organization. And clothes did matter in the results.
Thus, our clothes say a great deal about who we really are and can signal a great deal of socially important things to others, even if the impression is actually unfounded. Even subtle changes to clothing style can contribute towards negative impressions of competency and other factors. Thus wearer beware!!!
Now that we have understood the relationship between our body, clothes and our mind let me offer you some tips to match your clothes authentically to your personality. We need to keep all of them in mind while we make our selection from our wardrobes for any occasion.
- ‘Clothes work when they’re harmonious with the person,’ says Dominique Antiglio, a sophrology therapist and sound practitioner. Ultimately, an outfit is a nice wrapping for our inner gifts. There are many other layers, so why not celebrate them all?’
- ‘For young people, following trends is the easy option, but as you get older you realise what does and doesn’t work for you’. ‘It’s brave to step away from trends and embrace your personal style… That’s what fashion is, being inspired by a different time or place.
- Fashion icon and journalist Hilary Alexander says : ‘You have to have a laugh and enjoy fashion. You don’t have to go out and absorb every single trend in a season, you can pick and choose. Find one thing, be it a textile or colour or shape… something you love, and build your wardrobe around it.’
- ‘Dress bravely,’ Team brave colours with an old favourite. If a colour feels like it’s a bit too much, be braver in quiet ways and match it with a neutral base, or use it in accessories. The outfit shouldn’t outshine the wearer.
- Bring out your individualism in your clothes’. Make your own statement with the clothes you wear. No not blindly follow trends or fashion because others are doing so. Create your individuality.
- ‘Dress to feel alive in this moment,’ says ex-Buddhist nun, Suzanne Arnold. ‘Clothes tell a story – who do you want to be today?’
- ‘Let your lifestyle and goal lead you’. You cannot wear the same clothes when you go to work in a bank and while going to a pub for a party with your friends.
In the end, it all comes down to one thing: trust your instincts. Own your style, be authentic, stay true to yourself and embrace fashion, not as a label, but as a way to express yourself.