The Psychology of Fashion – Is There Any Truth Behind It?

The clothes we wear have a meaningful impact on our wellbeing, our mental health, can affect our moods, and influence how those around us perceive us. Fashion psychology is one of a number of recent self-care trends, but it goes deeper than that. Whether you wrap up in your favourite puffer jacket and hoodie combo on a drizzly day, or dress up in your favourite LBD for a first date, clothes can make us feel more confident, improve our attitude, and impact on our wellbeing. Fashion psychology studies the significance of our clothing choices in the way we judge and perceive each other, and most importantly ourselves. It delves into human behaviour across all aspects of fashion – but is there any truth behind it? 

Fashion impacts us psychologically, even though little research and studies exist to back this up. Many consumers are becoming increasingly critical of the fashion industry, but our unconscious relationship with clothing has a far deeper meaning than many of us may be aware of. How many of us truly understand how the judgement of our clothing by others differs from the message we’re trying to send? Regardless of our style, we should better understand the importance of our fashion choices. Our clothes affect our self-image, our love lives, our relationships and friendships, and even our job prospects. Clothes have developed in decades gone by from being something practical to wear, to changing how we feel about ourselves, how we view the world, and how the world views us. Caring for your clothes may be more important than you think.

Fashion intertwines with body image issues and affects our perceptions of our own self-image. Whilst dressing to impress others is sometimes necessary (such as for a job interview), how you feel in your clothes should always be your primary focus. It can be distressing to wear clothes that go against who you are as a person, and evoke feelings of negativity. Ever had that instinct that you want to run home and get changed, and you know you’d instantly feel better? This may be the reason why. At times we feel frustrated if the person in the mirror doesn’t reflect the person who we are aspiring to be, but one step at a time. 

Society has always been style-conscious and we take great pride in what we wear, clothing is a significant part of our lives. Fashion can help us to create and maintain an identity, and reinforce a sense of belonging. When we take control over our bodies and what we wear, we feel liberated. Having a sense of style can be a way to express creativity and feel empowered, when we feel good in our clothing choices this amplifies positive emotions tenfold. Clothes can also be seen as our own personal armour, and an emotional support in times of need. We feel reassured and safe when we’re comfortable in what we’re wearing, clothes go way beyond being a form of self-expression and can have a positive impact on our lives in ways we never thought possible.

You don’t need to be a Fashion Week regular to understand how important our relationship with clothing is, and to be aware that this relationship is only getting stronger. What we wear sends signals to members of our peer group and to strangers alike, reflecting who we are inside and projecting the image of ourselves that we want to display to the outside world – all without having to say a thing. ‘Clothes make the man’ is an expression we’ve all heard time and time again, and theres some truth to this statement. The link between fashion and our psychological wellbeing is becoming clearer, there’s no shame in taking pride in what you wear especially if this leads to an improved quality of life. Mind What You Wear: The Psychology of Fashion Professor Karen Pine delves deeper into the psychology of fashion, and helps us to understand this evolving phenomenon. Is there any truth behind fashion psychology? That’s for you to decide.

Written by J’Nae Phillips

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