As a #psychologist working with #fashion brands and educators, I’m often asked how what we wear makes us feel and what our clothing says about us. My response is generally “it depends!”. Understanding human behaviour is always complex and when this is in relation to clothing, the complexity increases. Are you motivated to find out more?
Clothing serves many purposes, for example, it helps us maintain an appropriate temperature in varying environments, providing protection from the elements. Clothing can accentuate or conceal features of our body sending signals to those we interact with. However, how these signals are interpreted also depends on many factors.
Fashion and clothing has often been cited as a form of communication. In this sense, understanding depends on the sender (wearer) and receiver (observer) ‘speaking’ the same language and, like any linguistic endeavour, motivation to understand and make sense of the message.
Work uniform is an interesting example of how clothes influence behaviour and a fascinating area for psychologists working in fashion. Many high-profile CEOs choose to wear the same clothing or style of clothing to work every day. Psychologists argue that this behaviour frees up limited cognitive effort for tasks that are spontaneous or those considered as more important than worrying about if what you’re wearing is appropriate. When staff wear a work uniform they align themselves with their team and ultimately, their company. Evidence suggests that this improves performance as well as wellbeing. This may trigger a spiral of positive outcomes as the sense of belonging, even when we are working alone, has been shown to increase our sense of pride, self-esteem and wellbeing. It also enhances performance.
Is the outcome of what we wear an effect of the clothing or what we believe about it?
Read about the complex relationships between what we wear and how we behave in my new book, The Psychology of Fashion which is available via this link.