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10 Things to Know About the Psychology of Fashion

Fashion has a direct correlation to psychology and many of us may not consider that. We choose our clothes quite intentionally. How we dress can say a lot about who we are. Our clothes can show the world how we are feeling. Our sense of fashion is based on what we love, what makes us happy, and how we want to portray ourselves. Our fashion choices can also have an affect on our moods. Putting on an outfit, going shopping, or cleaning out our closet is a psychological activity. Crazy, right?!  

Fashion can define our inner feelings. 

  Fashion can define how we want others to see us. It can define how we feel about ourselves as well. It can also define how we are feeling on that specific day. Our moods change every day and sometimes more than once in that day. Our fashion choices bring those feelings to the forefront. As well as show our feelings feelings, fashion can also show our values. Our sense of style may be based on what we love and what inspires us.   

Children and teens find self expression through clothing. 

  When we’re young, we are just beginning to discover ourselves. Everything inspires us. Everything is exciting. We are growing every single day. Because of this, fashion is a way for children and teenagers to find their own form of self expression. As we grow, we go through many different trends. When children are allowed to use their sense of fashion as a form of expression, they may be able to get a better grasp on who they want to be. This is a pretty cool link between outer fashion and our inner psychology.   

Wardrobe choices affect our moods and how we carry ourselves.

  As we mentioned before, our fashion choices can be a reflection of our mood. On the other side of that, our fashion choices can have an effect on our mood. The way we dress can play a role in how we carry ourselves in certain situations.    For example: You have a job interview today for the manager position of a new hotel in town. You show up in sweatpants with your hair a mess…how are you carrying yourself during this interview? Do you feel worthy and ready for the challenge? Let’s say you show up in your favorite suit jacket and you got a haircut yesterday. Now how does that interview go? When we look good, we feel good. Simple as that!  

When our clothing suits our body, it suits our mind.

  While there are constantly new trends in the world of fashion, we don’t have to jump on board with all of them. Some people might not feel comfortable with every fashion trend. Part of having your own fashion and sense of style is knowing what you like and embracing that. This is not just colors and patterns, it’s also about fit. For many people, it is important to find clothes that fit their body shape. We are all different! When we find things that fit our bodies and make us feel safe and comfortable, we can be drastically happier on a day to day basis. This may not seem like rocket science but it a psychological connection to fashion that should absolutely be noted!   

Gym clothes can push and motivate us. 

Have you ever felt unbelievably uninspired to exercise? Have you ever noticed that a good workout outfit can change that? Our brains have this thing where if we are dressed for the part…we are far more likely to take action. Putting on gym clothes or exercise clothes before you necessarily need to be there could turn on that part of your brain. Once you’ve made that commitment with your outfit for that part of the day, you are far more likely to follow through and get that workout in. It’s all in our head! 

We may be affected by other people’s fashion choices. 

  We live in a world that is full of inspiration. It’s in our day to day interactions, on our cellphones, on our laptops, on our television screens. The world outside of our four walls is more easily accessible than ever. When it comes to fashion, this goes hand-in-hand. We see fashion blogs, online shopping sites, models in advertisements, characters in television, and so much more. When our eyes are open to all of these different senses of fashion and style, it is so easy to be constantly inspired and motivated. Maybe you never considered a new sense of style but you fell in love with the confidence of a character on your favorite show! Now your online shopping cart is full… See what we’re getting at here?  

We may feel a desire to fit in.

  Starting from a young age, many children experience a desire to fit in. Feeling on par with your friends and classmates is a very common desire. When it comes to fashion, this means knowing the current trends among peers. These trends may be found within your friend group or you may have been inspired by an outside source. As we grow older, this desire to fit in doesn’t necessarily go away. It just finds new ways to show up. This may be rooted in finding friendships, find love, feeling cool, feeling worthy, etc. Classmates become coworkers. The newest light up sneakers are now the boots that you see every internet influencer wearing.   

We may find our sense of fashion from where we live.

  Many of us dress based on the people around us. Similar to a language dialect, different places have different fashion dialects. This could be based on climate, day-to-day activities, career choices, personality types, etc. For example, if you’re been to Colorado you have seen the number of people in hiking boots and fleece jackets. If you’ve ever been to Southern California, you have seen people in board shorts and tank tops. Not everyone dresses the same! We dress based on our environment.   

Colors are a window to something more.

  Relating colors to fashion choices is another psychological link to discuss here. Colors can be a window into how we are feeling, how we want others to feel, and how we want others to see us. When we are feeling a certain mood, we may subconsciously choose a color pallet that represents that. We may also purposely choose colors to promote a mood for those around us. Our minds are very sensitive to color and fashion is an easy way to practice that.   

The way we are raised can create shame over our adult outfit choices.

  Similar to how we dress based on our surroundings, we also dress based on our personal lifestyle. This includes our upbringing, our religious choices, and our cultural environments. For some religions and cultures, fashion choices are very specific and strict. As people in these communities get older or if they decide to move onto another lifestyle, these restrictions may mentally hold them back. When we are told something for so long, we can feel shame when we desire something different. For example, a young woman in an Amish family may feel shame if she goes to college and decides to dress less conservatively. This is a very common connection between our inner psychology and our daily fashion decisions.    Related Articles: