How to deal with our wardrobe

How to deal with our wardrobe

You certainly don't have to be a fashionista or a regular reader of fashion magazines to understand the role that our appearance plays in everyday life. The clothes we choose send undoubtedly powerful messages to our environment about who we are, the image we want to show.

However, how many of us understand the psychology of how someone in the street or office interprets our wardrobe choices and how this impression can be different from what we think we convey?

A series of psychological studies have revealed the true impact of clothing choices on how we perceive and judge one another, with experiments showing some interesting results. They even reveal how the subtle details in a dress can affect our ability to attract a partner.


Ignoring stereotypes

If you even think that the issue of appearance, and in particular fashion, is something that concerns only women, you are wrong. Research shows that this is especially true for men. Against stereotypes, men are more aware of their sense of appearance and how they perceive themselves in the general environment.

Why might someone be concerned with the look of the show? But it's simple. Whether we choose it or not, we will find ourselves in many situations where our appearance will play (or has already played) a particularly important role for our overall image.

Therefore, we need to understand the importance of clothing choices regardless of our gender. Whether you are a man or a woman, fashion choices can affect both your self-image and the impression you convey on others and in turn, how people treat you.

So a job interview, a personal appointment or even your relationships in a relaxed environment, such as a fitness center, can be affected.

In this article, we look at the effect our fashion choices can have on our lives today and how unconscious clothing choices are interpreted by those around us.


Why clothes matter: what your wardrobe says about you

Clothes have not always been a major influence in "narrating" our personalities as they are today. The evolution of society at all levels has obviously also influenced the issue of clothing. In the earliest civilizations the main purpose of clothing was to keep us warm and as dry as possible. Today, heating warms our homes, reducing our dependence on clothes only to help us survive.

Clothes have developed from a practical advantage to a social marker: they influence the way we look at ourselves. They help us see it in the light we want to be, and also exude our personalities and social standing.

In many societies, the aesthetics of a dress embody personal wealth and taste. One study has even observed that as a country enters a recession and adopts strict spending habits, women often show a preference for longer dresses. On the contrary, in times of prosperity, the opposite tends to happen, as smaller dimensions are preferred.

Our development as a species, over millions of years, is the second major influence on the aesthetics of our appearance. As with many animals, the concept of mass selection in evolutionary psychology implies that our behavior is determined by our efforts to find a partner and to reproduce.

According to signaling theory, a male peacock will display the amazing combination of hidden feathers in a ritual to attract a female. Such rituals vary from species to species.

In humans, our ability to create and wear clothes gives us an equivalent advantage of being able to distinguish ourselves from a crowd and display our individuality in an effort to find a partner. Instead, we can also use clothing to fit into a crowd and hide our individuality in an outfit.

Dress to impress?

Apart from the nickname of "dressing to impress" what do we know about the psychology of clothing choices at an appointment?

First, let's consider the idea of ​​how we try to impress our potential mates.

A study by Joseph Benz at the University of Nebraska asked 90 men and women how to persuade their potential partners to an appointment. Researchers have found that both sexes tend to use some tricks in an appointment, but for different purposes.

The men found themselves trying to impress their companions by highlighting the security they could offer - for example, by exaggerating their financial position - by trying to demonstrate readiness for commitment.

Women, on the other hand, were misleading about their body image, exaggerating their physical characteristics in an attempt to make their date look more attractive. In both cases, clothes can play a role in this deception ritual.


One color, many messages 

Another factor in clothing choices is how males and females perceive and interpret different colors.

In one experiment, the researchers photograph people in different colored clothes and then ask participants to evaluate the attractiveness of people in the resulting photographs. They found that the color of clothing influences how men value both men and women, as well as how women evaluate men. Interestingly, however, the color of the clothing did not affect the judgment of women on other women.

Of course, the color of clothing is far from the only factor used in judging a person based on clothing.

Timothy Brown and colleagues at the Department of Psychology at Old Dominion University examined the impact of clothing on students' judgment of people's attractiveness and masculinity or femininity.

Brown found that in both sexes, body posture and the way people moved they influenced perceptions of their masculinity or femininity, which was inherently linked to their judgment of attractiveness.

Specifically in males, tightly assembled clothing in contrast helped to lead to perceptions of increased masculinity compared to those wearing loose clothing.

Of course, many of the findings from the research on the psychology of fashion and clothing choices depend on the cultural values ​​of the society in which one lives.


Is it all about dressing?

We should also note that the frivolity of clothing choices is rarely the only determinant of how people are perceived: Brown's study of clothing and attractiveness has shown the influence of body language in addition to clothing choices. And for those of us who have a limited sense of fashion, as English author William Hazlitt warned, "Those who make their dress a major part of themselves will generally not be worth more than their dress."



Brown, T.A., Cash, T.F. and Noles, S.W. (1986). Perceptions of Physical Attractiveness Among College Students: Selected Determinants and Methodological Matters. Journal of Social Psychology126(3). 305-316.

Roberts, S.C., Owen, R.C. and Havlicek, J. (2010). Distinguishing between perceiver and wearer effects in clothing color-associated attributions. Evolutionary Psychology8(3). 350-364.

Solomon, M.R. and Schopler, J. (1982). Self-Consciousness and Clothing. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin8(3). 508-514.

Benz, J.J., Anderson, M.K., Miller, R.L. (2005). Attributions of Deception in Dating Situations. The Psychological Record55. 305-314.


By Dr Angel,

Αggeliki Koskeridou

Holistic Doctor – Counseling Psychotherapist

Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine

MSc Health Psychology

insta: dr_aggelikikoskeridou_official

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