I’m sure fashion means as much to you as it does to me. The sheer joy I feel from taking off the tag of a new pair of jeans, and gracefully slipping into them as if they were made just for me, or stepping out with the latest pair of heels, or wearing the newest necklace in my closet, which I didn’t really need but was too pretty to let go, will always remain unmatched. For me, and I’m sure for all of you, fashion will always be a source of confidence, a way to represent your ambitions, your financial status, and your innermost desires, fears, even insecurities for that matter.
From a practical asset to a social marker, clothing has come a long way, they’ve come to affect the way we see ourselves. The clothes that we choose to keep in our wardrobe shed light on the image of us that we want to display to the world. You don’t need to be a model walking down the ramp in the New York Fashion week, nor do you need to be a fashion blogger, to be aware of how important our fashion sense is to our sense of self and reputations in the modern world we live in.
The 21st century is the time of representing your personality through the clothes and accessories on your body. Clothing affects our psychology more than we think, in fact studies show that the comfort, fit, style, and even the colour of what we wear can directly affect our level of confidence. Over the years, as a consequence of technical advancements fashion choice have grown to be more significant than ever.
Let’s start with an example, a couple of doctors were given a ‘white lab coat’ and were handed the task of performing a series of tests. Whereas, another group of doctors, who were equally qualified were asked to perform the same test but without their lab coats. In the first case, the doctors performed the tests flawlessly without any hesitation. However, the ones without the coat made more mistakes, and were comparatively less confident.
The clothes you wear not just tell stories about you, but also talk to you, they tend to influence your feelings and your mood, so the clothes you just slip into isn’t an arbitrary choice. This is why in movies we can often understand the traits of the characters just through their clothes.
Regular clothing cues, like bright colours or a big smiley face on the t-shirt or sweatshirt, are proven to make one significantly happier and more relaxed. People who change into workout clothes in the morning end up feel more ‘charged up’ for a physical workout.
The colours we wear also tend to represent our moods, for example, yellow represents happiness, green brings about healing, orange represents energy and enthusiasm, and pink is for romance.
Furthermore, people who were happy in their lives were found to care more about how they dressed up, whereas, people who were depressed and had faced some trauma were found to not care at all about they wore and underplayed their clothing. For instance, people diagnosed with clinical depression were found incline towards ill-fitted clothes no matter where they went, however, those under anxiety were extremely obsessed by their attire to unhealthy degrees. By switching the attires of these people, it was found that they were able to improve their mental states of the day.
From the Indian saree, to the Japanese kimono, to the Vietnamese conical hat, our world is full of different varieties of traditional dress. Clothing has also been an indicator of a country’s culture. Foreign tourists, when leaving a country, always tend to bring back with them the priceless treasure of cultural clothing. One can study the customs, beliefs, economics, values, and technology of a time by studying the clothing of different periods in history.
The cultures and customs of a country influence people’s choices of wardrobes. For example, the white, long wedding dresses are conventional in the west, whereas, in the east wedding dresses are shiny, and bright coloured. In the past, females who wore pants were frowned upon, and now, both males and females wear pants and suits.
The beliefs of individuals and groups are often represented by their clothing and accessories. Religious groups mostly tend to adopt a particular style of clothing. We’re all familiar about cultures that believe in magic and luck, and their clothing reflects these beliefs.
Moreover, your dressing sense often embodies personal wealth and taste. Your attire can be enough to tell a passer-by of your type of employment, and spending habits. The clothes you shop, and your spending habits come from internal motivations such as the emotions you’re feeling, your experiences and the culture you come from. To put things simply, your clothing is an economic and social indicator since they’re not the official marks of ranks in society like the caste system or the aristocratic system. As the caste system fades away into the past, people want to maintain a sense of they are, and where they think they want to be. Thus, we need to understand how our clothes intensify our emotional and mental states, this is also sensed by the people around us.
Lastly, while your clothes surely don’t define you, they are still a great feel-good factor and an authentic way to represent yourself. The world is your runaway, dress up like you want, let the world feel your mood.