Friday 17 July 2015

Clothes are symbolic

2: Clothes are symbolic, so they have a huge effect on how you feel about yourself

Why exactly do clothes make you feel confident or comfortable? Because clothes are largely symbolic.

Clothes have been shown to have a lot of symbolic meaning, so when we wear certain clothes we take on the characteristics we think those clothes symbolize. One interesting study dressed up participants in a doctor’s lab coat, and then measured their ability to manage their attention. Participants wearing the coat had significantly heightened attention, but when other participants were told that the coat was a painter’s coat, the effects evaporated.1

According to fashion psychologist Karen Pine, “when we put on an item of clothing it is common for the wearer to adopt the characteristics associated with that garment. A lot of clothing has symbolic meaning for us, whether it’s ‘professional work attire’ or ‘relaxing weekend wear’, so when we put it on we prime the brain to behave in ways consistent with that meaning”.2

I think people have the tendency to surround themselves with objects that solidify the way they feel about themselves. Clothes are definitely no exception to that rule.

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