Friday, November 2, 2012

You Are What You dress accordingly

Before you make assumptions that I am telling you to fill your closet with clothing you cannot afford let me explain the title. I am referring to "enclothed cognition" or the effects of clothing on psychological processes. 

I vaguely remember having classes on the psychology of fashion and consumer buying habits in school so in preparation of my line I decided to do a little refresher research. When I stumbled upon enclothed cognition I was intrigued enough with the idea that I thought I should share it with all of you. There had been many studies from the 1970's-1990's about the psychology of fashion in regards to your clothing affecting other people's perception of you, but more recently scientists wanted to know how your clothing causes you to view yourself and if your choice of dress could affect your cognitive ability. 

Since my area is fashion and my hobby interest is in science I will summarize the study and attach a link to a New York Times article that explains the research in more depth because the publishing journal is not available without subscription. The study gave two control groups the same white coat. One was told it was a doctor's coat and the other was told it was a painter's coat. Those wearing the lab coat showed increased performance on attention-related tasks versus the group believing they were wearing a painter's coat. It is thought that the brain's association of a doctor's lab coat to attentiveness and carefulness increase the wearer ability by changing their perception of themselves. 

Another article in Forbes I found very informative featured clinical psychologist Dr. Jennifer Baumgartner. Dr. Baumgartner authored the more informative book than my post, called: "You Are What You Wear: What Your Clothes Reveal about You."

My point, as a designer, is that our clothes affect our perception of ourselves and our perception of others. They tell people "I am put together. I workout and take care of myself" or "This was in a pile on my floor this morning and I may eat that piece of pizza from that pizza box in that same pile tonight." What we now know is that although we may laugh off the stereo-types our clothes give off to others we need to make sure we are comfortable with whatever message we send out to the world because we internalize that person as who we are more than we realize.

Put on a happy color in a flattering fit and Voila! Instant mood boost!  

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