Ever wondered why you feel better in some clothes over others?
Discover what the psychology of clothing is and how it can help you.
Psychology; the study of the mind and behaviour.
POW...! That's the impact your clothes can make, or not. Have you ever noticed how you feel different depending on what clothes you are wearing? If you're rolling out of bed to throw on your t-shirt and leggings you can be sure you'll feel vastly different than if you are making a special effort to dress up and exhude glamour. Why is it that what we wear actually affects our moods, be it for work, rest or play?
It's all about the psychology of clothing and more recently it has been fascinating me more and more, especially because I'm out of the house less and less but I'm still trying to find the right balance of showing up for work whilst retaining the comfort factor of being in my own home. How you dress affects not only how you see yourself but how others see you in return. According to studies it can affect your attitude and confidence and the way we interact with other people.
"What you wear and how you wear it is a way of projecting messages and expressions of yourself but if you're not self-aware you could be sending out the wrong signals."
Clothes used to be worn quite simply for coverage, for warmth and protection from the elements. As we move through history and we see more divided societies; rich, poor and everyone in between, we see how clothing transitioned into a statement of wealth and power.
You are sending powerful messages as to your identity because, well, you are what you wear. While there are some doubters who delight in being a non-conformist, those clothes that you make an effort to "not try" in are still sending non-verbal cues to everyone who sees you. You only have to look at TV shows and movie characters to understand how influencial fashion is in shaping attitudes towards others. The most obvious being Cinderella, Pretty Woman and My Fair Lady. Rags to riches stories -because they dressed the part, exhuded confidence and were welcomed into an otherwise unforgiving high society of their time.
I've become quite aware of the "look good, feel good" factor now, often changing 2 or even 3 times before being satisfied that I've nailed the mood I want to project to others on any given day. But, how does this help you? I have some lovely little tips for you to consider in order to make the most of your wardobe.
Consider how you are feeling before you get dressed and compare it to how you want to feel.
Getting the right fit of clothes is also important. For example: wearing oversized trousers and super baggy tops is really too casual within a power suit playing industry such as finance.
Styling your outfit correctly is also a key component. Hair, shoes, scarves, jewellery etc.
Selecting the right colours is important, even if your palette is neutral there are still undertones of the primary colours that should be put together with more consideration. I recently produced a download on: The Ultimate Guide To Your Best Colours to help you understand how you should choose colours that look good on you.
Fabric selection is also important, we can pick out yucky polyester a mile away! It says cheap, cheap and that you haven't considered the environmental impact your fashion choices are having. Fashion is one of the largest polluting industries world wide, a huge chunk of which is due to manmade fibres like polyester. Go for beautiful natural materials like organic cotton, TENCEL™, linen and (yes manmade) recycled polyester to help to keep it out of our landfills. Plus with natural fibres they are more comfortable, your skin can breath, they are moisture wicking (which means they hold the sweat away from your skin) and are also hypoallergenic for those of you with sensitive skin issues. So always look to sustainable fashion brands first and foremost to get a great balance of style and kindness towards the environment within the production cycle.
The Professional Look:
If you're heading into the office then you're surely looking to present a professional vibe and you should dress for the job you want, not the job you already have. This is an opportunity to use non-verbal cues that show you are confident, knowledgable, intelligent and reliable.
Go for well-fitted clothes as this shows attention to detail. Less accessories, no costume jewellery, save that for the weekend. Clean lines and minimalism works well.
Colours that shout "I'm a professional, take me seriously" tend to be darker colours for suits but you can mix that in with a blouse of colour, your shoes can add a pop of colour too.
The Casual Look:
Well you can relax with this one and go for loose-fitting styles and layers if you prefer. Accessories, we welcome you but don't walk out of the house jingling with excessive amounts of bracelets and neck pieces. Colours, well the world is your oyster but perhaps you struggle with understanding which colours work for you, download my ultimate colour guide for help here. But, casual does not mean you shouldn't try. So, if you usually would pop on your sneakers with your jeans and t-shirt, instead go for some funky little flat shoes and really pull your look together by using sharp accessories.
The Edgy Look:
If you favour an edgy look with more of a vibe then you're projecting a creative image of yourself. I think fit, textures and colours are your best friends here, mix them up and do play with colour. This look is an opportunity to try to clash colour and prints. There is a delicate balance of finding calm within the chaos if you try this but if you get it right, it's a cool winning look. Needless to say all bets are on with your accessorising.
Try mixing up your usual look, instead of wearing blue jeans go for white, swap out your black trousers for khaki ones then wear a top with colour and prints. Small steps to gain your confidence first.
I find that edgyness for me is better coming from my shoes and handbags and I go for more versatile, neutral tones with my clothes.
Have fun trying your clothes on and matching them differently, take some photos of the outfits that you discover. Look at some style guides from your favourite stores or create your own. Look to Pinterest to check out other ready-made style moodboards for your inspirational looks.
Who are you today, what messages will you send via your outfit? Push yourself, play around, go and try some styles on that you have never been brave enough to try and just HAVE FUN!
Many thanks & stay safe
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