Psychology of Fashion Part 1

As a Psychologist I never cease to be intrigued by the individuality of how people dress and the curiosity drive which motivates me to ask a plethora of questions about their personality career and aspirations. This week I was reviewing various writers who have expertise in the new art of Psychology and Fashion. Alexa Chung once again is the face of M&S with her new inspirational designs to suit all ages. I have followed her designs and fashion intelligence for some time and she is one of the worlds most prolific designers. My reason for saying this is because Alexa keeps the human persona in her designs thinking carefully about how ones personality is reflected in what we wear. Professor Karen Pine has much to say about our personality and she applies psychological principles in trying to understand why we choose what we wear and for what reasons.She advocates that we ought to wear something different that projects our inner self.

In my own work and charity I have the responsibility of helping clients with low self esteem and sometimes those with medical and clinical issues to do just that, to become introspective and recreate a new self concept. When we look at London Fashion Week we realize the fact that we can never afford these unique fashions but there is a less expensive way to be seen as different on the high street by the application of good psychological insight. There is an over abundance of charity shops with once worn exclusive garments that can be matched with accessories that are usually from the same individual and exclusive quality at that. Give me a studio a few makeup artists and a group of people from the high street with diverse personalities or with psychological issues and I will send them out with a vibrant sense of who they really are and a psychological uplift not found anywhere else! As humans we communicate to the everyday world so much about our hidden gems of personality traits. We take chances in trying something new or being risqué to assess reactions of our peers and friends. We are in many senses all psychologists making observations forming hypotheses and testing these out each day in the everyday world. We experiment with shoes fashion hairstyles and make up to present ourselves to the everyday world. This multitasking depends on our selective attention processes in the brain and involves our amygdala a tiny organ responsible for emotions and feelings also anger revenge and much more. The science of self -presentation is complex but at the nonverbal level those who dress smart with fine details to the garments and accessories feel higher levels of self -confidence, more articulate and more respected. But we are not all called to be power dressers. As an ex academic my uniform was smart well cut West German made jeans and loafers with contrasting sweaters by Hilfeger, Fynne Hatton and Carvelli. In the dull winter days I’d match blue jeans with lemon or cobalt blue sweaters and Gingham shirts.The choice was governed by the social context of student interaction but at meetings and scientific conferences the high powered situation meant classic well cut suits by Skope the Jewish tailor still in Leeds or by Boss, Gross, and Armani. The function of well designed clothes is to reflect comfort chic styling but also to teell the world who you are and your value system.