• I'm happy to introduce the Styleforum Happy Hour, our brand new podcast featuring lively discussion about menswear and the fashion industry. In the inaugural edition, a discussion of what's going on in retail today. Please check it out on the Journal. All episodes will be also be available soon on your favorite podcast platform.

  • STYLE. COMMUNITY. GREAT CLOTHING.

    Bored of counting likes on social networks? At Styleforum, you’ll find rousing discussions that go beyond strings of emojis.

    Click Here to join Styleforum's thousands of style enthusiasts today!

Psychology of clothing

tunnelrat

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 23, 2010
Messages
67
Reaction score
1
Do you wear any specific kind of clothes because they give you a certain feeling? E.g. I like to wear a black pullover waistcoat over my shirts, because it somehow makes me feel safe and gives me a feeling of distance from other people. The same goes with boots, if I wear them I immediately feel stronger and more confident. Do you have any such items or rituals with special meaning for you?
 

cimabue

Senior Member
Joined
May 19, 2008
Messages
639
Reaction score
2
I tuck my shirt into my underwear when I need a boost in confidence.
 

tunnelrat

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 23, 2010
Messages
67
Reaction score
1
Originally Posted by cimabue
I tuck my shirt into my underwear when I need a boost in confidence.

Good idea! Do you also close the fly on your trousers for the same effect?
 

SpallaCamiccia

Distinguished Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2010
Messages
2,364
Reaction score
4
Originally Posted by tunnelrat
Do you wear any specific kind of clothes because they give you a certain feeling? E.g. I like to wear a black pullover waistcoat over my shirts, because it somehow makes me feel safe and gives me a feeling of distance from other people. The same goes with boots, if I wear them I immediately feel stronger and more confident. Do you have any such items or rituals with special meaning for you?

You should read about DSM schizotipic personality disorder and magical thinking...


Yours are clearly the symbtoms.
 

tunnelrat

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 23, 2010
Messages
67
Reaction score
1
Originally Posted by SpallaCamiccia
You should read about DSM schizotipic personality disorder and magical thinking...


Yours are clearly the symbtoms.


Haha, thank you, Dr. Freud, but I don't think it's that bad. (I had a minor in psychology btw, so I've heard a thing or two about magical thinking.) It's not that when I don't have my favourite piece of clothing, I expect a bad day. Cmon, don't you feel and move differently when you have a formal suit with tie than if you wore shorts, sandals and a t-shirt?
 

longskate88

Distinguished Member
Joined
Oct 4, 2006
Messages
1,262
Reaction score
6
I agree with the OP, some days when you wear your "favorite" shirt you feel just a little more confident.

I just started my first office job and I find two things: My stuff fits better than anyone else in the office, which gives me confidence but at the same time makes me feel a little like an outsider when we go out to lunch for example. It's minor, but it's there..

I found that when I used to be into more expensive/branded stuff I felt a little smug when wearing it, not a good feeling.

I also feel more respectable/feel like I'll get taken more seriously when out in public when wearing a dress shirt vs. a T-shirt, etc.

I'm curious what others say..
 

EZETHATSME

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 31, 2009
Messages
784
Reaction score
3
Be interestesd to hear Holdfast's opinion on this.

Yeah, I probably sounds weird, but I notice a subtle psychological effect when wearing certain things. For example, I have a pair of Frye harness boots I wear with jeans, and I feel a certain "swagger" when I wear them.

EZ
 

Holdfast

Stylish Dinosaur
Joined
Mar 10, 2006
Messages
10,562
Reaction score
6,347
OK, well, I'll offer a few thoughts. I've blogged about other aspects of clothes psychology (starting here with something on dress codes) before, but I think the OP is talking more about the psychological reinforcement one can experience with an outfit one enjoys. This is not unique to clothing, of course. One can develop positive and negative associations - and therefore positive and negative feedback loops - with almost anything. At it most obvious, if you enjoy how you look when wearing an outfit, you're more likely to be confident and at ease and that impression is conveyed to others, who respond positively. The association and positive loop is cemented with further reinforcement on subsequent wearings, so the clothes become a mental short-cut for placing yourself in that mindset (viz Tiger Woods and his Sunday red shirt). It's not really any different to a sportsman with a lucky jersey. From a starting point of classical conditioning, it's reinforced by operant conditioning, and then cognitively reinforced by supersititious and magical beliefs. In that sense, it absolutely does have an element of magical thinking, but this isn't a necessarily a problem provided you're aware of it and know where the limits are! Equally, negative associations can also be learned. I used to have a dark green casual shirt that I happened to receive mildly unpleasant news when wearing. The next time I wore it some weeks later, I had a moment's trepidation on putting it on, remembering the last occasion I wore it, but then shrugged that off as nonsense superstition. Later that day, I got some far worse news. I couldn't wear that shirt again. Pure mindless superstitition, but there it is. Talking of positive and negative reinforcement, you also see it on these boards, as it leads to the "groupthink" often mentioned... and more topically, it also accounts for the marvellous culture clash that happened with the SWD/MC crossover challenges. The narrow nature of participants (professionally, socio-economically) has led to certain forms of dress becoming accepted and reinforced within each subforum, the details of which were known to the "insiders" but not to others. In that sense, "style" as we see it on SF will always be a distorted, twisted version of what is stylish to the breadth of society in real world. At its worst, this leads to so-called iGentism which really is a little subculture of weirdness all its own and well-worth observing for the mild psychopathology most of us demonstrate in the degree of neurosis we have about details that pass the wider world by. This is not uncommon in hobbyists in general however. It's just the subject matter that varies.
 

entrero

Distinguished Member
Joined
Jan 2, 2009
Messages
1,082
Reaction score
11


Doing this makes me feel I can take a bullet or two
 

ishakir

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 24, 2010
Messages
72
Reaction score
1
I should preface by saying I'm a psychiatrist who has rather minimal training in psychoanalysis, but I'll give this a stab.

It's funny, really, how something like a sweater or boots can have such an impact on the way we feel.

I'd imagine that there was something in your past that put a significant amount of meaning to "a black waistcoat". Perhaps it was in your childhood when, maybe, your mother or father used to wear one when they held you. Or, maybe it's the feeling the waistcoat produces on your skin that conjures up emotions of feeling safe back when you needed to.

The boots, by themselves, illicit thoughts of ruggedness, something you might wear when the weather is too tough for regular shoes. They generally make you feel taller and make more noise when you walk. The point being, they have "a greater presence" than shoes which, by itself, might bolster your confidence.

My grandfather used to wear this burgundy cashmere sweater. I have a few now that have a nearly supernatural ability to keep me warm.

Things, inanimate things, all around us have all kinds of affects on our minds. These things produce associations in our subconscious and manifest as emotion we are conscious of. The difficult part is making the reason why, conscious.
 

Threadbearer

Distinguished Member
Joined
Dec 25, 2007
Messages
2,761
Reaction score
653
Originally Posted by tunnelrat
Do you wear any specific kind of clothes because they give you a certain feeling?
I like to wear a black turtleneck and watch cap when I break into people's homes. Does that count?

Originally Posted by cimabue
I tuck my shirt into my underwear when I need a boost in confidence.
I need more confidence than that; I tuck my shirt into my socks.

Originally Posted by Holdfast
...it absolutely does have an element of magical thinking, but this isn't a necessarily a problem provided you're aware of it and know where the limits are!
Yep. As long as you know where the limits are.

 

Holdfast

Stylish Dinosaur
Joined
Mar 10, 2006
Messages
10,562
Reaction score
6,347
^ the pope has an awesome wardrobe!
Originally Posted by ishakir
Things, inanimate things, all around us have all kinds of affects on our minds. These things produce associations in our subconscious and manifest as emotion we are conscious of. The difficult part is making the reason why, conscious.
This is getting into "flight of fancy" territory (aka idle intellectual masturbation!) but one way to think about this is to consider them different kinds "form", to twist Plato a little. - there is a straightforward physical form to an item of clothing. - there is a conditioned/learned/emotional overlay to that, affected by our preconceptions and past experiences, creating a new form that lets us perceive the item as unique to us - in our unconscious mind, there is an ideal form of that object that is intelligible to mind, but can never quite be made reality. This partly explains some of our collective obssession with "perfect fit". It is an ideal impossible to achieve, and as we get closer to it, the divergence between our mental image of what it is and what we actually see in the mirror becomes more rather than less painful to behold, because it is tantalisingly close ("seeing the mind of God", as it were).
Or not. Probably. But it's amusing to play around with concepts.
 

KPO89

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 7, 2009
Messages
964
Reaction score
0
Plus +100 for this thread.

Anyone not wear your favorite shirt at times because you are afraid the" specialness" of it will wear off and you are saving it for a day when you really want that power feeling?
 

Featured Sponsor

What's your favorite pair of shoes to wear with jeans? (Choose two)

  • Boots (Chelsea, Chukkas, Balmorals, etc.)

  • Loafers

  • Work boots (Red Wing, Wolverine, etc.)

  • Monk strap shoes

  • Oxford / Derby shoes

  • Sneakers


Results are only viewable after voting.

Related Threads

Forum statistics

Threads
427,002
Messages
9,189,923
Members
193,021
Latest member
Pizzaman17

Styleforum is proudly sponsored by

Top