Our fashion and clothing choices say a lot about us to the world, and can determine our outcomes with regard to employment, social interactions, and dating. Most or all of this perception occurs on a subconscious level, but bringing this knowledge to the surface and applying it to your wardrobe going forward will be an effective tool for conveying yourself to the world in a very intentional and more accurate way. Let’s take a look at what the clothes we wear say about us.
As a Personality Identifier
Color speaks to personality on a subconscious level. Here’s a little cheat sheet letting you know which character traits are attributed to each color. Dress accordingly!
- Black: Strength, power, sophistication, elegance, authority.
Blue: Creativity, positivity, peace, loyalty, quick wit, independence.
- Brown colors: grounded, stable, smart, and dependable.
- Grey: Indifference, depression, apathy, lack of confidence.
- Silver: adventurous, bold, modern.
- Red: Sensual, aggressive, passionate, and bold.
- Orange: Creative, enthusiastic, warm, ambitious, energetic, positive, engaging.
- Pink: Loving, passive, nurturing.
Purple: Intuitive, artistic, creative, rich in spirit.
Yellow: Logical, happy, cheerful, and optimistic.
Green: Charming, generous, healing, charismatic and empathetic.
- White: Balance, harmony, purity, and courage.
As A Social Indicator:
Wealth: Clothing used to serve the sole practical function of keeping us warm, but in more recent times has been used as an indicator of status or wealth. George Taylor’s Hemline Index, created in the 1920s, concluded that as a country or society experiences a recession (loss of money), women wore longer dresses. During times of prosperity (gain of money), the dresses got shorter. Psychologically, this might indicate that longer dresses require less effort or thought, and are a sign of apathy toward fashion. Who can bother caring about appearance when one is preoccupied with worries about paying for food and housing? Shorter dresses are simply more interesting, and so it can be deduced that this is a mark of someone who doesn’t have to worry about money.
Mate selection: Just as male peacocks display their colorful feathers to attract a female mate, we likely use our clothing as an aesthetic tool to compete for a mate. On the other hand, we may also use clothes as avoidance tools, but blending in to crowds with nondescript or uniform clothing. Fun fact: studies show that males in tight-fitting clothes were perceived as more masculine than those in baggy clothes.
As A Professional Indicator:
Success: Getting back to the basics when trying to project an image of success is essential. Little black dresses, blazers, dress shoes and button ups will always project an image of competence and effort. On the other hand, wearing ill-fitting, overly casual or unremarkable clothing projects the idea that you don’t care about your image or success; that you don’t want to put forth any effort or exude any confidence. We can wear clothing which indicates where we think we are or where we want to be on the socioeconomic ladder. This brings us back to the old axiom, “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.”
Performance: A concept called “enclothed cognition” concludes that people perform differently based on what they are wearing. Participants in a study donned a while coat. Those who were told it was a doctor’s coat performed their allotted tasks more carefully than those who were told it was a painter’s smock. Change your performance by dressing for how you want to perform. This will impact how others perceive you.