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About clothing and self-confidence

Too old for your favorite jeans? Too young for the beige sweater? We explore the question of how clothing and self-confidence are related. Read now.

What we wear and how we choose our clothes varies from day to day. Sometimes we wear something because it is appropriate. Other times we base ourselves on what others consider chic. Maybe we dress without even thinking about it. Culture and society have a significant influence on our clothing style.
We all have ideas about what others think of our appearance. Am I too old to wear these jeans? Am I too young for the beige sweater? This article explains the connection between clothes and self-confidence and what clothes do to our minds.

Of ideal images and self-images

Why is it that we feel more confident in certain items of clothing than others? Why does it seem to us as if we could suddenly take over the world in our favorite dress, while we don't even want to go out the door in a baggy sweater? Is it because in the new dress we look a little more like the social ideal that we have internalized over the decades? In suits we look a bit like the boss. With the pants, a bit like the type of person we always wanted to be.

Clothes reflect what we think of others – and ourselves

We all have attitudes, ideals and goals. We orient ourselves towards people or groups who represent these values ​​for us. We subconsciously associate certain items of clothing with people we value and admire. And ultimately the values ​​that such a piece of clothing can bring to us are also crucial. We signal our belonging to subcultures, social classes, age groups or professions.

Clothing and social media

The difference from before? Today, social media makes it easier to spread ideals. We see role models on Instagram and wish we could be like them. It is not uncommon for us to pursue unrealistic ideals. But at the same time it has become easier to identify people and groups who share the same ideals. Young people feel empowered by communities and idols. Fast fashion brands and retailers allow you to buy your favorite item of clothing within two weeks for a tenth of the price.

The aging of taste

Sure, teenagers, we think. But what if we are more experienced? When we have formed values ​​and opinions based on personal experience and our personality is more mature? When it comes to clothing, we base ourselves – mostly intuitively – on people of the same age. Maybe the circle of people whose style you share has become smaller. But the unconscious search for role models remains. Maybe it's people we know - or those with comparable incomes - who we're now taking our cues from.

Workwear – More than overalls and gloves

In many professions we slip into roles every day. We become a person with whom certain qualities and characteristics are associated. Uniforms, for example, convey authority. If a pilot or paramedic wore everyday clothing, at first glance the confidence in their abilities would only be half as great.

We put on our work clothes and suddenly show the responsibility that comes with our job. Therefore, we try to live up to expectations. So does work clothes make us better people?

Suit wearer equals high achiever?

In a study by Adam Galinsky and Hajo Adam, test subjects had to solve a series of concentration tasks. Some of them wore white doctor's coats, while others wore their everyday clothes. The test subjects in white performed significantly better - encouraged by the effect of the coat and the properties associated with it. This psychological effect is called enclothed cognition . He describes the influence of clothing on mental processes.

Of course, all of this depends on the associations we have with a piece of clothing. A white coat – regardless of the garment itself – can express various skills. A doctor's coat, for example, stands for professionalism, a painter's coat for creativity. We associate a suit with seriousness, because people in suits make important decisions. They 'hold' high offices and manage companies. When we wear a suit like that, the possibility of being someone like that doesn't seem so far-fetched. Our appearance is right, self-confidence and a sense of duty follow.

Psychology of colors

The color also has an effect. Which color of clothing suits me depends on the individual type. Blue combines calm and depth, but also stands for distance, coolness and seriousness. Red, on the other hand, is considered a signal color. It attracts attention, signals strength, vitality - and sometimes aggressiveness. Yellow is very vibrant and dynamic.
The two extremes of the color spectrum, black and white, are associated with special occasions, such as funerals and weddings. While white is considered innocent and pure, black symbolizes ambition and seriousness, while also radiating formality and elegance.

Unwritten rules of clothing

Our society has many unwritten dress codes that we adhere to and rarely question. Hardly anyone goes shopping in their pajamas, even though it would certainly be more comfortable. Showing up to a meeting in running shorts might be considered rude. Dressing for an occasion shows that it is important to us and that we are making an effort. We take the matter seriously and give it emphasis. We simply make a professional impression in a blazer. We convey seriousness to the outside world. People perceive us differently and treat us more respectfully. When we wear a high-quality suit, we automatically stand straighter, not least because that is the posture expected of us. In pajamas, on the other hand, the pressure of expectations is much lower - but if you want to feel comfortable on the couch, you will hardly find a better item of clothing. In short: clothes allow us to slip into roles.

Which values ​​are important to me?

Today there is an increasing need to know where our food comes from and where – and by whom – our consumer goods are produced. This shouldn't be any different when it comes to clothing. Who made my T-shirt – and under what conditions? What materials were used for this? Where did the supply chain start?
The basic question behind these considerations is: Do the processes align with my values ​​and ideals? Norms such as empathy and environmental protection, which have long been established in society, are still missing in large parts of the fashion industry.

Choice of clothing: More than just feeling comfortable

Feeling comfortable in your clothes should therefore be more than just a nice cut or a color that flatters me. It should be about making a holistic and conscious decision: for fairly manufactured clothing. For resource-saving manufacturing processes. Bringing awareness of such values ​​to the outside world means cultivating self-confidence.
With this in mind, it's worth taking a closer look at which piece of clothing I choose and why I like it so much. Only when I am aware of my values ​​and attitudes can I succeed in conveying them to the outside world.

The better it will feel to look in the mirror.

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