Fashion and Psychology: What Does Your Wardrobe Say About Your Personality?

We’ve all heard the saying, “you are what you wear” and science confirms it. As it turns out, your style says a lot about who you are.

Color psychology dives deeper into this subject – specifically how colors influence the way you behave, the way you feel and others’ opinions of you. If you looked in my closet, for example, you’d see mainly white, black, blue and pink (read on to see what each color means). And if someone were to describe my style, they would probably say I’m a mix of feminine and sporty. It’s no secret the majority of my wardrobe is dresses and skirts (and it’s not because I have anything against pants).

To be honest, I think dresses are more comfortable and I feel more like myself in a dress. And when I’m not wearing a dress, I’m in workout clothes since I’m active and always on-the-go. Think about it: if someone asked you why you wear what you wear, what would you say? It’s probably along the same lines of “this is me” and “this feels the most comfortable.”

Look Good, Feel Good

While it’s true that your clothing affects the way others perceive you, it also affects the way you see yourself. There is a great deal of truth behind the saying, “look good, feel good.” Fashion goes beyond the surface; it’s more than labels and what’s trending.

Studies show what you wear influences your thoughts, feelings and behavior. The way you dress sets the stage for how you will approach your day.

Ladies, think about the way you feel when you wear high heels: confident, strong and ready to take on the world. Men, think about the way you feel when you wear a suit: powerful, polished, and smooth.

The Science of Enclothed Cognition

Researchers Hajo Adam and Adam D. Galinsky coined the term “enclothed cognition”, exploring how clothes affect the psychology of the wearer.

In their experiments, they examined the effects of wearing a lab coat – the type of clothing associated with attentiveness and carefulness. Participants were asked to complete various attention-related tasks and those who wore the lab coat performed significantly better than those who weren’t wearing lab coats.

Dr. Galinsky explained “you have to wear the coat, see it on your body and feel it on your skin for it to influence your psychological processes.”

So, how do you dress for success? What can we wear to feel like the best version of ourselves?

If you want to be bold, you need to dress the part. And it all starts with choosing the right color. According to Psychologists S.C. Robert, R. C. Owen and J. Havlicek, color has an unconscious effect on your posture and facial expressions. Wearing a powerful color like red or black makes others see you as more powerful.

And here’s another fun fact: Did you know red clothing is associated with success in sports? Yes, as it turns out, winners wear red.

Activewear Promotes Physical Activity

According to a study conducted by Victoria University, wearing activewear does, in fact, encourage exercise. With busy schedules and a to-do list a mile long, many of us make excuses to put physical activity on the backburner. But as it turns out, if you’re dressed in activewear, it increases the changes you will get moving.

When it comes to making healthier lifestyle choices, “sometimes the first step is actually associating with it, wearing something that makes you feel healthier,” said Lead researcher Associate Professor Clare Hanlon.

When it comes to exercise, having the right mentality is more than half the battle. Since clothes affect our attitude, wearing something that you feel comfortable in that will give you the extra confidence boost you need.

Color Psychology: A Guide for What to Wear

According to color expert Leatrice Eiseman, colors affect us the same way that colors affect nature. For example, the color blue is associated with blue skies, and this creates a feeling of calm and inner peace. On the other hand, the color red is tied to fire, which is intense and aggressive.

As a result, blue would be the perfect choice in an office setting whereas red would be great for a sports jersey, since you’d want to intimidate the opponent. Red is a very bold, passionate color, which is why it’s hard to ignore a woman in a red dress. We all know the “Lady in Red” song. Think about all the movies you’ve seen and how red is often used to portray a woman who is powerful and striking.

Based on numerous studies, here’s a color guide on what to wear:

  • Blue – loyal, calm, stable
  • Red – passionate, intense
  • Yellow – happy, optimistic
  • Orange – fun, energetic, warm
  • Green – healing, hopeful
  • Purple – luxurious, spiritual
  • Pink – sweet, nurturing
  • Black – mysterious, powerful, elegant
  • White – pure, innocent
  • Brown – natural, reliable

And here’s the best part: with this guide, you can pick a color based on the mood you’re currently in or the mood you want to be in. So, if you want to feel happier, wear yellow. If you’re in an upbeat mood and feeling energized, wear orange.

And when in doubt, wear blue. It’s considered the most stable color and has positive psychological effects on you and those around you. 

So, if you want to learn more about yourself and others, start paying attention to the colors in their wardrobe. What are your go-to colors? Share your favorites in the comments below!

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