a woman power dressed in off-white

Fashion Psychology: Why You Wear What You Wear

We all make extra efforts on dressing up and slaying our favorite outfits based on our personal style. Not that we want extra attention or that we want to be in the limelight, we simply want to be clothed according to our personality. Truth is, fashion psychology is one unheard paradigm, which, when taken into consideration, will make good and lasting impacts on our day-to-day lives.

There may be times we feel guilty when we spend longer times in front of the mirror and change from one outfit to another. This doesn’t mean we are narcissistic or in complete vanity– we are just being self-aware and conscious of our wardrobe preferences. We want to look good in front of the public, particularly on special occasions. Only when we feel gorgeous and glammed up in our favorite outfits will we ever feel comfortable and ready to go.

We are accustomed to hearing the cliche adage “look good, feel good”. It is true indeed. So let’s munch on the concept of fashion psychology and enclothed cognition and understand the whys and consequences of our personal fashion preferences and how clothes make the man or woman that we are.

Modest Wardrobe Preferences


The Fashion Psychology Behind The Clothes We Wear

Fashion psychology investigates every challenge in fashion through the lens of psychology to better understand human emotions,” shares designer researcher Priyanka Gangwal.

If we are going to make a self-assessment on our current fashion style, can we say that we are formal, edgy, professional-looking, unique, sassy, powerful, youthful, girly, preppy, old-school, casual, clever, or do we just randomly wear what we want to wear without much of a bother?

Fashion aficionados would most certainly head straight on and identify their personal style. But for those who couldn't care less about what others might think, this would be a very tough question to answer.

Research shows that there’s still a lot of us who are fashion conscious yet unable to recognize the wardrobe ideals we have in our fashion bucket list. Digging deep into our closet choices includes identifying which colors we prefer, where we buy our clothes, how we accessorize and glam up, the brands we patronize, the specific patterns we wear (i.e., polka dots, floral, stripes, etc.). For sure, you have already heard your inner voice calling out to you and imploring you to wear a modest dress for a Sunday church service, a classy and elegant one for a special occasion, etc.

The real question all  boils down to this: how do we want ourselves to be perceived by onlookers? Do we want to be recognized by others as formal, sophisticated, weird, or casual? Do we want to appear intimidating, approachable, or respectable?


A woman with fashion consciousness wearing a blue coat

You And Your Style Explained

Whether we admit it or not, our personal style says a lot about us and the kind of person that we are. The clothes we wear make the man or woman that we are. The same goes for the accessories we use to add a little splash of dazzle and sparkle in our everyday look. Our fashion sense sends some non-verbal cues or hints to people on how we want them to treat us or how we want to be perceived by others.

According to dress scholars Mary Ellen Roach and Joanne Eicher, our wardrobe preferences are one of the main ways we send social signals because what we wear shows our identity. Roach and Eicher further elaborate that the way we dress up reveals the power we can muster, the influence we have towards others, our cleverness, intellect, and wit, and lastly, how much money we earn.

Have you ever had that sense of excitement about wearing that dress you purchased as a gift to yourself? Were there times your brain impulsively redirected you towards wearing that specific outfit in your closet? There may be a lot of dresses or other closet staples to choose from but you’ve got your mind fixed on wearing that special outfit. Yes! That is your brain sending signals to you that wearing that particular knit dress will make you feel so much better. What happens when you don’t get to wear that particular selection? You feel a bit dismayed and you may even feel somehow uncomfortable and self-conscious when people look at you.

Accessorized Based on Personal Style

“Enclothed” Cognition Defined

Research into the impact of clothes on one’s behavior reveals that there may actually be a grain of truth in the saying “dress for the job you want, not the job you have”. Science exclaims that what we wear impacts our personality, mood, confidence, attitudes, behaviors, and the way we make social interactions thereafter. This is referred to as enclothed cognition which simply describes the systematic influence that clothing articles have on the wearer’s psychological processes. 

For instance, when we see a man wearing a lab coat, we begin to assume and perceive that he may be a scientist or someone in the field of medicine (more often than not, we associate lab coats with doctors or surgeons).

Suited Up To Conquer

What we wear makes a great impact on our overall mood– take the remote working scenario for example. When we proceed to read emails and carry on our daily tasks at work in just our pajamas, we feel less motivated and more sleepy. 

In contrast, when we put that favorite fashionable blazer on and wear some pants, we start to feel more determined and we strive to accomplish whatever work we have on our plate. We feel more professional, more camera-ready, and more confident (on Zoom meetings with the bosses and executive, yay!). According to Brain Fodder, tailored jackets are associated with “being dressed for success” because it seems that wearing formal office attire and well-structured clothes positions us into the right frame of mind, into an attitude of sincerity to carry on in our businesses.

Plus, the clothes we wear set up some office vibe and help create a ripple of advocating work and life blend– we begin to feel that there are boundaries between our careers and personal lives.


Put a happy face in every passing moment and enjoy your body, enjoy your life. Wear the clothes that define you and be unapologetically happy to genuinely express yourself. You are who you are and your uniqueness is what makes the world even more beautiful (and less stressful)!

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