What’s wrong here?

What’s wrong here?

Whether you like it or not, unless you’re a nudist, clothes are a huge part of our everyday lives. 
you may think you don’t care about fashion but if you’ve ever been on a date or job interview, I hate to break it to you but you’re guilty of dressing to impress…

but why are the clothes we wear so important to us whether it be consciously or subconsciously? No matter how many times we’re told not to judge a book by it’s cover, we are naturally hardwired to base initial opinions on how others present themselves, although this was originally to decipher friends from threats we are all still guilty of of judging other books, this is why we pick out our best outfits to meet people for the first time, so their first impression of us is a positive one.

 This is seen in phenomenon such as the halo effect, when we essentially believe pretty people can do no wrong, those who present well to us we are more likely to see the positives whereas people we may view as unattractive or unkept we tent to view negatively, think of super hot superman against whichever ugly villain he’s fighting that week, if the villain had a chiseled jawline and we’re over 6ft we more likely to say “oh well he can’t be that bad…” hence all the women protesting the execution of Ted Bundy because he was just too charming to have ever committed those horrible crimes.


We also apply this bizarre logic to get this… OURSELVES! You’d think we know ourselves well enough to know what we are capable of but a 2012 study found the way we are dressed can have a huge impact on not only the way we act, but the way we think and our abilities to complete tasks. In this study 3 groups of people were given the exact same white coat, group 1 is asked to put on a “painters coat”, group 2 a “doctors coat” and group 3 a “doctors coat” again but unlike group 2 have to stand next to the coat instead of wear it. All groups were then asked to complete the exact same brain teaser test. It was found those in group 2 wearing the doctors coat showed much increased attentional abilities and scored higher in the tests than both group 1 and 3 who showed no improvement to their usual abilities. This means just putting on a simple lab coat can change the our entire believes about ourselves. So why don’t we all walk around wearing lab coats to be extra smart all the time? Well the short answer is, we do. As Maria Raveedran explains the theory of enclothed cognition, we all have our own personal lab coats, items of clothing that make us feel good about ourselves, for me it’s an absolutely massive coat and chunky jewellery that make me feel like I can conquer the world. We feel our best selves when we’re wearing our best outfit.

So that begs the question, what makes a person physically appealing to us in regards to what they wear? Who decided what is a good outfit and what’s just plain ugly? Why is a buff shirtless guy completely accepted (and often encouraged) but a buff guy with no pants on but the rest of his clothes looks absolutely ridiculous to us? Aside from the obvious similarities to Winnie The Poo, there’s actually quite a bit of science behind why this is so unsightly to us.

One of the most present theories is trend. We as a human collective tend to conform with others and the current trends in our society, think the flapper dresses of the 1920s, the huge hair and shoulder pads of the 80s and the skinny jeans of the early 2000s. Any of these styles in an era that they don’t belong in is naturally quite surprising to us. This might mean that although a man in suit jacket and no trousers might be strange to us now, may be all the rage in the 2080’s. 
so who decides what’s fashion and what’s a fail? Well this question lead sociologist Thorstein Veblen to introduce the theory of the leisure class, this is the theory that fashion and trends were brought about due to consumer culture in the 19th century, this is when large factory owners and particularly their wives realised the sheer amount of disposable income they had and began buying lavish clothing and accessories and throwing lavish parties to show them off. Items were being bought to show of status leading to the guilded age famously known for kickstarting capitalism.




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