Keeping up with the latest fashion trends is a full-time occupation for many of us. We spend an inordinate proportion of our day perusing the style feeds of various magazines and digesting the content. Kendall Jenner is never far away.
Occasionally, it is worth taking a step back and thinking about why we’re so into fashion. What is it about those glasses or that jacket that makes us go so crazy?
If you’re anything like most fashionistas, you’ve found yourself in this position multiple times. You go into a store, see an item you want, and just have to have it. No power on Earth can stop you from whipping out your credit card and purchasing said item. You’re almost powerless to resist.
The psychology is this situation is unusual. What is it about fashion that is so compelling? What keeps people coming back for more?
Style psychologists are on the case. For years they’ve been analyzing our style choices and trying to explain why we do what we do. Interestingly, though, it’s not just one reason. There seems to be a menu of factors that encourages people to engage every day with everything fashionable. Kim Kardashian’s Instagram feed has a lot to do with it. But it doesn’t explain it all.
Your subconscious is driving your decision-making
The subconscious is an essential idea in psychology, but it isn’t something we often think about. Occasionally, we’ll reflect on what we’re doing and chalk it up to the unconscious part of our psyche. But other than that, it doesn’t play a massive role in our lives.
The unconscious, however, is way more important than you think when it comes to what you decide to wear. Researchers believe that your parents’ style when you are growing up informs many of your decisions about what you wear right now.
Sometimes, you don’t know why you’re attracted to a particular jacket, you just are. Psychologists think that the decision has to do with their childhood environment for some people. The clothes that their parents wore appear attractive and then inform their future choices. If the cut is similar to what mom or dad wore, that’s often enough to provoke us to buy it. We don’t know why we want it. We just do.
Fashion choices tend to run in families. Children will unconsciously veer towards the preferences of their parents, especially as they get older. There’s an element of attachment and emotional connection in the garments that attract us. And that could explain why we’re so crazy about fashion. It’s tugging at our heartstrings. And we’re always in search of new interpretations of parental styles we love. It’s a creepy idea – especially since it is unconscious – but it could be having an outsized effect on your life.
You might just fear change
Sometimes we focus on something not because we love it, but because we hate it. It’s a source of fear and anxiety for us, so we always have one eye open, making sure that it’s not going to come and get us.
Take jeans, for instance. Many people were perfectly happy with the state of jeans at the turn of the millennium. Baggy was the style of the day and everyone felt comfortable in their clothes. It was a perfectly acceptable fashion choice. Soon after, skinny jeans emerged, and they never really went away. Over time, they became so dominant that everyone felt like they had to jump on the bandwagon, even if they hated the idea. Now, many people who fear fashion are wondering what’s going to happen next. What will Vogue decree as the next fashionable way to wear jeans? It’s a worry.
You have to keep up with the latest because of your job
Perhaps the reason for your obsession with fashion has nothing to do with your psychology and everything to do with your job. Maybe you need to wear a specific brand listed on a site like https://www.eyeglasses.com. Or maybe your work colleagues consider fashionability a key indicator of success. Perhaps you even work for a clothing brand and need to keep up appearances.
Well, if you find yourself in this boat, you’re not alone. Commentators, like https://graziadaily.co.uk/, view it as a big reason why people feel like they have to go out of their way on the fashion front.
For some people, workwear is a bit like a school uniform, but the stakes are higher. Having a wardrobe of power suits is vital for projecting power and helping oneself move up the office hierarchy. For others, it is more about trying to keep up with colleagues who seem to have their finger on the pulse of fashion trends.
There are sound economic reasons to go out of your way to remain fashionable, though. The visual is an important marker of personal brand and can change the trajectory of your career. Often, it is worth the investment.
Maybe you’re having an identity crisis
Having an identity crisis sounds like a bad thing. But for many people, it can actually help. There might have been a problem with your identity before, and now you’re addressing it.
Fashion plays an important role here because it is an outward expression of what’s going on on the inside. People can spend their entire lives wearing clothing that doesn’t feel right to them. But it is only when they start questioning their identity that they begin to experiment. Some of their ideas fall flat on their faces. But others can strike a chord and they take them forward.
Clothing and apparel can make a big difference in self-worth. When you throw on the odd pair of shorts or t-shirt from the bargain store, you’re not doing anything to make yourself feel better. But when your fashion choices are deliberate and expressive, you suddenly look different. Just wearing beautiful clothing can change how you think. It deeply affects your emotions. And that brings us full circle, all the way back to psychology.