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Why do we even care about what we wear? A physiological look

What your wardrobe says about you.

In the early days, the key purpose of clothing was to keep us warm and dry. Today with central heating in our homes we have reduced our dependence on clothes to help us to survive. Clothes have developed from the practical item to a more social way of showing others how we see ourselves. They help us to show our personalities and social status.

Heres the facts (apparently)

I've been doing some fact finding about why we choose to wear what we do. It's been interesting to say the least. So here's what I found and my thoughts on them.

Dressing to Impress?

We seek to 'impress' potential partners.

A bit like how a peacock will display his vibrant fan of feathers in a mating show to show off to a female who he wishes to impress. Such rituals, although different for different animals they all have the same end goal. Humans will to create and wear clothes gives us a well considered advantage in a crowd of people trying to find a partner. We try to distinguish ourselves and demonstrate our individuality, showing the best form of ourselves.

People who dress like the boss are more likely to be appointed and get promoted quicker.

I can kinda run with this. Dressing with confidence promotes your character as strong and assertive. Therefore helping you to look and feel like a leader.

Men are more likely to approach a women for a date if she is wearing red.

Red is considered to be the colour of love. It is reported to make men feel more amorous towards women. A lady in red apparently shows the males that she is activity looking for love and has the boldness to show it.
Ancient rituals from those red paper lace hearts on Valentines day have been tied to passion and romance in many cultures over the course of history.

People show more mental agility when wearing a white coat, such as a doctor.

A study has shown that patients are more likely to consider a doctor more trustworthy and knowledgeable if they are wearing the traditional white coat over formal clothing.

From a young age we are taught about, or see doctors in white coats. We see our parent putting their trust in them when we are feeling unwell and vulnerable, so it stands to reason that we would carry on that trust as we grow up.

Women dress more provocatively when ovulating because they are at their most fertile.

Hmmm, I can't say that I've ever considered that when I've got dressed. However I guess it could be true on a more subtle level. Maybe us girls do this without even realising we are. Or it's more to do with the fact we've just finished our period and are feeling more human, therefore we dress with more care because we don't feel like crap!

Nine out of ten women own at least one item of clothing they have never worn. This is true of only a third of men.

I can run with this. Girls tend to buy clothes because they like them and they make them feel good whereas men tend to be a more practical shopper and buy clothing because they need it.

Runners are more likely to greet other runners who are wearing similar kit.

Not so sure about this one. If you're running, do you really have the time to look at someone else's kit? Personally I'd be more worried about collapsing. I think runners either acknowledge each other or they don't, depending on if they are that way inclined, rather than based on what they are wearing.

Wearing all one colour blurs the dividing lines and make the body look slimmer.

This I agree with. It's a given, especially when it comes to wearing black.

People stand further away from others who wear dated or unfashionable dress.

What!? I mean really! Fashionable or not, one would hope you're wearing something you like and are comfortable in it. So why would you stand away from people? That makes no sense.

Women are twice as likely to wear jeans when depressed than when happy.

Or, women wear them because they are comfy, easy to move about in and hard wearing. Nothing to do with feeling down in the dumps.

Provocatively dressed women are judged as being less competent than those who cover up.

Erm, by who exactly? I'm more likely to think, fair play to you, feeling great in your own skin. Does showing a bit of bust or leg mean she can't hold her own, in a deep conversation or run the family finances? - I think not!

A man in a tailor-made suit is thought to be more confident and more trustworthy than a man in an off-the-peg suit.

How do we know? Are we demanding to see suit labels, so we can tell? A suit either looks great or it doesn't. If the man wearing the suit feels confident he will feel it, regardless of where he got it.

The human eye takes longer to travel across patterned fabrics, this makes the body appear larger.

This has SOME truth behind it. Yes your eyes may well take longer to linger over the outfit because there is more to take in. However, does that necessarily mean you now look bigger? I doubt it.

People think they are physically stronger when wearing a Superman T-shirt.

Oh come on, really!

A female job candidate who is dressed in a masculine style is more likely to get appointed than one who is over-feminised.

If they are, they shouldn't be. Surely it's about who's right for the job.

Women perform worse on a maths test if wearing a swimsuit than in a sweater.

That's because you'd feel a complete tool wearing a swimsuit to sit a test. What a ridiculous statement.

Women are twice as likely as men to own more than ten pairs of shoes.

Well duh! Firstly, us girls have a lot more variance of garments, not just trousers or shorts. We wear a lot of different styles and colours. Shoes for girls are not a one pair suits all. We have many different functions for shoes. How many men buy shoes because they are pretty or because they make them feel good? Men are more likely to buy shoes to get from A to B.

Dress sense is what men notice first in a woman (before face and body). Women notice face, smile and eyes first in a man.

I can't speak for the men, but as a woman I can concur that a happy smiling face is definitely something I take notice of. Along with nice biceps and a peachy bottom.

Offenders receive a harsher sentence in court if they are wearing black.

I have zero personal experience of this. That said, one would hope that they get the sentence the crime deserves regardless of what they are wearing.

Dressing in a uniform associated with brutality unleashes aggressive behaviours.

Aggressive and brutal seems a little harsh. Strong, assertive and dependable is more like it. Plus sexy!

People are more willing to give money to someone whose dress style resembles their own.

Okay! So if I ask someone who dresses like me for money, I'm likely to get it? - Makes note to self.

Vertical lines on clothing create a longer illusion, but curves or bumps interrupting the lines create the opposite effect.

This isn't really psychology, it's a fact!

Men check themselves in a mirror or reflection twice as often as women.

Can't say I've noticed. I'm probably to busy getting on with my life.

People walk faster when approaching someone wearing red than wearing blue.

Why? I'm confused. Do I need to adjust my walking pace based on what a stranger is wearing?

A wide shoulder line creates a visual illusion that offsets wide hips.

This is a well practised fact in the world of fashion and dress making.

Choosing the right clothes can make a person less anxious and less depressed.

I'd spin this 'fact' on its head. Choosing the wrong clothes makes you feel uncomfortable and therefore anxious.

So there you have it folks. What's your thoughts on these findings? Feel free to comment below.

I'd be interested to know if you agree or disagree with my thoughts about these 'facts'. 


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