Image by: Taz
The Psychology of Clothes
In a hoard of people, you’ll hear one or two voices arguing for the irrelevance of clothes and appearance: “Don’t judge a book by its cover!” “Looks don’t matter!”
I’m averse to being shallow here, but I’ve got to say it: Looks do make a difference. I’m not too scared of saying that though because secretly everyone knows it’s true.
I’m not saying that I have categories of ‘looks’ that I will and won’t accept. It’s more just recognition that it happens: If I don’t know a person, and I haven’t spoken to them before, of course how they look is going to affect me - it’s the only thing I have to go on!
But what exactly makes us choose the clothes we do?
Is there a reason why I like blue?
Why do some people go for certain patterns over others?
I’ve found the following explanations for different shirts a man might wear: Do any of these things ring true for you or your partner?
Blue Striped Shirt
This shirt would probably be the easy choice for the majority of my male friends.
Research has found certain colours of blue trigger feelings of calm and some studies have shown people to be calmer and more focused on specific tasks when they’re sat in a blue room.
There’s also something about darker navy shades of blue that beckon notions of dependability and steadfastness: Just think about the number of uniforms you’ve seen of this colour!
And the stripes?
Well, analysts of drawing and those interested in the meaning of shapes have concluded vertical lines associate in people’s minds with ‘masculinity’ itself.
Hard vertical, straight lines are also supposed to represent traits like willpower and self-control.
Could these things explain why the blue striped shirt is such a popular business clothing choice for men?
Pink and Purple Shirts
If you find yourself in a stressful, pretty competitive aggressive working environment, do you think a pink shirt would help?
Well, actually, maybe it would – studies have shown that pink is one of the most pacifying colours there is and may neurologically encourage the calming of aggression.
Some prisons have put this to the test to see if makes a difference to inmates’ behaviour: The prison colour scheme is pink, they sleep on pink, and they dress in pink. You can read more about this here.
Purple: The average person considers purple to be the closest thing to pink there is but actually purple is unique in that it’s supposed to stimulate problem solving areas of the brain.
In the old days, purple was often used in the garb of kings and queens, so many people also read royalty and prosperity into this colour.
The question is, how does purple make you feel?
Grey Checked Shirts
The grey checked shirt is another popular choice amongst mens clothing.
The colour grey in itself, as you can guess, is more than anything a safe, neutral option. It’s associated with the practical, timeless things in life.
Much about grey suggests conservatism, composure and sturdiness – and a desire not to attract too much attention oneself.
Interestingly, the squares of a checked shirt go hand in hand with all this, representing stability and trusted forms.
Like ‘grey’ itself, there’s something about a checked shirt that suggests order, rationalism and a degree of formalism.
Clearly every person is different, and different combinations probably produce different results. I’ve looked at just a few here.
Do you believe in clothes psychology?
Susannah Perez writes blogs for Gagliardi shirts and appreciates seeing high quality, fine-looking clothing for men. She’s also interested in the surreal world of clothes psychology. Catch her on Twitter now !