Clothing choices and their impact on self-image

“Clothes maketh the man”, Shakespeare declared famously. Mark Twain, in his peculiar witty style, came up with deeper insight. “Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society”, he quipped.

Both these quotes highlight the fact that the way you dress really has an influence on how others perceive you and, more importantly, how you perceive yourself.

Clothes and the mind

Your self-image or body image not only comprises of your facial features or physical body but also your clothes. When you look in the mirror, your mind does not ignore your clothes and say, “That’s got nothing to do with how I look, these clothes aren’t part of my body”.

Instead, your mind considers your apparel very much as part of your body and so, when you look at yourself, your clothes contribute greatly to the self-image that you form.

This is the reason why, when you wear something that you don’t like, you form a negative self-image of yourself and feel less confident. On the contrary, when you wear something that you like (new clothes, for example) you form a positive self-image of yourself that makes you feel confident and have high self-esteem.

Summer, winter, and self-image

During summer people wear light and fewer clothes that can make some people feel confident and others not so confident, depending on how their self-image is affected.

Women who are overweight feel more confident and relaxed in winter than in summer. This is because in winter they know that they can blame the extra clothes that they are wearing for the way they look.

Men who are extremely thin are likely to feel less confident in summer. In winter, when they wear extra clothes, they subconsciously think they’ve actually grown bigger and this lets them develop a positive self-image.

Similarly, people who don’t like their hair feel more relaxed in winter because they can cover it with a cap all the time.

People who don’t have anybody image problems are usually the ones who like summer- it’s their favourite season of the year. On the contrary, people who like winter might actually be the ones who get to cover up some sort of a self-image problem in that season.

But it may not be true for all the cases. There might be other reasons why some people like the winter, such as snowfall or holidays. You should always look for more than one clue whenever you come up with a psychological conclusion.

For example, if you ask someone why they like winter and they reply with something like “I don’t know, I just like it” check for other clues that might point towards a self-image problem.

No one will admit they have a self-image problem. No one wants to look bad. But they’ll always provide indirect clues which you can connect together to see the bigger picture.

For instance, if, on some other occasion the same person says, “I hate summer; you got to worry about how you look all the time” There it is! You got it. You now know why they like winter, even if they themselves have no idea why.

clothing choices

What about those who don’t care what they wear?

You can safely assume that almost all people care about the clothes that they wear, even if they claim otherwise, and no matter how many times they tell you not to ‘judge a book by its cover’. It’s an intrinsic part of human nature. There’s nothing that can be done about it.

Sure, you might eventually reason yourself out of judging people this way but that doesn’t mean you’ll stop making snap judgments based on the clothes that people wear.