Psychlogy of Fashion

Inga Vilenski

It has been said that individuals act out the roles that are associated with their identities and positions in society. This statement clearly relates to the case studies provided in the assignment package. It states that we have to look the part to play the part. This is an ingenious statement because what we look like is often controlled by society and it's positions we take. An example would be the career positions that we usually desire to occupy. If we do not own businesses, we tend to want to work for large companies. Such companies, admired by us, are usually image-controlled. Disney employs 32000 people on Orlando and it operates the most obsessive image-control program outside of military. Companies, including Disney want their employees to have proper appearance management in order to look successful.

Conservative attire such as Traditional Business Wear is perceived as the most successful look for an individual. The companies want individuals to act the role of successful employee to display the success and professionalism of the company.

For the reason that we perceive ones who are not playing roles that are associated with their positions in society as being improper and unsafe, we tend not to trust them and be very careful by managing what we do or say around such persons. If an employee is perceived in such a way, the result of the customers' responses will be anything but positive, and the retailer will feel the impact caused by negative feedback towards the employee.

To succeed in today's society most people have to work, and seeking employment is not an easy task, especially if an individual has set high goals for him/her self, but does not know how to manage own appearance and the message becomes unfocused. Since wrong first impressions are irreversible, an individual's knowledge, attitude, character, etc, will not be attention worthy, and therefore, the desired employment will be given to someone with a better wardrobe and personal appearance management. Outcome for that would be that the employers cast by appearance rather then hire. The reason for the employers to enforce the image-control programs now becomes clearly understandable.

A good example taken from the second article of the assignment package would be a woman dressed in masculine attire. We stereotype that woman as someone attracted to the same sex, or a tough woman who can stand up for her self in almost any situation.

The society's expectations for women are that women appear feminine and manage their appearance in such way. However, women began to adopt masculine look since it was approved by society for them to wear pants. This adaptation process is still progressing; and women now are adapting to the disregard for wearing makeup, styling hair, and even wearing men's attire such as neckties. Places like McDonald's have adapted a uniform that entails wearing a necktie for both sexes. A necktie is associated with responsibility, intelligence, sophistication, and status. Women needed a symbol that would send the message stating those social positions. There is neckwear that is targeted for women; and that is a scarf. These body enclosures are not only used as a form of protection, but also as an item of identity display (the adornment theory). It is a good idea to make use of women's neckwear to go along with the procedures of feminine grooming for a job interview, because as I stated before, it demonstrates responsibility, intelligence, sophistication and status. Those are the main social positions an individual would want the employer to perceive.

All human beings have different interests, styles, and appearances. However, when it comes to responsibilities it all narrows down to categorizing humans by age, gender and income. One of our main responsibilities is working after getting a job.

Our parents encourage us during our childhood and adolescence to be ourselves. However, when time arrives to actually seek employment we learn that the larger companies manipulate our parents' efforts.

The way in which we dress is one of the many forms of expression that makes one an individual. When we go to seek employment, our appearance has to be managed thoroughly. Thus, the only way an individual can be him/her self is through knowledge. Nevertheless, to the employers, first impressions are not perceived with knowledge, but rather comes from the appearance. An example