“Poles are afraid to look nice.” Fashion psychologist reveals the reason

"Poles are afraid to look nice." Fashion psychologist reveals the reason

When a Pole comes to me, we first have to work on his patterns from childhood. Break the stereotypes that are ingrained in your head. These are beliefs like: what’s in your head is more important than what you look like. These patterns cause a lot of discomfort. However, defeating them is very difficult. I honestly admit that I have never met a foreigner with such blocks resulting from upbringing – says fashion psychologist Ewa Kawczyńska-Jurczak. The expert also explains what makes us choose one outfit rather than another when shopping, and are these decisions based solely on our preferences?

Paulina Cywka, “Directly”: What is fashion psychology?

Ewa Kawczyńska-Jurczak*: It’s a scientific field. It is not yet well known in Poland, but it is developing dynamically abroad, including in London and New York. There are even postgraduate courses that develop the knowledge of psychology students in this area. Although the term fashion psychology itself was coined only ten years ago.

What does fashion psychology deal with?

Fashion psychology deals with image as a psychological tool that stimulates our behavior and emotional states. It also influences character traits in the long run.

It is often said, “tell me what you eat and I will tell you who you are.” Can we apply this saying to the psychology of fashion and say, “show me what you wear and I will tell you who you are”?

Theoretically yes, although that would be a very strong and inappropriate generalization. Many different factors influence the way we dress. However, following the path you indicated: seeing the contents of someone’s closet and the clothes they choose, we can determine what the reasons for these purchasing decisions are (but only after conducting an interview with the person in question).

Please tell me how the character traits you mentioned relate to clothing style?

Generally, the brain chooses clothes that strengthen the weakest character traits. It stimulates those spaces where there are the greatest deficiencies, although we are not always aware of their existence.

So can we assume that if someone chooses brightly colored clothes, they lack self-confidence?

In a sense, yes, although it doesn’t have to be just about lack of self-confidence. Bright colors can also be chosen by a person with ADHD who needs a rush of dopamine or a person who has low energy and is looking for stimuli that could stimulate them. Choosing bright colors in clothes may also be a reaction to depression. A person who wears clothes in intense, eye-catching colors often wants to increase their sense of comfort.

Therefore, it is not possible to clearly and directly link certain character traits with a specific style of clothing?

NO. This would be too much of a generalization. It cannot be said that a specific piece of clothing conveys one character trait. Rather, certain arrangements of clothing items and their aesthetics can be analyzed. Take a white shirt for example. It may indicate several different features. A lot depends on what kind of shirt we choose (plain, patterned, etc.), whether we iron it, and whether we pay attention to details (including buttons). All these seemingly trivial aspects are an important source of information about a given person.

Analyzing a person’s attire can be compared to making a diagnosis. You can’t make a diagnosis based solely on one feature or one symptom. You have to try to get a broader view of the situation. We deal with an analogous situation in the psychology of fashion. One swallow doesn’t make a summer.

So it all depends on the context?


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