There's an entire industry dedicated to fashion — the design, the business, the manufacturing. Fashion, at least for me, has become a big part of my life. I'm willing to splurge a little bit more for that dress in the name of fashion. And it got me thinking, why do we care about fashion? Why does it matter?

Why an off-shoulder top can mean so much more

Your style can influence the impressions that others have about you. 

Scary, right? The hard truth is that when people look at you, they immediately make assumptions about who you are. It doesn't matter who you're meeting, what you're wearing can instantly give off a certain impression about you. It could be a false one, but it also could be a honest one, depending on what you're wearing. 

I found this interesting study from Psychology Today that showed images of a man with his face hidden, so participants could only view his clothing. There was an image of him wearing a tailor-made suit and another with an expensive suit. Based off of these images, most of the 300 participants looked upon the man in the tailor-made suit more favorably, rating him "more confidence, successful, flexible, and a higher earner". Based off of his clothing alone, people made judgments about what kind of a person that he is. 

Whether you like it or not, what you wear influences how other people view you. The great thing about fashion, which is one of the reasons why I think matters, is that you can control that narrative. With what you choose to wear, you can choose how you want others to perceive you. 

Dressing a certain way can give you a voice. 

Going back to the example with the suit, the tailor-made suit made others perceive him as more successful. When listening to someone who might offer advice or instruction, wouldn't you be more compelled to follow the person who is clearly successful rather than someone who looks tattered and messy? 

"The clothes you wear and the way you groom yourself will change the way other people hear what you say. It will subconsciously tell them if you’re like them or if you’re different. It will determine whether they listen or ignore. Trust or distrust." 

The way you dress can give you a greater voice by making people more compelled to listen and really consider what you have to say. 

 Fashion is a way to say, "This is who I am", without ever having to say a single word. 

What you wear can affect your mood. 

Wearing comfortable clothes like sweat pants and a baggy t-shirt can give you instant feeling of calmness and sense of relaxation. On the other hand, wearing business professional clothes can make you feel fierce and powerful. And in the same way, wearing a long flowy dress can make you feel beautiful and magical. What you choose to wear can affect the way that you're feeling.

I remember one time my friends and I had an interview on a community service project that we were trying to promote. Although we were told that we were allowed to dress casual for the interview, we decided to dress up in professional business-wear anyways. By doing so, we were able to control the narrative (as aforementioned) about how we wanted the interviewers to see us, but it also gave us a sense of confidence that wearing the "same old" clothing wouldn't have done. 

This is one of the main reasons why I care about fashion. I want to feel confident and strong, which most of the time, are two things that I am not. By wearing certain clothing that I feel like I look good in, it increases my self-confidence. 

Dress for the life you want. 

Since the clothes can affect your mood, they can in turn affect how you take charge of your life. If you aspire to live a more free and carefree life, then wear comfortable, non-restricting clothing, to make you feel that sense of calmness. 

 When you dress for who you want to be, it's like stepping into the shoes — literally and metaphorically — of an entirely different person. The clothes make you feel like who you want to be, even if you're not quite there yet. 

Even if you don't have that life that you're aiming for yet, the clothes that you wear can unconsciously pull you closer towards it, giving you a different feel and perspective. You know what they say, "fake it 'til you make it," and by wearing the proper clothing, you're essentially faking this dream lifestyle until eventually it no longer is a dream, but rather a part of your everyday life.

So what's the takeaway?

Fashion matters because it's not only a form of creative expression, but forges a place for who you are and who you want to be in the world. While it can dramatically change your own perspective of yourself, it can also change the perspective that others have of you. With fashion, you control the narrative.

Why does fashion matter to you?

How fashion can psychologically benefit your life

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