The Emotional Association with Favorite Clothing Items
When we think about our favorite sweaters or dress, we often assume that our love for them is based on their appearance and comfort. However, the true reason behind our attachment to these clothing items lies in the associations we create while wearing them.
Personalization and Task-Specific Clothing
Every occasion brings out a different aspect of our personality, and the clothing we choose can help us achieve our goals. For instance, if we desire flexibility, we opt for stretchable garments. Practicality plays a role in our clothing choices, but we also select attire for the abstract emotions we wish to experience.
The clothing we wear becomes associated with the outcomes of specific events, often subconsciously. Whether it’s a successful date or a memorable evening, our minds link the clothing to the emotions experienced during those moments. Consequently, we develop an emotional attachment to these items and deliberately choose them for particular occasions. By doing so, we attempt to recreate the feelings of happiness, success, confidence, peace, or safety we have previously enjoyed. Similar to how eating releases endorphins, our bodies generate these positive emotions through the association with certain clothing.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter in the brain associated with pleasure and reward. In the context of fashion, “dopamine dressing” could refer to the idea of dressing in a way that promotes positive emotions, boosts self-confidence, and creates a sense of pleasure or reward. It could be about wearing clothes that make you feel good and confident, choosing vibrant colors or patterns that uplift your mood, or expressing your personal style in a way that brings joy.
The Influence of Classical Conditioning: The experiment conducted by Ivan Pavlov in the 1800s provides evidence supporting the theory explained above. Pavlov’s work on classical conditioning demonstrated that dogs associated the sound of a bell with the presentation of food. In our case, this implies that perceiving certain clothing items can trigger associated emotions.
Hume’s Associationism: Hume’s associationism theory suggests that perceptions (impressions) determine the patterns of thought. The association between impressions influences the corresponding ideas that arise from them. In other words, our ideas are shaped by the impressions we experience. Therefore, how we feel is not solely determined by the environment but is already influenced by associations formed in our minds.
The Power of Clothing in Personal Experience
As a fashion designer familiar with fabrics that exude elegance and class, I recently gifted my partner a linen shirt. He shared his experience wearing it, which perfectly illustrates the impact of clothing on emotions. From the moment he wore the shirt on the train, he noticed an attractive woman staring at him. As he felt the texture of the fabric and read his book, he began to experience a sense of wealth and well-being. Upon reaching work, he received positive news and closed successful business deals. He even secured advantageous negotiations during a rooftop meeting.
Dressing up has proven to be the fastest and most effective way to elevate our mood. We choose clothing that reflects the person we want to become—whether that be confident, sexy, or successful—and this choice influences the outcomes of our experiences.
By associating our desired emotions with our attire, we can harness the power of clothing to enhance our feelings and generate success.