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English 101 Confidence with Clothes Research Paper

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Daniel Jones

Professor Imbarus

English 101

2 February 2017

Confidence with Clothes

        Confidence is a very important trait in this world, and there are many ways that you can show it.  Clothing (fashion) is a good way for people to express themselves.  What is fashion?  My view of fashion is style, trends, talent, and personality.  Fashion helps you express yourself, and it can help you reveal your personality in a pleasant and unique way.  Everybody wants to be liked, we all want to show our inner self, and we can do this through clothing.  Your style and the clothing that you wear reflect and affect your mood, health, and overall confidence.  

        The way you dress shows how you are feeling and it can affect the mood you in.  Professor Karen J. Pine, of the University of Hertfordshire writes in her short book Mind What You Wear: The Psychology of Fashion “When we put on a piece of clothing we cannot help but adopt some of the characteristics associated with it, even if we are unaware of it” (Pine).  In one of the studies Pine conducted, one participant admitted, “If I’m in casual clothes I relax and am tomboyish, but if I dress up for a meeting or a special occasion, it can alter the way I walk and hold myself.”  With that being said, I do believe that the way you dress does in fact go with the mood you are in and other people will be able to see that.  If you are dressing sloppy as if you don’t care about anything, some people may see that, and that can either tell them that you are confident with yourself or vice versa.

        If you think about the recent news happening in the world, there was an event where Bruce Jenner decided to become a woman and dress like one.  A lot of people and the media made a huge deal about this, but it’s not like he did this for publicity, he did it because it’s who he wanted to be and it gave him confidence in himself to dress like that.  This goes to show that the way you dress can help give you confidence and that will lead to being happier and with confidence you attract more people in the world.  In the song Confident by Demi Lovato, Lovato is saying that there is nothing wrong with being confident, “What’s wrong with being confident?  What’s wrong with being, what’s wrong with being, what’s wrong with being confident?” (Lovato).  What’s wrong with being confident?  After many years of being insecure, Lovato has finally gathered the confidence to be herself, and much of that confidence is represented through her choice of clothes.  The media however, calls Demi out for wearing clothes that are too revealing, but she believes her clothes express her confidence and doesn’t see what’s wrong with that.  This ties into the whole Jenner situation, as he was not comfortable in his old body, and he wanted to dress like a woman in order to feel confident with himself.  

        Clothes don’t just affect your confidence levels, they can also affect your success, as clothing can significantly influence how others perceive you and how they respond to you.  Jill L. Ferguson states, “the right-for-us clothing can contribute to our confidence, raise our self-esteem, and help propel us in the workplace” (Ferguson).  Ferguson is telling us that the clothing we wear is important and can empower us in certain ways.  When you see somebody who is wearing a crazy piece of clothing, it almost tells us something about the person and it kind of shows you how confident the person must be to wear that out in public.  Your clothes can show people who you are without much effort being put into it, you don’t have to wear it just because other people like it, you should choose a style that makes you feel comfortable.  

        Confidence doesn’t just come with the clothes you wear, but the right fashion can change your life for the good.  When you feel good in your skin and in your clothes, it will make you more relaxed and happy.  Jessica Quirk who is the author behind What I Wore says, “We won’t all admit it, but our appearance is really important to us.  Our clothing is like our second skin, it reaches ahead of our handshake, and it is like our security blanket” (Quirk), therefore, clothing has a big role in how we feel day-to-day.  The true mission of clothing is to make us feel good-looking.  As fashion can help bring out the confidence in someone, fashion also means style and quality.  You shouldn’t just wear a specific piece of clothing just because other people will like it, you must find a style that defines you the best.  

        It has long been known that clothing can affect how other people perceive us as well as how we think about ourselves.  There has been experiments where woman who dress in a masculine fashion during a job interview are more likely to be hired, and a teaching assistant who wears formal clothes is perceived as more intelligent than one who dresses more casually.  “I love the idea of trying to figure out why, when we put on certain clothes, we might more readily take on a role and how that might affect our basic abilities” (Davis), said Joshua I. Davis, an assistant professor of psychology at Barnard College.  Clothes invade the body and brain; it simply puts the wearer into a different psychological state.  

        In 2014, car manufacturer Kia decided to take a survey of what makes people feel confident, a few of the things included in the top 10 list for women included: high heels, a little black dress, and designer perfume.  For men, the list included: a freshly shaved face, a new suit, and a nice smelling aftershave.  This shows us that being wealthy, or having a positive mental attitude is the secret to being confident, but the answer may in fact lie in what we’re wearing.  For example, on Halloween, you always see little kids dress up as super heroes.  Not only do they think they are super heroes, but they become more confident and become happy or excited to be dressed up.  “When wearing a Superman T-shirt the students rated themselves as more likeable and superior to the other students” (Pine).  Surprisingly, she found that not only did it make them more confident, but it also made them think that they were physically stronger.

        Clothing doesn’t always have to help confidence, but it can help your mindset.  The study, conducted by two professors at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management in Chicago, had two sets of people wear the same white coat.  Group number one was told the coat belonged to a doctor and the second group was told that the coat belonged to a painter.  The group wearing the “lab coat” showed a sharp increase in their ability to pay attention, while the group in “painter’s coats” showed no improvement whatsoever.  “The study revealed that in terms of how clothing affects our feelings, it’s less about the actual clothes we wear and more about what we associate with them” (Boardman), as said by Samantha Boardman, it’s not about what type of clothes we wear, but their symbolic value and emotional attachments is what give them meaning.  A Forbes writer, Troy Alexander, says, “Gaining confidence with how you dress is one way and it will inform everything you do.  It cannot be underestimated how much of an impact it will have on your prospects, your personality and the way the world perceives you” (Alexander).  Here we see that Alexander believes that with dressing up nicely or just wearing what you’d like to wear will show others the confidence you have in life.

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