Your wardrobe tells more about you than you might think
By Vivien Schmidt
Sometimes it seems as if there are two kinds of people on this planet: the ones that are interested in fashion and the newest trends and the ones that are not so fond of it, when in reality, fashion affects everyone. Fashion has an impact on all of us. Maybe you disagree with this statement and maybe you really don’t care a lot about clothing and brands. Nevertheless, the way we dress strongly reflects our personality and your clothing says more about you than you might think.
Fashion is not just a piece of clothing that you put on, it is also not only about the latest trend or the hottest new collection. Fashion is the visible presentation of our identities and through fashion we communicate ourselves. As Valeria Fahnestock Steele, an American fashion historian, stated, it is “the cultural construction of the embodied identity”. By the way people dress, they chose to express their identity in a particular way.
Everyone has their own style. Sometimes more developed, sometimes less.
Fashion is the visible presentation of our identities and through fashion we communicate ourselves.
Let’s have a tiny glimpse in the history of dress. It is not easy or even possible to decide on the starting point of fashion but one thing is for sure: fashion already existed a long time ago, arguably since mankind exists. In the year 400 A.D for example the ancient Greek or Roman people were already dressing in a particular fashion. Back then it was more about functionality. The trade of fashion as we know it today probably started in the middle ages when fashion began to be more extravagant and started to include embroidery. Obviously over time and époques fashion changed immensely, especially in the 20th century we saw lots of different fashion trends. Take for example the golden twenties or the punk or hippie movement. Of course, all those example are just a small part of the whole history but these events show how fashion has always been and still continues to be a reflection of present events and societies.
Maybe you are still not convinced that fashion has an impact on you because you don’t like following the trends of our modern society. Well, believe it or not, you are actually as into vogue as possible. Nowadays, trends are less universal and mainstream - individuality is the new fashion.
You still tell me that you don’t agree, because for you it does not matter what you wear? Well, guess what, this is still a choice you make that highly reflects your character.
Let me make a concrete example. I am working at a climbing gym. Whenever I talk to some climbers about what I am studying (Digital Fashion Communications) they mostly react in the same way: first, they ask me what I can do once I completed this course and then they tell me that they have no idea about fashion and don’t really care about it. Maybe some climbers do indeed not care about the “normal” fashion in everyday life and choose to dress simply, because they care more about other things than brands. But dressing in such way is a choice they make that strongly expresses their character.
Everyone has an own style. Sometimes more developed, sometimes less. Depending on how conscious we are about our identity and how much effort we put in creating a style that complements our identity, the easier it is for others to perceive our identity. However, no matter how much effort we put in it, we all have some favourite items that are meaningful to us and that we want others to see.
Let’s have a look at some real-life examples. I asked five different students from USI to show me their favourite piece of clothing and to tell me the story behind it. As you will read, each of these pieces means something to its owner and reflects their identity in some way.
Lisa in her wool coat from Club Monaco
Lisa is Canadian and crazy about coats (might be because in Canada the temperature can get down to -35). She is often in a rush and therefore having a nice coat to quickly throw over is important to her. She bought it six years ago and is still wearing it. This one is special to Lisa because it was one of her first investments after she started working a stable job. This picture of her in her coat was actually taken by a fashion blogger in Toronto.
Paula in her leopard print trousers
Paula got those pants from her family for Christmas. They are made from silk and were originally meant for her Bachelor graduation ceremony.
She ended up wearing them all the time, especially during her time in Vancouver - even when going on a hike or to the beach. It turned out to be her favourite piece of clothing because they are comfy, she loves the print and it reminds her of her accomplished bachelor’s degree her time in Vancouver and her family.
Alessandro in one of his favourite outfits
Alessandro would describe himself as pretty fond of fashion. He does put a lot of effort in his outfits which he wants people to notice. Before buying clothes he usually researches particular brands that are not so mainstream and can make him stand out a little bit. He is a streetwear advocate and cares about high quality clothing. In the picture he is wearing jeans and a sweater that he got as a birthday present from his sister. Both items are made in Italy, since he, as an Italian, likes to support Italian manufacturing.
Flo in his travel t-shirt
What makes it his favourite item: As a passionate adventure traveller, Flo is used to carrying around as little items as possible. This t-shirt has already pretty big holes, since he wore it a lot during his travels. Therefore, this item reminds him of his time on the road, especially of his time in Vietnam, where he travelled with a Danish friend. While he would not wear it in everyday life, he specifically choses to wear it when travelling, as he wants people to understand immediately what kind of person he is – a proper traveller that does not care about materialism.
On top of that he does not like to throw away clothing as he does not agree with the modern throw away economy.
Chanita in her white blouse
When she bought it in her home country Thailand, on a local market, it was a perfect piece to wear in the Thai heat, that she could combine with lots of different styles. Now, that she moved to a country far away from her family, it reminds her of home.