Fashion + Psychology

Do we buy designer clothes to boost our self esteem?

Designer products. We all rely on fashion to show our identities and what we enjoy. We can feel a sense of acceptance and have positive or negative reactions from others, when wearing certain clothes. Mostly all of us love designer products, and idolise new collections from top fashion designers. Designers all over the world have captivated most of the population with their exclusive products. Clothing, jewellery and a range of accessories – we all want the latest thing! Although, what do these products give to us emotionally and financially?

Quality or quantity?

14 million tons of clothes are chucked a year. Maybe more. And this has doubled since the early 2000’s. Looking at the financial side of products; is it better to invest in designer products? Will this save the planet? Potentially, yes. Well, from my own point of view. I believe that investing in expensive products is better for the environment because they have a longer ‘shelf’ life.

When spending £150 on a tee shirt at Balmain, rather than £2 in Primark, you know that the Balmain one will last a life time. Whereas, the Primark tee is useful for the summer and then its chucked away. This is an unhealthy cycle that we have all become used to. When someone saves their money, they most likely want to keep the designer product for ever (well most of us do!).

It really is quality over quantity. Although, I know a lot of us can’t afford expensive products, 2nd hand ones are just as great. The quality of designer products is usually impeccable. Granted, they may deteriorate over time. However, a lot of people tend to invest in these products because they know they will last. More investing, less landfill.

Motivation

As we know, motivation is something that everybody needs. However, you’re probably thinking how does this relate to designer things? The majority of us can’t afford to always buy designer products. And, this is where motivation comes in. By working hard in our jobs or careers, people can motivate themselves to save up for the latest designer handbag or exclusive top. When work is really tricky and you feel like you want to give up, the motivation to get the designer product you’ve been eyeing up for months is what keeps you going!

Self-esteem needs

Designer products can also help to fulfil our self-esteem needs. Most of us, when we’re feeling down, love a bit of retail therapy to make us feel better. Although, only temporary. It usually helps you feel better in the short space of time (especially for me! Haha).

Generations today are obsessed with consumption. Although, there is a huge difference of self-esteem fulfilment when you buy a designer product compared to a value one. And, this is because it gives you a feeling of accomplishment.

Accomplishment is not the only self-esteem need that is satisfied. When people often wear their designer clothes, it can make them feel more confident. People feel confident in designer products because of the positive connotations attached. One can perceive themselves in a different light when wearing designer brands. This is because the items can symbolise wealth, power and achievement, all things that one aspires to.

Are we attracted to designer clothes?

I asked my friend the other day what feelings she had attached to designer clothes. She explained how people she knows often associate designer clothes with affection from others. This really got me thinking. It’s true; most of us are first attracted to someone’s appearance. The way they dress, their scent etc. And, designer clothes are something that can catch a man or woman’s eye.

For me, when I see a man dressed head to toe in a ‘flashy’ designer outfit I sometimes assume that they may be egotistical. As my dad always used to say, “people that wear designer clothes feel the need to prove that they are wealthy”. My dad may have been slightly right. A lot of people that wear very flashy clothing, usually do feel they need to prove something or receive affection from others. But, he also may be wrong. Some people may just like a certain brand, or the quality of their clothing. So is this just a stereotypical point of view?

Negative associations with designer Products

“Someone could be the nicest person in the world—they just happen to like designer scarves. And all of a sudden, you’re judging them as if they might be a little less trustworthy, which I find both fascinating and also unsettling.” – Derek Rucker (Professor of Marketing at the Kellogg School)

This is an interesting, yet realistic quote. You may agree, disagree, or have no opinion on it. But, as Rucker has pointed out people sometimes have negative, stereotypical views of designer products.

People who dress head to toe in designer garments with lots of logos, can be viewed as narcissistic and vain. But is it fair to hold this type of view on someone because of what they are wearing? As someone who loves designer products, I don’t think it is right to judge someone on their clothing choices.

We all have our own sense of style and associate different emotional connotations to designer garments. Negative or positive. I feel that it is important for one to keep their opinions to themselves. As stated in the first few paragraphs, designer clothes can hold an emotional importance to someone. If people are to judge this it may damage someone’s self-esteem needs. Therefore, this conveys how each of us invest differently in designer clothes.

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