A sense of belonging is a basic human need, as it improves motivation, mental health and overall happiness. Belonging can be found in many different places. Whether it be through shared experiences or interests, but can we find this sensation through the clothes we wear? With the average UK person spending £526.50 on clothes a year there is no doubt we love to update our wardrobes. Could buying new clothes in general bring us together through bonding over similar styles and trends? Do we gravitate towards people with a similar style to us? Or do we compete with others to be the most fashionable and influential?
What can our choice in clothes tell us?
Superficially we judge people in the first seven seconds of meeting them. This means at some point in our lives, we have all been guilty in judging someone based on what they wear. The way we dress can also give others an indication to our life style, mentality and sometimes social status. In addition through the clothes we wear, we can express who we are and how we are feeling. For example feeling good in clothes can make a person feel confident within themselves. Like putting on your favourite dress or pair of jeans, knowing you look good can often make you feel good. In addition experimenting with new styles and out there clothes can often indicate you are fun and easy going person.
Common interests and belonging …
Style and clothes reflect a level of preference and can be very personal to someone. To have clothes and style in common with someone can often bring people together. Much like a hobby or interest clothes can be a conversation starter. For example have you ever been approached by someone, asking where you got your top or boots? You may find being complimented to be one of the most flattering experiences. This is because our possessions become an extension of ourselves, as we use them to define who we are and where we want to belong. Therefore our choice in clothing often indicated our sense of self and belonging to certain trends and styles.
Have you ever found that you and your best friend are subconsciously buying the same things? It could be possible that you initially chose to be friends due to your common interest in style and choice in clothes. Surrounding ourselves with people who have similar attitudes and traits as ourselves make us feel more confidant and at ease with out own traits. It’s like an act of validation, making us feel okay about the things we like and the way we are, knowing we’re not the only ones. So it makes sense that we mirror one another as a way to fit in. This could be why you and your bestie’s styles and tastes are merging into one another. By dressing similar you are subconsciously trying to find a common ground to belong to.
Is keeping up with fashion trends driving us apart?
Although fashion trends and shared interests in clothes bring us together, is there an element of striving to be fashionable driving us apart? Rhianna has famously said “She can beat me but she can’t beat my outfit”. Does this mean there is an element of competitiveness when it comes to style and clothing choices? Are we using fashion as a defence mechanism rather than a tool to express ourselves, in order to mask our insecurities? Not only are we dressing to please one another but there is an element to “win” and be the most on trend.
No one wants to be considered unfashionable or outdated, but in order for there to be fashionable clothing there will always have to be unfashionable clothing. Meaning striving to be unique and fashionable can often be isolating because your constantly pitting yourselves against one another. Could you be dressing for yourself or to impress other people in order to belong? It’s also important to take into account that fashion is an endless cycle there is no end product to strive for. Meaning buying new clothes and investing in new trends only gives us a short term fix. This can often make us feel like we are not on trend and don’t belong.
Overall clothes do bring us together and can be used as a foundation as a common interest in order to build friendships. Although it’s not essential to have the same fashion tastes in all your relationships. Being apart of fashion trends can also make us feel that we belong and are a part of something therefore giving us a sense of belonging.