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Perception entails how everyday stimuli affect our sensations and attitudes. Perception is thus the process of interpreting the stimuli at the present based on a past experience. It involves both psychological and physiological processes. The perception of an individual body image relating to physical appearance and self-perceptions shapes clothing preferences, and the idea of fashion as well as aesthetics (Reddy & Otieno, 2013). The idea of the women’s illusionary perfect figure and ideal beauty creates dissatisfaction with one’s own appearance that then translates into a pursuit for these beauty standards. Individual’s preference for fashion is influenced by psychological factors that are constituents of individual, peers and community’s perceptions (Moody, Kinderman, & Sinha, 2010). The preference for a particular clothing fashion stems from the reaction received from others. This implies clothing elicits a psychological satisfaction and by extension reflects one’s personality drawn from an individual perception of their body image.
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Fashion plays significant roles in our lives since it transmits non-verbal communication signals, and possibly cues that portray an individual lifestyle, values and social stature (Aliakbari & Abdollahi, 2013). Fashion portrays how an individual seeks to express their emotional experiences in the way they dress. Fashionable trends in clothing communications are measured through the barometer of social acceptance that drive people’s perception of individual values and behavioral traits. Fashion is a symbolic communication that transmits emotional impression that reflects the clothing attitude of a person. As a social aspect, fashion trends also communicate an individual’s perception of culturally accepted norms in the society. An individual preference for a certain fashion trend can be regarded as an attitude that expresses the feelings and values as well as the motivating forces behind their fashion decisions implying that the motivation for a clothing fashion is a form of self-expression (Aliakbari & Abdollahi, 2013). For instance, for Generation Z their increasing self-awareness on their looks as influenced by the social media shapes their preference for a fashion that emboldens their self-expression.
The preference for clothing is influenced by an individual need to reflect and convey the inner self including the mood, self-image and social aspirations (Moody et al., 2010). An individual will prefer fashion products that are consistent with their identity. There are three major factors that influence an individual preference for clothing, which includes the revealing levels and visual features, the physical characteristics, and the fit. These clothing preferences are informed by cognitive and affective aspects. The cognitive component influences the perception of the aesthetic and social features attributable to a fashion product while the affective aspect impacts on the overall mood response and emotional response to the fashion product (Moody et al., 2010). The perception of the fashion product may either be extrinsic or intrinsic. Extrinsic factors include the brand name and price while intrinsic aspects include the fit, quality, style, color and fabric of fashion clothing.
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Individual perceptions of clothing can be regarded as a body image management tool and also confers an aesthetic self (Reddy & Otieno, 2013). Fashion in clothing mediates the link between satisfaction and self-perception. Individual contention with clothing can influence emotions and moods positively or negatively (Reddy & Otieno, 2013). This because fashion is a multifaceted experience composed of symbolic associations and social as well as cultural aspects. Fashion can be used to express positive or negative emotions and can be used as a coping mechanism to overcome our lived experiences negative self-concepts. The expressive feature of fashionable clothing helps in creating a feeling of togetherness with other people and generates an impression of controlling one’s image and impression towards others. Self-perception and interpersonal perception for an individual collective defined as personality traits influence an individual’s attitudes and values (Moody et al., 2010). Individuals’ preference for a particular fashion may reflect their personality traits by predicting their emotion, cognition, behavioral patterns and mood. For instance, when a woman wears a suit it enhances their occupational attributes since the suit is more commonly associated with men. In this scenario, the perception of the suit is viewed as a reflection of an individual’s personality profile depicting their overt behavior. The personality an individual wishes to communicate is consistent with the type of fashion clothing they wear.
In conclusion, the perception of an individual is influenced by sensory and behavioral factors inform the fashion preference and the identity of an individual. These factors are important factors that influence the decision-making when making a choice for daily attire or the shopping choices for clothing fashion. The symbolic nature of fashion is usually consistent with an individual perception which they seek to apply in enhancing and managing their personality traits. This underlines the importance of self-perception and other person perceptions in the choice of fashion that communicate our individual personality, moods, and emotions. Fashion affects every aspect of human lived experiences and is significantly influenced by psychological factors of a community, group or an individual. Fashion in clothing, for instance, is influenced not only by self-perception but other people’s perception.
- Aliakbari, M., & Abdollahi, K. (2013). Does it Matter What We Wear? A Sociolinguistic Study of Clothing and Human Values. International Journal of Linguistics, 5(2), 34–45.
- Moody, W., Kinderman, P., & Sinha, P. (2010). An exploratory study: Relationships between trying on clothing, mood, emotion, personality and clothing preference. Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management, 14(1), 161–179.
- Reddy, S., & Otieno, R. (2013). Relationship between body image and clothing perceptions : Among women aged 18-55 years in the UK. International Journal of Arts and Commerce, 2(5), 40–49.