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30 Fascinating Facts About Fashion Psychology

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Do you regard clothing as something that keeps you warm and looking good?
Think again.

What you wear affects you psychologically. It can profoundly alter your mood. It also influences how others respond to you. And the visual illusion created by cut and fabric dramatically changes the appearance of your body. Your clothes can affect your job prospects, your love life and even your self-image.

In my book Mind What You Wear: The Psychology of Fashion I explore the intriguing science behind fashion psychology. Here I've pulled off 30 facts (all based on research) that'll make you stop and think again about what you wear tomorrow:

  1. People who dress like the boss are more likely to be appointed and get promoted quicker.
  2. Men are more likely to approach a women for a date if she is wearing red.
  3. People show more mental agility when wearing a white coat they believe is a doctor's, but not if they are told it's a painter's coat.
  4. Women dress more provocatively when ovulating i.e. when at their most fertile.
  5. Nine out of ten women own at least one item of clothing they have never worn. This is true of only a third of men.
  6. Runners are more likely to greet other runners who are wearing similar kit.
  7. Wearing all one colour blurs the dividing lines and make the body look slimmer.
  8. People stand further away from others who wear dated or unfashionable dress.
  9. Women are twice as likely to wear jeans when depressed than when happy.
  10. Provocatively dressed women are judged as being less competent than those who cover up.
  11. Patients put more trust in a doctor who wears a white coat.
  12. A man in a tailor-made suit is thought to be more confident and more trustworthy than a man in an off-the-peg suit.
  13. The human eye takes longer to travel across patterned fabrics, this makes the body appear larger.
  14. People think they are physically stronger when wearing a Superman t-shirt.
  15. A female job candidate who is dressed in a masculine style is more likely to get appointed than one who is over-feminised.
  16. Women perform worse on a maths test if wearing a swimsuit than in a sweater.
  17. Diagonal lines placed on the body in the form of clothing detail or fabric create a slimmer illusion.
  18. Women are twice as likely as men to own more then ten pairs of shoes.
  19. Dress sense is what men notice first in a woman (before face and body). Women notice face, smile and eyes first in a man.
  20. Offenders receive a harsher sentence in court if they are wearing black.
  21. Dressing in a uniform associated with brutality unleashes aggressive behaviours.
  22. Most women wear less than half of the clothes they own, this is true of only one in five men.
  23. People are more willing to give money to someone whose dress style resembles their own.
  24. Vertical lines on clothing create a longer illusion, but curves or bumps interrupting the lines create the opposite effect.
  25. Men check themselves in a mirror or reflection twice as often as women.
  26. People walk faster when approaching someone wearing red than wearing blue.
  27. A wide shoulder line creates a visual illusion that offsets wide hips.
  28. After trying on clothing men are more than twice as likely as women to buy.
  29. Clothes in the future will be able to transmit a physical hug.
  30. Choosing the right clothes can make a person less anxious and less depressed.