FASHION PSYCHOLOGY STUDY I

Our fashion psychology pilot study, the first of its kind, measured personality traits against fashion choices, with an aim to establish correlations between them and explore which moods, emotions or traits dictate style preferences – including silhouettes, colours and brands. There was a focus on the trait of neuroticism - individuals who score high on it are more likely than average to have low mood and to experience feelings such as anxiety, worry, fear, anger, frustration, envy, jealousy, guilt, depressed mood, and loneliness. On the positive side, they are also more likely to be creative, expressive, nurturing, and sensitive to others. We hypothesized that sensitivity in life also leads to sensitivity in aesthetic. Currently, at 160 respondents, our data is forming to show several correlations. Firstly, that neurotic traits are linked to a higher preference for black, a dislike for prints, a preference for more avant-garde, directional, feminine-directional and creative designers, and A-line skirt shapes. Conversely, non-neurotics show a preference for the opposite – prints and brighter colours, classic non-directional brands, and classically feminine designers and features. We also tested for another of the "Big 5" traits - ‘openness to experience’, but it showed less correlations than neuroticism. Below are the seemingly significant results to date. 

PERSONALITY & STYLE PREFERENCES

Worriers vs Non-Worriers

fashion psychology
  • Worriers are nearly twice more likely to say that they black is their uniform.
  • Worriers are nearly three times more likely to dislike prints. Print lovers are nearly three times more likely to love prints.
  • Worriers twice as likely to prefer the directional fashion group (Celine, Balenciaga and The Row). Non-worriers are twice as likely to prefer the non-directional group (Ralph Lauren, Max Mara, Carolina Herrera).
  • Worriers are more than twice more likely to prefer an A-line skirt shape. Non-worriers reported not wearing skirts twice more than worriers.
  • Non-worriers were nearly twice more likely to like “classic uncomplicated brands” such as Ralph Lauren and Burberry.
  • Worriers are three times more likely to pick black leather as textile of choice.
  • Non-worriers were four times more likely to prefer the uncomplicated classic glamour style of Blake Lively or Rosie Huntingdon Whitely. (Non-directional.)
  • Non-worriers are four times more likely to be working in finance or consultancy than worriers.  (demographic)

Melancholics vs Non-Melancholics

Melancholics were those that reported easily and often feeling sad or melancholic.

 Alexander McQueen AW13

Alexander McQueen AW13

  • Non-melancholics are more likely to like classic-feminine brands (Giambattista Valli/Valentino/Alberta Ferretti) while melancholics prefer directional and feminine-directional brands (Alaia, Alexander McQueen, Delpozo).
  • Melancholics are almost twice as likely to adopt an all-black uniform.
  • Melancholics are five times more likely to like “a good chunky knit” in textile preferences. (Hypothesis: for the psychological benefits of tactile comfort)
  • Non-melancholics prefer style icons with classic feminine style such as Blake Lively, melancholics are more likely to prefer cool/directional style of Daria Werbowy or Cara Delevingne.

Openness to Experience

 Comme des Garçons AW16

Comme des Garçons AW16

  • OTE people are twice more likely to prefer innovative/creative/directional brands such as Rick Owens, Comme des Garçons, and Gareth Pugh
  • OTEs are almost twice more likely to prefer an all-black-everything outfit as a uniform and directional brands such as Alaia or Givenchy
  • OTEs fourteen times more likely to prefer Daria Werbowy/Cara Delevingne as style icons
 Respondents who scored higher on neuroticism preferred Daria Werbowy's cool-girl shtick over classic glamour.

Respondents who scored higher on neuroticism preferred Daria Werbowy's cool-girl shtick over classic glamour.

STYLE PREFERENCES -> PERSONALITY

Black Wearers vs Colour/Print Wearers

  • CP Wearers nearly three times less likely to be worriers
  • CP Wearers nearly four times less likely to tolerate emotional conversations
  • CP Wearers find it nearly twice more easily to stay in a good mood
  • CP Wearers nearly twice as more likely to be quite optimistic about life
  • Black Wearers nearly three more times to experience anxiety often
  • Black Wearers are twice as likely to be melancholic.
 Much like those who score low on neuroticism, Italian fashion editor Viviana Volpicella loves prints. Source: gastrochic.com

Much like those who score low on neuroticism, Italian fashion editor Viviana Volpicella loves prints. Source: gastrochic.com

Print Lovers vs Print Haters

  • Print lovers are more than twice less likely to be worriers.
  • Print lovers are three times more likely to say that find it easy to stay in a good mood. 
  • Print lovers, if feeling insecure, would not dress any differently. Non-print lovers would wear something skimpy that showed off a body part they liked.
  • Print lovers preferred pencil or straight skirt shapes, while print haters preferred A-line.
  • Print lovers were nearly twice more optimistic than print haters.
  • Print haters were three times more likely to care about receiving male attention.
  • Print haters were 3.5 more times likely to prioritize being honest and direct over politeness in interactions.

Love Rick Owens/Commes/Gareth vs Don’t Like Rick Owens/Commes/Gareth

 American Paris-based designer Rick Owens, who is positioned in the avant-garde realm, has a cult following.

American Paris-based designer Rick Owens, who is positioned in the avant-garde realm, has a cult following.

  • Directional lovers twice more likely to suffer from anxiety
  • Directional lovers more likely to reply on intuition for decision-making

Love Ralph Lauren/Burberry vs Don’t Like Ralph Lauren/Burberry

 Devotees of Ralph Lauren reported far less neuroticism than those who preferred more creative or directional brands. 

Devotees of Ralph Lauren reported far less neuroticism than those who preferred more creative or directional brands. 

  • Ralph/Burberry haters are twice more likely to be anxious
  • Ralph/Burberry haters are twice more likely to be melancholic

We will be formally testing for significance when we achieve a greater sample size. If you are female, please help us by completing the survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/fashionpsych