“Art is a form of expression, showcasing the creator's ideas, imagination, or technical skill"- as stated by Oxford Dictionary.
When viewed, art stimulates thoughts, emotions, beliefs, and ideas through the senses. Art often tells a story, communicating the inner mind of the artist. This occurs consciously and sub-consciously, focusing on the emotional language within mediums such as painting, literature, music, and dance.
What Can Art Communicate?
One of the most well-known images of twentieth century art “Nighthawks” (by Edward Hoppers 1882-1967), was inspired by a diner located on Greenwich Avenue in New York City. (Pictured right) The simplified shapes combined with the playful lighting gives this piece beauty and meaning without the need of a narrative. This work depicts three customers together at a bar, but still woefully alone. They are divided from the viewer by a seamless glass pane, only further adding to the penetrating disconnection. The representation of isolation within an urban setting is evident within the artwork. Flawlessly communicating the reality of loneliness within such a large city.
Within Nighthawks, Edward Hoppers is able to communicate feeling and explore emotions often neglected by conventional society.
But what does this have to do with clothing?
The clothing you wear tells a self-curated, autobiographical story about you!
Have you ever experienced an onset of feeling wearing your favorite piece of clothing? Did you feel empowered? sexy? focused? or confident? The truth is, the clothing we wear affects our self-outlook. It can make us feel a broad range of emotions such as happiness, openness, and agreeability.
Enclothed cognition is a term coined by Hajo Adam and Adam D. Galinsky from their 2012 experiment noted In The Journal of Experimental Social Psychology
This term relates to the effects which clothing has upon an individual’s mental process. Traits such as the way they think, feel, and function. Through experiments such as wearing a lab coat associated with a doctor, Hajo and Adam discovered that an individual’s attention increased as opposed to subjects given a "painter’s coat". (The coats were the same) Thus, demonstrating the immediate effect clothing can have on the wearer.
What can your clothing say about you?
“Formal clothing helps you feel authoritative and empowered even if you are less friendly and creative. It can also enhance abstract thinking and boost the ability to negotiate.” As stated by Joe Pinsker, "Wearing a Suit Makes You Think Differently" Writer for the Atlantic Newsletter
“Casual clothes can boost openness and agreeableness” -Mendes, Wendy; Kraus, Michael contributors to the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
“Active wear or gym clothes boosts the likelihood of both actually working out as well as making healthier choices” - Wiebe, Jamie "Psychology of Lululemon: How Fashion Affects Fitness". Writer for The Atlantic Newsletter
“Brightly colored clothes can improve our mood while duller colors can create a mellow mood.” - Elliot, Andrew J.; Maier, Markus Authors of “A Color Psychology: Effects of Perceiving Color on Psychological Functioning in Humans”
The clothing which we wear communicates to others who we are. It is a visual autobiography containing parts of ourselves we would like to showcase. The clothing we wear embody values we see within ourselves. Clothing items we are passionately drawn toward hold a promise. To exhibit the personality traits within our own self-perception.
Art is a great way to communicate emotions and values to those around you, it is an integral part of our society. We as humans cannot thrive without self-expression, and clothing is an outlet justifying our cause. Express yourself and wear your favorite tee but don’t forget to wash it every now and then. It will make your day a lot better.