Why Clothes Matter

Why Clothes Matter


Once, we were all dressed by someone else. Parents picked out a T-shirt; the school dictated what colour our trousers should be. But at some point, we were granted the opportunity to discover who we might be in the world of clothes. We had to decide for ourselves about collars and necklines, fit, colours, patterns, textures and what goes (or doesn’t) with what. We learnt to speak about ourselves in the language of garments. Despite the potential silliness and exaggeration of sections of the fashion industry, assembling a wardrobe is a serious and meaningful exercise Based on our looks or background, others are always liable to come to quick and, not very rounded decisions about who we are. Too often, their judgment doesn’t quite get us right. They might assume that because of where we come from, we must be quite snobbish or rather resentful; based on our work we might get typecast as dour or superficial; the fact that we’re very sporty might lead people to see us as not terribly intelligent; or an attachment to a particular political outlook might be associated with being unnervingly earnest. Clothes provide us with a major opportunity to correct some of these assumptions. When we get dressed, we are, in effect, operating as a tour guide, offering to show people around ourselves We’re highlighting interesting or attractive things about who we are and, in the process, we’re clearing up misconceptions. We’re acting like artists painting a self-portrait: deliberately guiding the viewer’s perception of who they might be. In 1961, the English painter Peter Blake portrayed himself wearing a denim jacket, jeans and trainers. He was deliberately nuancing the view most of his contemporaries would have had of him: based on knowing that he was a successful and rather intellectual painter. He might have been thought of as slightly aloof and highly refined; detached from, and censorious of, ordinary life. But his clothes speak about very different aspects of his personality: they go out of their way to tell us that he’s quite modest; he’s interested in talking about pop music; he sees his art largely as a kind of manual labour. His clothes, like ours, give us a crucial introduction to the self. This explains the curious phenomenon whereby if we’re staying with good friends, we can spend a lot less time thinking about our clothes, compared with the anxiety about what to wear that can grip us with strangers. With good friends, we might sit around in a dressing gown or just hastily slip on any old jumper. They know who we are already; they’re not relying on our clothes for clues. It’s a strange but profound fact that certain items of clothing can excite us. When we put them on or see others wearing them, we’re turned on: a particular style of jacket, the right kind of shoes or the perfect shirt might prove so erotic, we could almost do without a person wearing them. It’s tempting to see this kind of fetishism as simply deluded but it is alerting us in an exaggerated way to a much more general and very normal idea: that certain clothes make us very happy. They capture values that we’re drawn and want to get closer to. The erotic component is just an extension of a more general and understandable sympathy. The French novelist Stendhal wrote: ‘Beauty is the promise of happiness’ and every item of clothing we’re drawn to contains an allusion to a different sort of happiness. We might see a very desirable kind of competence and confidence in a particular pair of boots; we might meet generosity in a woollen coat or a touching kind of innocence in a hemline; a particular watchstrap may sum up dignity; the way a specific collar encases the neck could strike us as commanding and authoritative. The classic fetishist might be pushing their particular attachments to a maximum and be rather restricted in the choice of items they favour, but they are latching onto a general theme: clothes embody values that enchant and beguile us. By choosing particular sorts of clothes, we are shoring-up our more fragile or tentative characteristics. We’re both communicating to others who we are and strategically reminding ourselves. Our wardrobes contain some of our most carefully-written lines of autobiography.

100 thoughts on “Why Clothes Matter

  1. If you are not attracting the bees, what is the point of flashing petals, however colorful they are? If you exude natural energy and magnetism, kiss the world off. The world will humble itself under your knees. Smile is the best garment. Walk the streets and learn. At the end of the day what matters is if you got laid. I have seen many a brilliant feather that could not move me to chance the Devil's Laughter! Clothing can only mask so much.

  2. Manner of dressing is important because people view us as someone classy, informal, sophisticated, etc in our ways dressing . If you wear baggy style clothes all the time, like over size shirts and pants they will look at you as a person with low self esteem and incompetent.

  3. thank you for putting it so well!! it's not about being vain, it's about controlling other people's immediate perceptions and sculpting our own identity

  4. My clothing says, "I'm confident and have my life together," when in reality, I'm a complete mess and have nothing figured out.

  5. I love thrift shopping and wearing vintage Tees or vintage things from the 90’s. I’m short and some of these things make me look even shorter and don’t compliment my height, but I feel happy with what I wear.

  6. I just hate the that some people might think I don't have a style of fashion but in reality I don't have enough money to buy clothes I want.

    I have so many outfit ideas that aren't even expensive but I still don't have the money. Now I have another thing to hate about myself 😣😔

  7. First date: black
    Interview: black
    Work: black
    Home : black
    Club night: black
    I can dress in less than a minute and everything goes with everything

  8. I'm terribly sorry sir but i had to stop at 3:09
    You talk with such refinement and ask such powerful questions, and yet you consistantly throw away my respect, and many others, when you disrespectfully dabble in sexual phslosophy like a
    Horny middle aged woman.
    Stop being a moron
    🙂

  9. So if we have the best clothes we’ll meet people who judge us on our clothing and then take a step well there comes a problem in this idea that the person is so shallow that they’ll later for sure disappoint us as they believe not on the inner beautiful but what standards the world has created…the my friend the world has funny standard believe me

  10. I love most of the great videos from School of Life which I often times watch more than once, but I wish they wouldn't go so fast and think you need to slow them down a bit! Especially for those impaired like myself with a disability…it would help…thanks!

  11. I agree in some ways that clothes express a part of yourself, but it‘s also too superficial to think that. Clothing are also practical and belongs to a social status. Let me explain. First, if you should surely think about style, but sometimes you need a clothes for its practical benefits, not for its style. Besides you have to remember that clothes that are not practical are generally reflecting your social status, your sex, your culture and that you need to wear certain clothes to adapt. When you were young, you just wear that clothes because your parents gave you these clothes. As a boy, you wear this and this, as a girl this and this, etc… And because your father was like that, you wore this, etc… thus first your clothes represent a culture, a social status, your sex. Sure you can do opposite when you’re older, but is it justified ? Is it really a reflection of your personality ? Or a caricature ? Because to my mind, when some people choose to have coloured hair, feminine clothes or brand clothes (cheap or wealthy one), they aren’t expressing any personality. They’re just hiding their true self behind a brand, behind a group that wear the same clothes. They don’t express their own personality. Furthermore you have to admit that sometimes some clothes are here because they’re required, because you have to wear them to adapt. Nobody likes wearing suits and shirts inside the pants when he’s a teenager. It’s because, after some time, you need to wear suits for your work. And finally, you also start interesting yourself in clothes, because you wanna seduce. Thus you pay attention and stop wearing that old t shirt that makes you look neglected. Sure you wanna express your personality to attract the people who have the same, but you also avoid to wear these eccentric clothes they now like to present in fashion because you know that you have to stay in the line, that there are some rules.

    Therefore people sometimes have to relax and pay less attention to what they wear. You surely want to feel good in your clothes, but you don’t want to be a caricature, who hides his personality behind his clothes, who forget the usage of clothes and wanna be the most eccentric. Such as you don’t imagine yourself being naked, there are some place where you can’t always choose what you wear. Fortunately we accept more and more diversity, but diversity doesn’t mean that you need to be rude towards other’s rules and behaviours. I sometimes like to think that clothes express personality, but there are many other stuffs that describe it and clothing is in reality just a cultural stuff

  12. Just because people will judge you doesn't mean you should dress in a certain way, clothes don't define your personality

  13. Actually the fashion I'd like to wear is different from what I wear. I buy really basic stuff that goes with everything bc I don't have much money xD

  14. Jesus christ I just put on whatever's in my closet. I don't really think much about it. I buy most of my clothes from garage sales and thrift stores where they're the cheapest but they still look good and are of good quality.

  15. those basic girls all wearing t-shirts with LEVI prnted on it crack me up each time. wonder what it says about their personalities LOL

  16. They do matter, but in different ways to different people. Some like to be comfortable, no matrer what the occasion or venue eg wear trackie pants and runners everywhere or women who do supermarket. Otbers lime shopinibedrooslippers and pyjamas, dressing gowns etc, which offends many others… Some like to always dress well and their 'neat casual' is the equivalent of others'idea of 'formal dress'. Some like to identify with a group bwearing whatyamounts to a uniform eg team supporters in a football match in Melbourne. Others eg artists light on talent but craving public arttention will dress very loud andoutrageousely unconventoonal or be practically naked to try to appear sexy, but are plain boring nowadays, especially young female such types. Personky, I gfor comfort that does not offend the grkup I want tfit into, but which still marks me as an individualistic type ie with my own personal style. The orrect dress code can be confusi g nowadays, unlike in past eras, whereit was very clear and known by all eg a ball involved a suit for men and long gowfor women etc. Venues and events need to spell out the required dress code. A local club where I live dies this. So you know that things like rubbertbongs or hats arenot allowed, nor are skimpshorts on any ody or justysinglets on men etc. The rules are clear and easy to follow. Respecting the dress code does not bother me, like itdoes some when turned away for inappropriate dress eg women in very short skirts and barelegs, in thongs… When you also study theibehaviiur dressed this way in such venues full of men drinking and gambling, discussing their boats, farms, exclusive intage cars etc, you realky do wonder exactly what such women, mostly exoticcolored types or white "urban refugee" types are there for. A littlebit of "goldigging" or prostitution, perhaps? I have lost count of how many local older wealthy men these types target for their money, and who know, as fellow locals, approacme to do a favour for them. No, not sexual favours, as they areoftedece marriedtnmen and they know I am not "that" type of female… They nust want me to pretend tbe their girlfriend or wife and act this part, so that these harlots from outside the local community just bugger off and leave our local good men one, instead of preying on them. I even wear a wedding ring sometimes for this useful role I play, thelp keep our local community clean and safe from such women from outside. The locals'wives aremy friends and thank me for it, as they know it is just an act I put on. Leaves these external originated sluts baffled and confused, when the local gents come up to me, offer their arm, very chivalrously rough Aussie country syle and smile and say "Ready to go home yet, darling…" Once out the door, their wife will say hello and thanme and I go home alone, though I need not, as I can easily get men friends.i just like my peace and solitude. .

  17. Why does this feel like some guy with a british accent (supposedly denoting knowlege, expertise) telling women about what they already fucking know.🙄

  18. I go from wearing all black to all white to all red and anything in between, those are the only 3 colors worth wearing lol

  19. I guess I'll just hope my clothing indicates that I value spending my time (and money) on something other than clothing.

  20. This is just consumerist propaganda. I'll buy clothes so I can use the appearance to manipulate people into getting what I need or misguiding people around, or just disappearing into a crowd.

  21. I just started buying my own clothes at 28. I never cared for them before but I realized it does something to your self-esteem when you wear something you chose for yourself.

  22. How funny this is. Even when I was younger I could care less about clothes. I would and still do, where whatever suits me. I never cared in the least about being 'dressed properly', whatever that ever means. Funny.

  23. I'm a colorblind chemist who dresses mostly for practicality, and so, you might think of me as boring and basic because my clothes are not likely to tell people the whole truth about me even if what they say is true. That being said, I appreciate learning this, because I venture many people are advertising to me who they are if only I pay attention to how and what they wear.

  24. I am always willing to pay a bit more for things that last and I do wear the hell out of them. I just love the look of broken-in quality clothes

  25. Why clothes don’t matter: it’s about the ENERGY of the individual WEARING the clothes ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

  26. everyone shd own and use a full length mirror daily before they go out in public. one does not need designer clothes BUT your clothes shd fit right and look classy in order for you to look good for then you feel good about yourself!

  27. Thanks for the slick and interesting video! Clothes are important, because they affect how people perceive you and how you feel about yourself. I would have found it easier to relate to the video if it had been closer to 50-50 men's and women's clothing, instead of 90% women's. Granted, women's clothes is the bigger market, but still…

  28. “Because we pretend they do” or “for protection” are the only valid reason. Any other you are pushing for an opinion.

  29. Clothes wouldn't be important if Eve didn't eat the fruit on the tree like I hate wearing pants or shorts it so uncomfortable

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