Clothing symbolizes important characteristics of the wearer and influences the judgments others make of him. It influences the concept of self because the person tends to think of himself as other think of him. How greatly clothing will affect personality will depend on how will it symbolizes characteristics that the group regard as significant at that time. It will also depend on how well clothing meets the personal needs of wearer at the some time. When a person has a particularly strong craving for social acceptance, for example, his clothing may contribute to the poise and self-confidence he needs to make favorable impression.
Girls with large body builds that are regarded by their peers as sex-inappropriate often select, simple dark clothing in the hope that it will make their size less conspicuous. People who sociable and want to attract attention favor bright color and flamboyant designs. These who are concerned about making a good impression often choose conservative colors and material with a small design. These facts have led to the conclusion that the self is expressed through one’s selection of clothing fabrics and that clothing items play a role in helping the individual to conform to an ideal self.
The clothing suited to the need of the individual helps him to achieve a favorable self-concept is well known to the layman, as shown by a large clothing company’s advertisement. Psychoanalysis has helped some men to overcome obstacles and gain new confidence.
The ego involvement of clothing has been noted by Hartmann. If clothes embarrass or humiliate the wearer or if they cause “swollen pride” they contribute to a distorted concept of self. Ordinarily the wearer is quick to sense what others think of his clothes. This influences not only his attitude towards his clothes but also his attitude toward himself. Usually, the opinions of others reinforce the wearer’s already- existing attitudes, whether they are favorable or not.
For the vast majority of the human-race, clothing plays a large part in making for happiness and success—clothes help to make us self- confident, self respecting, jolly, free or they make us self-conscious, shy, and sensitive, restrained how much we go in to society, the places we go to, and the exercise we take. They help us to get jobs and to hold them, to miss them and lose them--- clothes then make or us. They may enhance our personality or be so conspicuous as to subordinate us to them.