The Psychology of Vintage Dressing

Factors That Affect How We Wear Clothes

Why do people wear clothes? Why do people prefer vintage clothing over others?

The psychology of vintage dressing is best understood in relation to Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. Maslow's Theory of Human Motivation illustrates the stages of human growth and development with a pyramid, with physiological needs at the base of the pyramid and self-actualization needs at the tip. The other stages in between represent safety, love and belongingness and esteem needs. Basically, the need for clothing and shelter would belong to the safety needs of the individual, clothing being an invention of man to protect him from extremes of temperature.

The well-known fashion historian James Laver, however, points out that people dress not only for comfort and warmth. According to his theory, one's economic and social status influence one's fashion taste. He points out that people dress to impress or they dress to attract. This is still consistent with Maslow's hierarchy of needs because people do need to feel accepted (belongingness needs) and to be able to express themselves (self-actualization needs). And dressing oneself in a certain manner is a way of fulfilling these needs. For instance, following the fad or dressing fashionably is a way of gaining acceptance and appreciation from others. One's self-actualization needs are also satisfied through the use of creative and unique designs in clothing.

Wikipedia describes vintage clothing or retro clothing as "second hand garments originating from a previous era". These garments are usually found preserved in one's parents' or grandparents' closets. There are also garment entrepreneurs who specialize in selling vintage clothing such as second hand dress shops, garage sales and vintage clothing boutiques.

Why Other People Prefer Vintage Dresses

Why do people prefer clothes that were produced during the previous era? There are several reasons that come to mind. One reason would be that people feel sentimental about a previous mode of living which includes fashion. People tend to recapture the past that gave them a feeling of security and acceptance. And wearing vintage clothing that have been tried and tested in the past gives them a feeling of stability. A second reason is that people want to minimize on costs related to clothes. It is more practical to recycle old clothes than to buy fashionable ones that will become outmoded in a year or two. Third, is that ironically old fashion becomes new fashion. History repeats itself and this is also true for fashion. Well known celebrities and models have been observed to make their fashion statement wearing vintage clothes. The feeling of being "in fashion" motivates people to follow their lead.

The vintage fashion is classified as a genre by itself. It has become an art form because the uniqueness and the best features of the era which are preserved and recreated are expressed in the lives of people. In the hierarchy of man's needs, clothing satisfies not only the basic needs of man but also his loftier goals for self-expression. This is what differentiates humans from lower forms of animals. Man is gifted with the ability to transcend the physical and the basic.

Article Source: Martina_B_Lopez


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