In 2007, a band called the Holloways released a song called Re-Invent Myself.
It came from an anarchistic-themed album called So This Is Great Britain and included a lyric that poses a question about the fashion industry. According to the website Lyrics.com, it went along the lines of ‘since when was fashion a necessity, I don’t see anything we really need’. It’s an interesting question; indeed, fashion is a huge industry, and we all need clothes to keep warm and identity to feel unique, but does fashion have any tangible benefits?
By that, we mean, can fashion genuinely improve oneself and, in direct contrast to the lyric, be of significant benefit and necessity to an individual? Or is it an industry fed purely by vanity and one that doesn’t help, improve or accentuate a person’s life?
It is undoubtedly the former. The lyric, suggesting there’s nothing in fashion that is needed, is purely subjective by the writer and does not factor in other people’s well-being and personal requirement. There are many ways fashion improves personal well-being for people, and we’ve picked a handful of those instances here.
One of the main ways fashion can help individuals is to improve their mood and give them a shot of positivity. If this comes at a time of personal struggle, then all the better. A study by Gala Bingo recently indicated that Brits often get glammed up for menial tasks, such as going to the shop or posting a letter.
Lifestyle and Wellness Coach, Joanna Shurety, believes getting dressed up is a fundamental part of well-being for many people. “Self-care plays a fundamental part of both our physical and mental well-being. All too often, self-care is bumped down the list of things to do because it can seem selfish or unimportant, yet it is these things that keep us happy, resilient and engaged.”
Improve Cognitive Abilities
It’s also been proven that certain clothes can make you feel smarter. A study by Northwestern University in the US conducted in 2012 discovered that certain outfits and fabrics affected the wearer’s cognitive abilities. There’s a belief that it is very much psychological within the wearer; for instance, putting on a lab coat makes you feel smarter, so you are actually smarter. The same goes for clothing such as formal suits and business wear; people who dress for certain situations believe they are better equipped through their clothing.
At a base level, dressing to go for a run will, theoretically, make you run better than if you slip on a pair of fashion shorts and a band t-shirt. That’s the theory, at least.
A person’s sense of identity is very important, and fashion plays into that. Having a sense of identity makes you who you are. Think about two different situations, for instance, at work and with your parents. Are you a different person for each? That’s because you have a sense of identity in both places. For complete well-being, your sense of identity in social situations should reflect you, and much of that is based on the clothes you wear.
“It’s like everyone tells a story about themselves inside their own head,” said Patrick Rothfuss, a US writer. “Always. All the time. That story makes you what you are. We build ourselves out of that story.” Fashion helps you build your story.
Fashion is certainly more important now than ever before, perhaps more so than when The Holloways were so disparaging back in 2007. So many people struggle with identity in the modern world, and fashion can help them through that, with gender inclusivity more prominent now. That is in addition to the other great benefits we’ve outlined.
So, is there anything in fashion we need? Absolutely, for some, it is vital for their well-being.