Playing Dress Up

Following on from our previous post Feel Good Fashion

Generally speaking, we have seen four types of content from the fashion industry to accompany Instagram’s #StayHome tag:

4. Playing Dress Up

A tactic which has been played by fast fashion brands more commonly than couture has been to highlight the role clothing and the body play in determining our emotional state. This has typically been couched in terms of ‘self-care’, a concept which has been increasingly used within fashion marketing. Brands like ASOS, BooHoo, Missguided and New Look have put together a number of directly merchandised Instagram posts which encourage their customers to continue buying clothing, cosmetics and toiletries because it will make them feel better. ‘Say yes to the (summer) dress – even if you are only wearing it inside’, read one caption from New Look’s Instagram page today.

Many brands have particularly picked up on reports of an upsurge in sales resulting from consumers wanting to be the best dressed on their Zoom workplace meetings. Fashion writers and some theorists have widely argued that fashion has the psychological power to change our mood, our movements and our confidence in unparalleled ways to other material objects.

Whilst there is undoubtedly some truth in the claim, it is important to not give too much agency to clothing as the sole contributor to our state of mind and avoid excessive emphasis on appearance. Maintaining a routine by getting dressed each morning as though going to work has been recommended as one way to maintain a sense of normalcy, something which certainly counts as self-care. However, avoiding social pressures to unnecessarily spend in the belief it will solve all our problems is equally recommendable.