Representation matters. Whether it’s representation in the media, our communities, our schools or workplaces, positive representation is important. Positive representation helps to break down preconceptions and offer a feeling of normalcy for things that are deemed unusual within cultures.
One of the most intriguing aspects of the human experience is the diversity of cultures found around the world. The differences make us interesting and unique. This includes our food, language, accents, music, and even our clothes.
Many cultures have their own traditional clothes and styles, including unique fabrics and patterns.
Fashion is more than just clothing or the latest trend. It’s an expression of self, and our culture is a part of that expression.
What your clothes say about you
In an article by Forbes magazine, Clinical psychologist Dr. Jennifer Baumgartner explains that psychology determines your clothing choices, and that people use clothing as a way of figuring out where they fit within society, both economically and culturally.
Furthermore, it has been proven in a study that your clothes say more to you than about you. In this study, participants were handed a lab coat and some were told that it was a doctor’s coat, while others were told it was a painter’s smock.
Both sets of participants were given the same tasks to perform, however, those who were told it was a doctor’s coat performed their tasks more carefully and attentively. In other words, their clothing influenced their actions. This phenomenon was termed “enclothed cognition.” This study proved that our clothes not only determines how we view ourselves and others, but also how much what we wear internally affects our behaviors.
Why your clothes should represent you
Your clothing choices represent how you feel and your overall personality. Your choice of color, comfort and style, all directly affect your confidence levels. When it comes to wearing traditional clothing or clothing that directly represents your cultural background, the same holds true. Whether that includes dresses, jackets or kimonos, being able to represent your culture in your fashion choices is a big deal. Here are three reasons you should wear clothes that represent you.
- Self Expression – By wearing clothing that represents your culture, you can express your appreciation for the culture, while humbly keeping traditions alive. Wearing clothing representative of your culture will also help to remind people that the western way of dressing isn’t the only option you have when it comes to fashion.
- It represents your culture/ethnicity – America is a great big melting pot of races, cultures and ethnicities. While much of the population consist of immigrants, sometimes to blend in, we often forget our roots. Wearing clothing that reflects where you are from can give you a sense of pride and patriotism for your roots, outside of being American.
- To pay tribute – By wearing traditional clothing, you are paying homage to your foundation and all the elements that come together to make you who you are. It’s a symbol of love that allows you to express the love for your country, culture and tradition.
Additionally, since this style of dressing may not be popular across cultures, garments trimmed with colorful African prints gives others an opportunity to learn about your culture.
Fashion is about expression, and should say how you feel or how you want to feel. Psychologist Dr. Jennifer Baumgartner said, “The worst clothing is the kind that tries to undo, ignore or hide where or who you are, or the kind that shows you didn’t pay attention to your body/age/situation …” So, show who you are and represent yourself well. The world is your runway!
Check out our store for all your African inspired jackets and kimonos!