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Style: Your outfit speaks

March 24, 2013

We often read quotes like these and usually brush them aside as merely fancy sayings. However, this may no longer be the case. Researchers at the University of Kansas and Wellesley College have discovered that shoes do, after all, tell our story. (The study ‘Shoes as a source of first impressions’ was published in the Journal of Research in Personality recently.) This interesting research has confirmed that shoes are not only an indicator of one’s age, gender and financial status/family income but also reveal a lot about the personality of the wearer including one’s emotional stability, introversion/extroversion and maybe even political affiliation.

Most interesting by far is the discovery of the co-relation between one’s shoes and one’s ‘attachment anxiety’, which refers to whether one tends to be clingy and insecure in their close relationships or more laid-back and relaxed. People with attachment anxiety are insecure in their relationships and it has been discovered that people who are most concerned with keeping their shoes well-maintained and spotless generally suffer from attachment anxiety. On the other hand, practical and functional footwear indicated an agreeable personality, while boring footwear belonged to people who do not care much about socialising and relationships.

Stilettos effortlessly portray feminine power and appeal. Leather boots usually give off a fairly aggressive vibe. Flip-flops, on the other hand, are relaxed and easy-going while sneakers are deemed cool and casual. Designer shoes are a sure-fire way to flaunt your wealth. Blacks are strong, reds are showy and golden/silver shoes are flashy. Ballerinas are young, fun and cute while high-heeled pumps usually mean business. Even the length of one’s heel is supposed to correspond to one’s level of confidence! So is the style, i.e. whether one wears close-topped, no-nonsense boots or strappy, foot-revealing sandals.

At the same time, this shoe-business brings much more to the mind: does everything that we have on us tell our story?

If that was the case, there would be a bunch of highly engaging stories about each of us. For example, did you ever wonder what your handbag has to say about you? Is it dainty and pretty or big and practical? It also matters whether you go for all leather, which portrays a certain class, or fabric which is comparatively more laid-back. Also, the number of zips, buckles, chains, etc. on your bag is significant. Your bag could give a decent insight into your personality, lifestyle and type of career, though it has to be considered that one’s choice of handbags (and shoes too) is often dictated by the occasion along with purely personal preference and need.

The same is the case with clothes. It is no rocket science to analyse a personality through one’s attire. Just think of bright colours versus pastels, and that should give you a fair idea of the wearer’s general disposition, i.e. cheerful/loud/attention-loving or reserved/calm/not-wanting-to-stand-out. Beware, just the colour of one dress cannot determine the wearer’s personality; rather it’s the colours that they wear most that define them.

Similarly, wearing a lot of silks and plush fabrics shows extravagance in taste, while clean-cut clothes with minimal embellishments show simplicity and a down-to-earth nature. The same goes for sharp cuts versus loose, flowing lines; the former shows a penchant for perfectionism, while the latter shows a more informal sense of style.

However, it is incorporating a lot of black or white in one’s wardrobe that makes the strongest statement about who they are. It is common knowledge that whites are simple, open, innocent and approachable. Blacks, on the other hand, are imposing and expose the mysterious side of your personality. They represent a degree of allure, confidence and command. And what does wearing animal prints imply? If carried the right way, it’s imposing and brings out one’s wild side! Similarly incorporating leather into one’s outfit, even if with a simple belt, subtly points to toughness.

Accessories have their own little stories to tell. Compare delicate, crystal bracelets in translucent shades loosely hanging around a wrist with arms stacked with the chunky black/brown bangles that are doing the rounds these days. The former clearly speaks of feminine charm, while the latter reflects power and assertiveness. Couple it with black nail polish and chunky rings and you cannot help but look tough. The size of one’s jewellery as well as how ornate or simple it is, go a long way in defining one’s style and personality. Think big rings which are all the rage these days; these grab much attention and make one appear assertive.

So you see, every single piece that you have on you speaks volumes about your personality, nature, style and general attitude. So the next time you’re headed somewhere, just check what kind of stories your outfit tells about you!