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Style psychology: How our fashion choices influence others

By Haley Wehner

Since starting college, I’ve noticed that what a person is wearing has a huge influence on how those around treat him or her. Casual clothes appear to make someone seem more approachable, while out of the norm styles deter or intimidate others.

blue jeans white shirt

Photo retrieved from

the white pepper

Photo retrieved from The White Pepper, via Pinterest

In my first few days attending Arizona State University, I wore whatever I wanted. One particular day, I wore a buttoned sunflower print skirt that falls just above the ankles. That day, people shot me looks that made me feel like my outfit was incredibly outdated. I felt like a grandma who just escaped from a nursing home.

Another night, I went out in casual jeans and a baggy, very, very unflattering shirt that looks like it could belong to my dad. You wouldn’t believe how many people talked to me that night. Suddenly everyone in the world wanted to be my BFF and get matching tattoos.

So what does all this mean? If we want to make friends does that mean we need to limit our wardrobe to plain Jane clothing? My answer is no.

Photo retrieved from

Photo retrieved from

“It can be intimidating at first when someone is wearing an outfit that’s a little different, but once you realize the person is really nice, you get used to their style and grow to admire it” said Alexa Covelli, an ASU freshman and nursing major.

People may be intimidated if your fashion is strikingly different from their own, but I found that if you put your personality and kindness on display, you won’t get judged solely on what you’re wearing. In fact, the more you showcase your inner self, the more people will accept and love your fashionista self. Show people that you’re more than just a person in an outfit.

So wear your high-waisted “grandma” shorts. Throw your hair up in a scrunchie. Strut the halls of college in 5 inch heels. Dress up in a collared blouse and nice shirt, even if you’re just going to grab a coffee. Wear a blazer with that outfit just because it completes it, even if it is 100 degrees outside. Don socks with your jelly shoes. Wear whatever the heck you want, because people are going to love you for you.

jelly shoes

Photo retrieved from Buzzfeed


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