Real, Ideal, Ought!

Artist Flora Borsi - Siamese .  Images courtesy of the artist.  /  floraborsiofficial

Artist Flora Borsi - SiameseImages courtesy of the artist.

Clothes are in direct contact with our body, which envelops our mind and emotions; when it comes to analyse our reactions and behaviours, psychology will [should..] obviously be implied, as it defines the study of mind and behaviour.
— Caroline Zaidan

Who do you think you are?

Self-discrepancies are discrepancies which are experienced by individuals among their actual self (who they are), their ideal self (who they would like to be) and their ought self (who they think they should be). Having been widely researched, the literature shows that they are associated with outcomes such as fear of negative evaluations by others, depression, overall negative affect, low self-esteem and body dissatisfaction. Although some of this research has put in relation self-discrepancies and appearance ideals promoted by fashion/media images, to date self-discrepancies have not been studied in depth within the fashion context. In addition, the existing research on self-discrepancies has relied primarily on quantitative methods and focused on females!


Fashion Selves & Well-being

Being intrigued by this [seemingly] lack of research on self-discrepancies and their impact on psychological well-being within the fashion context, as well as an important gap in the fashion psychology literature, I started my study on 'Fashion Selves and Well-being (2017). My main aim was to explore individuals’ actual, ideal, and ought self and self-discrepancies in relation to their clothing as well as research the ways in which clothing-related or style-related self-discrepancies may affect psychological well-being. The results suggest in fact a strong influence of society and the fashion industry on individuals’ clothing choices, self-discrepancies and psychological well-being. However, certain self-discrepancies are not related to negative outcomes, on the contrary, when it is one’s own standards the outcome seems to be positive.

I believe we need to inform and encourage more positive practices within the fashion industry, particularly in marketing, as well as stimulate further research that can help social and clinical psychologists, and the industry itself understand better the role that fashion plays in individuals’ lives.

For more information regarding the Fashion Selves & Well-being research: Caroline Zaidan