Mind behind the Mask


With Halloween just barely a blink away, Grazia UK asked Janne Baetsen of MINDFASHION.Today about the mind behind fancy dress.

Clothing can and is often described as a second skin. Moreover, clothes partly shape our identity and influence our mental processes, and perceptions, whether this process is conscious or unconscious. However, we all have undoubtedly felt more confident, stronger wearing a specific jacket, a certain dress, a particular pair of heels… a phenomenon explained by enclothed cognition, which brings us to a fascinating perspective for Halloween! What are the (underlying) influences and excitement of dressing up like Superman, a clown or a sexy nurse with Halloween?

The reasons why we dress up and as whom or what we dress up might be broad and personal, but one thing is certain, a costume allows us to imagine and transform into someone else, or, in a different version of ourselves. Giving us 'super' powers that normally don't come naturally or maybe even make us uncomfortable, from feeling sexy, less shy or like a kid again to brave, funny, scary or strong. Evoking and bringing an inner-self, strengths, desires and/or values to the surface that usually aren't visible when wearing your just-another-day-at-the-office suit.

Although you are 'hiding' behind a mask during Halloween, it may reveal more of yourself than you are conscious of! Previous psychological research on the meanings behind Halloween costume choices have revealed that turning into a sexy Jessica Rabbit can stand for a celebration of or repressed sexuality, Cinderella can represent your lost innocence or beauty, and Zombie Joe can show your fascination with the macabre. Whether or not you agree and it is true for all that Halloween gives you the opportunity and freedom to discover and show hidden aspects of yourself, or you are just hoping your costume will get you the most candy with trick-or-treating, definitely something more to think about next time you are putting on your Halloween outfit ;). 

Read the Grazia UK article also online >>

Want more in-dept information regarding fashion and psychology? Contact MINDFASHION.today minds Caroline Zaidan, Aurore Bardey (Applied Psychology for Fashion, LCF) or Dion Terrelonge.

Janne BaetsenJanne Baetsen