File Name: doing research in fashion and dress .zip
Her research interests include South Asian diaspora literature, migrant literature s in English, postcolonial, diaspora and transcultural studies, fashion theory and the sociological study of dress in literature. Skip to main content Skip to table of contents.
Metrics details. The purpose of this research was to provide a critical review of key research areas within the social psychology of dress. The review addresses published research in two broad areas: 1 dress as a stimulus and its influence on a attributions by others, attributions about self, and on one's behavior and 2 relationships between dress, the body, and the self.
We identify theoretical approaches used in conducting research in these areas, provide an abbreviated background of research in these areas highlighting key findings, and identify future research directions and possibilities. The subject matter presented features developing topics within the social psychology of dress and is useful for undergraduate students who want an overview of the content area.
It is also useful for graduate students 1 who want to learn about the major scholars in these key areas of inquiry who have moved the field forward, or 2 who are looking for ideas for their own thesis or dissertation research. Finally, information in this paper is useful for professors who research or teach the social psychology of dress. A few social scientists in the 19 th Century studied dress as related to culture, individuals, and social groups, but it was not until the middle of the 20 th Century that home economists began to pursue a scholarly interest in social science aspects of dress Roach-Higgins Body modifications include cosmetic use, suntanning, piercing, tattooing, dieting, exercising, and cosmetic surgery among others.
Body supplements include, but are not limited to, accessories, clothing, hearing aids, and glasses. By the s social science theories from economics, psychology, social psychology, and sociology were being used to study dress and human behavior Rudd , p.
Our goal was to identify theoretical approaches used in conducting research in these areas, provide an abbreviated background of research in these areas highlighting key findings, and to identify future research directions and possibilities. The content presented features developing topics within the social psychology of dress and is useful for undergraduate students who want an overview of the content area.
In the remainder of this section we focus on three research streams that center on dress i. For example, both Edmonds and Cahoon and Cahoon and Edmonds found ratings of women who wore provocative dress were more negative than ratings of women who wore non-provocative dress. No specific theory was identified by these authors as guiding their research.
Overall, when wearing provocative dress a model was rated more sexually appealing, more attractive, less faithful in marriage, more likely to engage in sexual teasing, more likely to use sex for personal gain, more likely to be sexually experienced, and more likely to be raped than when wearing conservative dress. Abbey et al. The authors developed two dress conditions: revealing slit skirt, low cut blouse, high heeled shoes and non-revealing skirt without a slit, blouse buttoned to neck, boots.
Participants rated the stimulus person on a series of adjective traits. As compared to when wearing the non-revealing clothing, when wearing the revealing clothing the stimulus person was rated significantly more flirtatious, sexy, seductive, promiscuous, sophisticated, assertive, and less sincere and considerate.
This research was not guided by theory. These researchers tended to use attribution theories McLeod, to guide their research. Their results showed that provocative, skimpy, see-through, or short items of dress, as well as use of heavy makeup body modification , were cues used to assign responsibility to women for their sexual assaults and experiences of sexual harassment. A model was photographed wearing a dark suit jacket, above-the-knee skirt, a low-cut blouse, dark hose, and high heels provocative condition or wearing a dark suit jacket, below-the-knee skirt, high-cut blouse, neutral hose, and moderate heels non-provocative condition.
As compared to when wearing non-provocative dress, when wearing provocative dress the model was rated as significantly more likely to provoke sexual harassment and to be sexually harassed.
Recently, researchers have resurrected the topic of provocative revealing, sexy dress. However, their interest is in determining the extent to which women and girls are depicted in provocative dress in the media in magazines, in online retail stores and the potential consequences of those depictions, such as objectification. These researchers have often used objectification theory to guide their research. Objectification theory focuses on sexual objectification as a function of objectifying gaze, which is experienced in actual social encounters, media depictions of social encounters, and media depictions that focus on bodies and body parts.
The theory explains that objectifying gaze evokes an objectified state of consciousness which influences self-perceptions. This objectified state of consciousness has consequences such as habitual body and appearance monitoring and requires cognitive effort that can result in difficulty with task performance Szymanski et al. In such an environment, women may perceive their bodies from a third-person perspective, treating themselves as objects to be looked at and evaluated.
Experimental research shows that self-objectification in women can be induced by revealing clothing manipulations such as asking women to try on and evaluate the fit of a swimsuit as compared to a bulky sweater Fredrickson et al. Clothing was coded as having sexualizing characteristics e. The researchers found an increase in sexualized aspects of dress in depictions of girls from through These two studies document that girls are increasingly depicted in sexualizing clothing in U.
Since girls are increasingly sexualized, to determine if sexualized dress affects how girls are perceived by others Graff et al. There were three clothing conditions: childlike a grey t-shirt, jeans, and black Mary Jane shoes , ambiguously sexualized leopard print dress of moderate length , highly sexualized short dress, leopard print cardigan, purse. In the definitely sexualized condition, undergraduate students rated the girl as less moral, self-respecting, capable, determined, competent, and intelligent than when she was depicted in either the childlike or the ambiguously sexualized conditions.
In a study using adult stimuli, Gurung and Chrouser presented photos of female Olympic athletes in uniform and in provocative defined as minimal dress. College women rated the photos and when provocatively dressed, as compared to the uniform condition, the women were rated as more attractive, more feminine, more sexually experienced, more desirable, but also less capable, less strong, less determined, less intelligent, and as having less self-respect.
These results are similar to what had previously been found by researchers in the s Abbey et al. This outcome is considered objectifying because the overall impression is negative and sexist. Thus, this line of research does more than demonstrate that provocative dress evokes inferences, it suggests the process by which that occurs: provocative dress leads to objectification of the woman so dressed and it is the objectification that leads to the inferences.
In a more direct assessment of the relationship between provocative dress and objectification of others, Holland and Haslam manipulated the dress provocative or plain clothing of two models thin or overweight who were rated equally attractive in facial attractiveness.
Objectification also involves denying human qualities to the objectified person. Two such qualities are perceived agency e. Several findings are relevant to the research on provocative dress.
As compared to models wearing plain clothing, models wearing provocative clothing were attributed less perceived agency e. Results showed that more objectified gaze was directed toward the bodies of the models when they were dressed in provocative clothing as compared to when dressed in plain clothing.
In an experimental study guided by objectification theory, Tiggemann and Andrew studied the effects of clothing on self-perceptions of state self-objectification, state body shame, state body dissatisfaction, and negative mood. However, unlike studies e. There were four scenarios: thinking about wearing a bathing suit in public, thinking about wearing a bathing suit in a dressing room, thinking about wearing a sweater in public, and thinking about wearing a sweater in a dressing room.
The researchers found main effects for clothing such that as compared to thinking about wearing a sweater, thinking about wearing a bathing suit resulted in higher state self-objectification, higher state body shame, higher state body dissatisfaction, and greater negative mood.
The fact that the manipulation only involved thinking about wearing clothing, rather than actually wearing such clothing, demonstrates the power of revealing provocative, sexy dress in that we only have to think about wearing it to have it affect our self-perceptions.
Taking extant research into account we encourage researchers to continue to investigate the topic of provocative sexy, revealing dress for both men and women to replicate the results for women and to determine if revealing dress for men might evoke the kinds of inferences evoked by women wearing revealing dress. Furthermore, research that delineates the role of objectification in the process by which this association between dress and inferences occurs would be useful.
Although it would not be ethical to use the experimental strategy used by previous researchers Fredrickson et al. Researchers who study the social psychology of dress have seldom focused on dress color. For example, Francis and Evans found that stimulus persons were actually perceived positively when not wearing their recommended personal colors. Hilliker and Rogers surveyed managers of apparel stores about the use of color analysis systems and found some impact on the marketplace, but disagreement among the managers on the value of the systems.
Abramov critiqued color analysis for being unclear, ambiguous, and for the inability to substantiate claims. Most of these studies were not guided by a psychological theory of color. Like other variables that affect social perception, the theory explains that color also conveys meaning which varies as a function of the context in which the color is perceived. Accordingly, the meanings of colors are learned over time through repeated pairings with a particular experience or message e.
As a function of these associations between colors and experiences, messages, or biological tendencies, people either display approach responses or avoidance responses but are largely unaware of how color affects them. In this section we review studies that examine the effects of red in relational contexts such as interpersonal attraction. However, there is evidence that red is detrimental in achievement i.
Recently researchers have used color-in-context theory to study the effects of red dress shirts, dresses on impressions related to sexual intent, attractiveness, dominance, and competence. Some of these studies were guided by color-in-context theory.
Male participants viewed a photo of a woman wearing a t-shirt that varied in color. When wearing a red t-shirt as compared to the other colors, the woman was judged to be more attractive and to have greater sexual intent. Pazda et al. They argued that red is associated with sexual receptivity due to cultural pairings of red and female sexuality e.
Men participated in an online experiment in which they were exposed to a woman wearing either a red, black, or white dress. When wearing the red dress the woman was rated as more sexually receptive than when wearing either the white or the black dresses.
The woman was also rated on attractiveness and by performing a mediation analysis the researchers determined that when wearing the red dress, the ratings of her attractiveness as a function of red were no longer significant; in other words, the reason she was rated as more attractive when wearing the red dress was due to the fact that she was also perceived as more sexually receptive. In their first experiment they found that women rated the stimulus woman as more sexually receptive when wearing a red dress as compared to when she was wearing a white dress.
In a second experiment the woman wearing a red dress was not only rated more sexually receptive, she was also derogated more since ratings of her sexual fidelity were lower when wearing a red dress as compared to a white dress.
Finally, in a third experiment the stimulus woman was again rated more sexually receptive; this time when she wore a red shirt as compared to when she wore a green shirt.
The authors assessed the likelihood that their respondents would introduce the stimulus person to their boyfriends and the likelihood that they would let their boyfriends spend time with the stimulus person. Participants in the red shirt condition were more likely to keep their boyfriends from interacting with the stimulus person than participants in the green shirt condition.
Thus, both men and women indicated women wearing red are sexually receptive. Also interested in color, Roberts et al.
To answer this question, they devised a complicated series of experiments. In the first study, male and female models ten of each were photographed wearing each of six different colors of t-shirts. Undergraduates of the opposite sex rated the photographed models on attractiveness. Both male and female models were rated most attractive when wearing red and black t-shirts. In study two the same photos were used, but the t-shirts were masked by a gray rectangle. Compared to when they wore white t-shirts, male models were judged to be more attractive by both men and women when they wore the red t-shirts, even though the red color was not visible.
In the third study the t-shirt colors in the photos were digitally altered, so that images could be compared in which red or white t-shirts were worn with those in which red had been altered to white and white had been altered to red. Male models wearing red were rated more attractive than male models wearing white that had been altered to appear red. Also male models wearing red shirts digitally altered to appear white were rated more attractive than male models actually photographed in white.
These effects did not occur for female models. The authors reasoned that if clothing color only affected perceivers, then the results should be the same when a model is photographed in red as well as when the model is photographed in white which is subsequently altered to appear red. Since this did not happen, the authors concluded that clothing color affects both the wearer and the perceiver.
In addition, the effects of red dress on impressions also extend to behaviors. Kayser et al.
Dress is a key marker of difference. It is closely attached to the body, part of the daily routine, and an unavoidable means of communication. The clothes people wear tell stories about their allegiances and identities but also about their exclusion and stigmatization. They allow for the display of wealth and can mercilessly display poverty and indigence. Clothes also enable people to play with identities and affinities: for instance, individuals can claim higher social status via their clothes.
While the Museum is open, please note that all libraries, research centers, archives and study rooms will remain closed until further notice, due to COVID We look forward to announcing when we will be able to welcome staff and visitors back to these resources. The Costume Institute's Irene Lewisohn Costume Reference Library collection contains thirty thousand books and periodicals as well as over one thousand and five hundred designer files all pertaining to the history of fashion, haute couture, regional clothing, and costume from around the world, dated from the sixteenth century to today. Extensive special collections include fashion plates, photographs, illustrations and sketches, textile swatches, lookbooks, archives, and related ephemera. Some special collections materials can be found on the Museum Libraries' Digital Collections website.
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Metrics details. The purpose of this research was to provide a critical review of key research areas within the social psychology of dress. The review addresses published research in two broad areas: 1 dress as a stimulus and its influence on a attributions by others, attributions about self, and on one's behavior and 2 relationships between dress, the body, and the self. We identify theoretical approaches used in conducting research in these areas, provide an abbreviated background of research in these areas highlighting key findings, and identify future research directions and possibilities.
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