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Does Clothing Affect Behavior?

Updated on December 4, 2012

This hub is to answer the question: Do you think that people behave differently when they wear different clothes?

Clothing does have an effect on a person's behavior. All one needs to do is to think about their favorite outfit or an outfit that makes them feel the most confident to see that clothing influences our thoughts and attitudes. If the clothing affects our attitudes, it certainly affects our behavior. There are several factors about clothing that can influence our behavior, perception, and attitudes.

Behavior-influencing Factors Related to Clothing:

  • Condition and Cleanliness
  • In Style or Different from Others' Clothing
  • Fitting for the Occasion
  • Color
  • Sensuality

Condition and Cleanliness

It's not uncommon for people to dress in old clothing for doing chores around the house or painting. Imagine wearing your grungy, torn clothing normally reserved for cleaning house to a social event. What feelings would that invoke? Would you feel awkward or more shy than usual? Would you try to hide or go unnoticed as much as possible? I know I feel uncomfortable leaving the house in such clothes at all even if it is just to run into a convenience store for a quick purchase.

Clothing that is dirty, ripped, or otherwise damaged can affect how a people feel about themselves while they are wearing the clothes. They are likely to feel self-conscious or unconfident which affects people's behavior and makes them less likely to be outgoing or as social or positive as usual.

In Style or Different from Others' Clothing

Many people pride themselves in having their closet full of the latest fashion. Others don't find that to be important at all. The effect of having stylish clothes or not has a lot to do with how the person values fashion. If fashion is not at all important to the person, then having outdated or plain clothing that is not fashionable may not affect how they feel. In fact, some people feel more confident and have a higher sense of self-esteem if they dress differently than the norm. However, if the person feels uncomfortable not having fashionable clothes, this can be a hit to their self-esteem which may make them act more withdrawn and timid than usual.

Unless she is posing for a silly photograph, it' can be awkward when a woman's clothing doesn't match the occasion.
Unless she is posing for a silly photograph, it' can be awkward when a woman's clothing doesn't match the occasion.

Fitting for the Occasion

Do you want to go fishing in 5" heels or backpacking in a wedding gown? Having the wrong clothes doesn't have to be that dramatic but it can influence how the person feels and behaves. Wearing the wrong clothes or not fitting the dress code can be embarrassing and awkward. These feelings affect the person's behavior and may make them restless and fidgety or try to hide or be inconspicuous as possible.


Color has an effect on people's mood which can influence their behavior. Yellows and bright colors tend to make us more cheery and alert. Some people may notice a boost of self-confidence if they are feeling good wearing a bright color. In contrast, darks and black clothing can have a subduing effect on a person's mood. However, some people feel more business-like and motivated if they are wearing business clothing in neutrals or dark colors. Also, a person may feel more sociable and happy if they are wearing their favorite color even if that color may have a less positive effect on most people. So, not only is color a factor, but it is related to how the person perceives that color.


A woman may have a favorite revealing top, little black dress, or lingerie that makes them feel desirable. When the woman feels desirable, she may be more likely to act more flirtatious or otherwise be more social than she might be if she wore her worst clothing and felt unattractive.

Does clothing affect behavior? Clothing influences people's attitudes and behavior every day. The clothing itself is not the influence, but rather it's the person's perception and opinion of those clothes that shape their emotions and behavior.


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    • Sheila Wilson profile imageAUTHOR

      Sheila Wilson 

      7 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Thank you Seckin, Enda, and ginger for your kind comments. I'm glad you enjoyed my hub.

    • gingerka profile image


      7 years ago from Colorado

      You have some very interesting insites. I enjoyed your hub.

    • EndaMac profile image

      Enda McLarnon 

      7 years ago from Belfast

      I think it absolutely does Sheila. A very interesting hub that I enjoyed reading

    • Seckin Esen profile image

      Seckin Esen 

      7 years ago from Ankara, Turkey

      This wonderful hub is the best answer to my question. Thank you so much that you have written all the information that I needed.


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