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An exploratory study: Relationships between trying on clothing, mood, emotion, personality and clothing preference


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Purpose This study sets out to explore the application of psychological research methods (as yet not applied) in the fashion arena. The aim of this project is to quantify, formalise and explore the causal relationships between clothing style, preference, personality factors, emotions and mood with a view to a better understanding of the psychological profile of the fashion consumer. Design/methodology/approach Using a uniformly composed sample of females, explorative quantitative research was carried out. Two sets of questionnaires were administered to the sample to examine emotion, mood and personality before trying on a set of eight garments categorized according to style; and again afterwards to examine emotion and mood while wearing each outfit. Photographs of participants were taken wearing each of the outfits. Participants then ranked the eight outfits in order of preference. SPSS analysis identified relationships and preference indicators. Findings The results indicated strong relationships between mood and significant relationships between three out of five personality factors and clothing style preference; mood was a significant predictor of preference, whilst personality was moderate. Research limitations/implications The research methodology necessitated lengthy time commitments from the participants and therefore limited the sample size, making generalization difficult. Based on the findings, the research requires further exploration of methods for practical application with a larger sample size. Practical implications Personality, emotion and mood were shown to be managed and reflected through clothing with implications for assistance in consumer clothing decisions, service training, and strategies for personal shoppers, market segmentation and design. Originality/value The methodology derived from a combination of research methods coupled with actual wearing experience, previously not studied together. This is original and demonstrates how important this combination is in order to fully appreciate the psychological profile of the fashion consumer.
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An exploratory study
Relationships between trying on clothing,
mood, emotion, personality and clothing
Wendy Moody
Textiles and Paper, School of Materials, The University of Manchester,
Manchester, UK
Peter Kinderman
Department of Population, Community and Behavioural Sciences,
The University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK, and
Pammi Sinha
Textiles and Paper, School of Materials, The University of Manchester,
Manchester, UK
Purpose – This study sets out to explore the application of psychological research methods (as yet
not applied) in the fashion arena. The aim of this project is to quantify, formalise and explore the
causal relationships between clothing style, preference, personality factors, emotions and mood with a
view to a better understanding of the psychological profile of the fashion consumer.
Design/methodology/approach Using a uniformly composed sample of females, explorative
quantitative research was carried out. Two sets of questionnaires were administered to the
sample to examine emotion, mood and personality before trying on a set of eight garments
categorized according to style; and again afterwards to examine emotion and mood while wearing
each outfit. Photographs of participants were taken wearing each of the outfits. Participants then
ranked the eight outfits in order of preference. SPSS analysis identified relationships and
preference indicators.
Findings – The results indicated strong relationships between mood and significant relationships
between three out of five personality factors and clothing style preference; mood was a significant
predictor of preference, whilst personality was moderate.
Research limitations/implications – The research methodology necessitated lengthy time
commitments from the participants and therefore limited the sample size, making generalization
difficult. Based on the findings, the research requires further exploration of methods for practical
application with a larger sample size.
Practical implications Personality, emotion and mood were shown to be managed and reflected
through clothing with implications for assistance in consumer clothing decisions, service training, and
strategies for personal shoppers, market segmentation and design.
Originality/value – The methodology derived from a combination of research methods coupled
with actual wearing experience, previously not studied together. This is original and demonstrates
how important this combination is in order to fully appreciate the psychological profile of the fashion
Keywords Individual psychology, Personality, Clothing
Paper type Research paper
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at
Emotion and
Received September 2008
Revised January 2009
Accepted January 2009
Journal of Fashion Marketing and
Vol. 14 No. 1, 2010
pp. 161-179
qEmerald Group Publishing Limited
DOI 10.1108/13612021011025483
It is widely accepted that clothing has the potential (and is commonly used) to reflect
and convey the inner self, e.g. self image, mood, political affiliations, social aspirations,
etc (Entwistle, 2000; Kaiser, 1997; Sproles, 1979); but also that consumers prefer
products that are consistent with their identity (Feinberg et al., 1992). Many studies
have investigated mood and personality but are out of date, inconclusive, and do not
consider the causal relationships. Experiments have also generally not explored the
wearing or trying on experience of clothes, the anticipation stage of the shopping
experience, when emotions and moods are heightened. Nor have they investigated
these factors in relation to preference for clothing styles. As the fashion market
continues to fragment, a deeper understanding of the consumer’s psychological profile
would help develop more targeted strategies for retailers.
Background literature
Clothing preference
Raunio (1982) identified three factors in the preference of clothing: physical features of
clothes including skin response, size and shape of the clothes, thermal comfort, and fit
(looseness and over-sized), revealing levels and visual features; the wearers’
self-appearance; and associative reasons and memories. All of these factors would
generate an emotional response.
According to Delong and Larntz (1986), preferences are composed of two
components: cognitive and affective. The affective component is the emotional and
overall positive and negative mood response to the object, which due to the very nature
of clothing, is a very intimate experience. The cognitive component or schema, are
product, aesthetic and social attributes inherent in the object which are evaluated
through previous experiences, concepts and situations of use – all components of
decision-making rules (Tselepis and de Klerk, 2004);, e.g. the garment will only be
purchased if the jacket is in a particular colour or shape and appropriate for one’s
It appears that product attributes are the important factor when deciding what to
buy (Solomon and Rabolt, 2004). Product attributes may be either extrinsic, (e.g. price,
brand name, and store image) or intrinsic, (e.g. style, colour, fabric, care, fit and
quality); but tend to be style category specific, e.g. casual wear (Chae et al., 2005;
Casselman-Dickson and Damhorst, 1993; Feather et al., 1996; Lowe and Weitz, 2003).
Eckman et al. (1990) demonstrated that only 2.7-10.9 per cent of the variance for
preference of clothing is accounted for by aesthetic evaluation.
Clothing, emotion and mood
Clothing, as an aesthetic self and body image management tool and mood altering
phenomena for healthy people is not a new idea (Cash, 1990), but clothing as mediating
the relationship between clothing satisfaction with self-perception (of sociability,
emotional stability, and dominance), is more recent (Cosbey, 2001). It is our contention
that clothing, clothing attributes or garment features can affect positive and negative
moods and individual emotions, especially during the trying on stage and during
wearing because of the multi-sensory aspects, social factors and symbolic associations
of clothing, (Moody et al., 2001; Ryan, 1953).
As early as 1949, the link between clothing, emotions and mood revealed that the
emotionally and socially maladjusted were more concerned about their clothing
choices and appearance than those who were not (Stepat, 1949, in Johnson et al., 2007).
Humphrey et al. (1971), and Worrell (1977, cited in Dubler and Gurel, 1984) showed how
clothing can be used to express positive emotions or as a coping mechanism to
overcome negative self-concepts. Although depression has been linked to a lack of
concern for personal appearance, (Beck, 1970; Fisher, 1973; Mendels, 1970), studies
have also shown that closer interest in clothing can correlate with increased
depression; but also that over even short periods after dressing, clothes can lift or
change a low mood (Dubler and Gurel, 1984; Worrell, 1977, cited in Dubler and Gurel,
Raunio (1982) found that we choose clothing daily to cope with social circumstances
and one’s feelings. She observed that expressive features of favourite clothes helped to
create a feeling of togetherness with other people, to stand out, produce an impression
and control feelings, images and impressions of others. She indicated that favourite
clothes are important for controlling one’s environment and one’s emotions and so may
have regulative purposes. Furthermore, Kwon (1991) demonstrated the relationships
between the perception of mood, self-consciousness and the selection of clothing
concluding that females were more sensitive to mood than men, which affected their
clothing choices; and that negative moods affected their choices more than positive
moods. Kwon (1991, 1994) also showed how much how one feel’s about themselves
(their emotional baseline), can affect their choices and behaviour, e.g. sociability and
work competency. These findings therefore indicate the emotional management
functions of clothing.
Studies demonstrate that positive and negative moods are independent dimensions
(Watson et al., 1988), and are the most superior level at which emotion can be defined
(Laros and Steenkamp, 2003). However they go on to say that a set of basic emotions
may have greater explanatory power than overall positive and negative affect. This
suggests that research should show the relationships between clothing, mood and
individual emotions. Watson et al. (1988) developed a scale-based questionnaire to
measure high and low positive and negative mood, called the PANAS (positive and
negative mood affect scale). This is used widely by clinicians for patients suffering
from depression and anxiety disorders and provides a reliable and simple way to
measure mood. PANAS characteristics are displayed in Table I.
For this study, we have used the PANAS as a practical tool to understand the
relationship between clothing preference, emotion and mood.
Positive mood affect Negative mood affect
High High energy, good concentration and
enjoyable engagement, e.g. social activity and
pleasant events
Distress and unpleasurable engagement that
subserve anger, contempt, disgust, guilt, fear,
and nervousness
Low Unhappiness, tiredness, distress, and less
enjoyable engagement
Calmness and serenity
Sources: Watson and Clark, 1988; Watson et al., 1988
Table I.
PANAS characteristics
Emotion and
Personality and clothing
Personality traits can be defined as self and interpersonal perception for an individual
across situations over time (Cattell, 1943; Matthews and Dreary, 1998). Personality
traits influence personal values and attitudes (Olver and Mooradian, 2003); predict
cognition, emotion and mood affect, and behavioural patterns (Pervin, 1996). Selecting
clothing and fashion is about reflecting and managing these factors and so are clearly
related to personality. For example Kwon (1994) showed that the wearing of suits for
women enhances occupational or managerial attributes more commonly associated
with men, (Kwon, 1994). Dress has been shown to express personality however
clothing choice has also been viewed as overt behaviour, thereby being influenced by
and a reflection of an individual’s personality profile (Gurel et al., 1972).
Previous research methods have included drawings, photographs personality traits
and factor models, and clothing interest questionnaires. These have generally been
conducted on UG students or clinical patients due to access to participants or time
constraints (Flu
¨gel, 1930; Evans, 1935; Hartman, 1949; Silverman, 1945 (cited in Aiken,
1963); Creekmore, 1971; Gurel et al., 1972). The research methodology for this study
was developed from a combination of these studies in addition to two more recent
studies: Paek’s (1986) study about garment styles and its effects on the perception of
self and another person’s personal traits, (using drawings of clothing); and Feinberg
et al. (1992) in their use of photographs of actual clothing (wearers own clothes), and
drawings of branded jeans.
The Five Factor Model of personality
The Five Factor Model of personality based on traits, derived from Cattell’s (1943) 35
bipolar clusters, is currently viewed as the most comprehensive model. It is strongly
supported by empirical evidence (Digman, 1990; Goldberg, 1993; McCrae and Costa,
1996; O’Connor, 2002), and is used in clinical, organisational and other applied research
(Bozionelos, 2004; Johnson et al., 2007). This model consists of five major dimensions of
personality (NEOAC):
(1) neuroticism (N);
(2) extroversion (E);
(3) openness (O);
(4) agreeableness (A); and
(5) conscientiousness (C).
Each of the five factors consists of six dimensions or facets of behaviour (Pervin, 1996).
The characteristics of each factor and implications for the individual are displayed in
Table II.
Purpose of study
Questions remain about how personality, emotion and mood impact on clothing
preference and choices generally. There are no studies that have investigated together
the relationships between the Five Factor Model, clothing preference for different
styles, emotion and mood. From the literature review it was observed that research
methods had employed the use of UG students or clinical patients due to access and
time constraints upon the participants. In most cases the clothing used already
Facet Adjective check-list items
Neuroticism facets (N)
N1: Anxiety Anxious, fearful, worrying, tense, nervous, confident, optimistic
N2: Angry Hostility Anxious, irritable, impatient, excitable, moody, gentle, tense
N3: Depression Worrying, contented, confident, self-confident, pessimistic, moody, anxious
N4: Self-consciousness Shy, self-confident, timid, confident, defensive, inhibited, anxious
N5: Impulsiveness Moody, irritable, sarcastic, self-centred, loud, hasty, excitable
N6: Vulnerability Clear thinking, self-confident, confident, anxious, efficient, alert, careless
Extroversion facets (E)
E1: Warmth Friendly, warm, sociable, cheerful, aloof, affectionate, outgoing
E2: Gregariousness Sociable, outgoing, pleasure-seeking, aloof, talkative, spontaneous,
E3: Assertiveness Aggressive, shy, assertive, self-confident, forceful, enthusiastic, confident
E4: Activity Energetic, hurried, quick, determined, enthusiastic, aggressive, active
E5: Excitement-seeking Pleasure-seeking, daring, adventurous, charming, handsome, spunky,
E6: Positive emotions Enthusiastic, humorous, praising, spontaneous, pleasure-seeking,
optimistic, jolly
Openness facets (O)
O1: Fantasy Dreamy, imaginative, humorous, mischievous, idealistic, artistic,
O2: Aesthetics Imaginative, artistic, original, enthusiastic, inventive, idealistic, versatile
O3: Feelings Excitable, spontaneous, insightful, imaginative, affectionate, talkative,
O4: Actions Interests wide, imaginative, adventurous, optimistic, mild, talkative,
O5: Ideas Idealistic, interests wide, inventive, curious, original, imaginative,
O5: Values Conservative, unconventional, cautious, flirtatious
Agreeableness facets (A)
A1: Trust Forgiving, trusting, suspicious, wary, pessimistic, peaceable, hard-hearted
A2: Straightforwardness Complicated, demanding, clever, flirtatious, charming, shrewd, autocratic
A3: Altruism Warm, soft-hearted, gentle, generous, kind, tolerant, selfish
A4: Compliance Stubborn, demanding, headstrong, impatient, intolerant, outspoken, hard-
A5: Modesty Show-off, clever, assertive, argumentative, self-confident, aggressive,
A6: Tender-mindedness Friendly, warm, sympathetic, soft-hearted, gentle, unstable, kind
Conscientiousness facets (C)
C1: Competence Efficient, self-confident, thorough, resourceful, confident, confused,
C2: Order Organized, thorough, efficient, precise, methodical, absent-minded, careless
C3: Dutifulness Defensive, distractible, careless, lazy, thorough, absent-minded, fault-
C4: Achievement striving Thorough, ambitious, industrious, enterprising, determined, confident,
C5: Self-discipline Organized, lazy, efficient, absent-minded, energetic, thorough, industrious
C6: Deliberation Hasty, impulsive, careless, impatient, immature, thorough, moody
Source: Costa and McCrae (1985)
Table II.
Five-factor model facets
Emotion and
belonged to the participants. A better understanding of how the fashion consumer uses
clothing to reflect and manage personality, emotion and mood when making decisions
about what to buy, may help us identify causal relationships between these factors.
Focus in our study on one stage within the buying experience (“trying on”) was
important as this is the anticipation stage of the decision-making process where
emotions would be more genuine. The buying experience was mimicked by
categorising the clothing into formal, casual and evening wear as displayed in stores
using unfamiliar clothing styles. Moreover, unfamiliar compared with familiar/one’s
own clothing (as used in most studies discussed), would produce heightened emotions
which would help clarify the relationship between clothing preference and the
management and predictive value of emotion and mood in a consumer’s decision
making process. The objectives of the study were to identify:
.how these factors were managed or reflected/expressed; and
.their significance for predicting clothing preference.
This would enable quantification of the emotional response and self perceptions which
could prove useful for predicting choice in a retail environment, with implications for
the fashion retail organisation. The following hypotheses were proposed:
H1. Positive and negative mood whilst wearing clothing, controlled for at
baseline, will predict clothing preference.
H2. Personaltiy will moderately predict clothing preference.
H3. There will be predictive relationships with personality and positive and
negative mood whilst wearing clothing, controlled for at baseline.
The sample
The sample consisted of 27 female undergraduate students, at Liverpool John Moores
University. Consent was given in accordance with ethics guidelines. It was decided to
keep the sample controlled for as many factors as possible to ensure that examination
of mood, personality and emotional factors was not complicated by the need to
consider other factors. The sample was therefore all women, similar age and
educational background, and dress size 12 in order to fit the clothing samples (which
were restricted to a size 12). During a 20-minute briefing session prior to the study
sizing information was recorded to ensure the stipulation of size 12 was maintained.
This study was a part of a three year doctoral study and involved four sets of
research methods: wearer trial and psychological questionnaires, a Functional
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (FMRI) self-perception project using clinical scanning
equipment and technology, a ten-day wearing diary project and a design and
personality project. In this paper the results of the wearer trials and psychological
questionnaires are discussed. Some of the photographs and participants from this
experiment were also used in the FMRI project and ten-day wearing diary project.
Participants were recruited through e-mails and posters, and experiments were
conducted over a six-month period. Significant factors that determined the sample size
.some participants took part in all three of the experiments – considerable time
.equipment hire, expenses and availability of equipment;
.dress size 12 restrictions; and
.material preparation for individual participants.
Participants completed two questionnaires. The Positive and Negative Mood Affect
Scale (PANAS) short version, (Watson et al., 1988), is a 20-item self-completion scale.
The PANAS describes different feelings and emotions related to positive affect (PA)
(ten words), and negative affect (NA) – (ten words). The NEO FFI (Costa and McCrae,
1985), short version, was designed to measure the five factors of personality in a
test-booklet format containing 60 questions (neuroticism, extroversion, openness,
agreeableness, and conscientiousness). Scores can range from very high to medium, to
very low on each of the five factors.
A cross-section of eight different outfits was selected and categorised into various
styles, ranging from casual, formal or eveningwear (with differences in fit, colour,
revealing factors, brand and fabric types), (see Figure 1). They represented possible
relationships with personality, e.g. formal and (tailored, uniformed, disciplined and
utilitarian values associated with formal clothes); casual, (unrestricted, undisciplined
and relaxed values associated with casual wear); evening wear, (social enhancement,
revealing, diverse and expressive values associated with evening wear). Brand labels
were kept in place as it was anticipated that brand factors would have an impact on
their response. The focus of this study was clothing and so hair was tied back and two
neutral shoe types were used (flat and heeled shoes), worn as appropriate.
An experiment room was provided with a changing room area, full-length mirror and
table. The eight unfamiliar outfits were presented on a rail in an environment
Figure 1.
Mood and preference
Emotion and
mimicking a shopping experience. The interviewer was present to manage the study,
and provide instructions.
The study took approximately one hour and 30 minutes per participant.
Participants were asked to fill in a NEO FFI personality questionnaire and then
asked to complete a PANAS sheet of how they felt in terms of their mood, “generally
most of the time”. As a general “baseline”, this indicated their positive and negative
mood prior to trying on the outfits. Participants were given the outfits in random order
to try on. Having seen themselves in the mirror and while wearing each outfit,
participants were asked to complete the PANAS again. We refer to this response as
“dynamic mood”, changed from the baseline already taken. A photograph was taken of
each participant wearing each outfit. At the end of the experiment they were then
asked to provide a rank order of preference for the eight outfits.
The results below are illustrated using the abbreviations for variables, as detailed in
Table III.
Emotional profiles
We created a positive and negative emotion profile for each outfit, clarifying key
emotions and the variable degrees of emotion experienced through wearing. This
shows the power of clothing in modifying emotional states. The positive and negative
profiles are shown in Figure 2.
Mood at baseline and dynamic mood
The mean value of PM at baseline was 36.04, (SD 3.95). The mean value of NM at B was
16.50, (SD 4.76). The minimum score possible is ten and the maximum is 50. These
results showed that the group was “healthy”, and not depressed. D PM scores (mood
whilst wearing an outfit), for each participant per outfit ranged from a mean value of
21.52 to 28.33. D NM scores ranged from a mean value of 13.15 to 16.74. These data are
illustrated in Figure 3.
Mood at baseline and dynamic mood correlations
In order to examine in more detail the relationship between P and N mood scores at B;
and D P/N M recorded when wearing each outfit, Pearson correlation coefficients were
calculated for PM at B and D PM. Similar analyses were conducted for NM. Four out of
D Dynamic
NM Negative mood
PM Positive mood
B Baseline
P Preference
N Neuroticism
E Extroversion
O Openness
A Agreeableness
C Conscientiousness
Table III.
Variable abbreviations
the eight outfits showed significant positive correlations, as shown in Table IV. All
other correlations were non-significant.
Mood and preference partial correlations
To control for mood at B, partial correlation coefficients were calculated examining the
relationship between D PM while wearing an outfit and P for that outfit, while
controlling for PM at B. Similar analyses were conducted for NM. As shown in Table V,
three of the eight outfits (1, 5 and 6), showed a positive correlation between PM and P,
and two of the eight outfits (3 and 7) showed a negative correlation between NM
and P. All other correlations were non-significant.
Personality and preference correlations
Pearson correlation coefficients were then calculated for the five personality factors
(NEOAC) and P ratings. P ratings for just three out of the eight outfits showed a
significant correlation with the five personality factors, as shown in Table VI. All other
correlations were non-significant.
Figure 2.
Personality and mood
Emotion and
Figure 3.
The eight outfits: outfit
description, the variable
clothing category
appropriateness levels
through wearing, and
clothing category styling
Outfit no. Variables Correlation
2 D NM & PM @ B r¼0.42, p,0.05
DPM&NM@B r¼0.51, p,0.05
4 D NM & PM @ B r¼0.42, p,0.05
DPM&NM@B r¼0.45, p,0.05
5 D NM & NM @ B r¼0.53, p,0.01
8 D PM & PM @ B r¼0.54, p,0.01
Table IV.
Significant bivariate
correlations for dynamic
mood and mood at
Outfit no. Variables Correlation
2A&Pr¼20.48, p,0.05
6A&Pr¼0.39, p,0.05
5N&Pr¼20.57, p,0.01
Table VI.
Significant correlations
for personality and
Outfit no. Variables Correlation
1PM&Pr¼0.49, p,0.05
5PM&Pr¼0.49, p,0.05
6PM&Pr¼0.44, p,0.05
3NM&Pr¼20.47, p,0.05
7NM&Pr¼20.67, p,0.05
Table V.
Significant partial
correlations for mood and
Personality and mood at baseline correlations
In order to examine the relationship between personality and P and mood scores at B,
Pearson correlation coefficients were calculated. As shown in Table VII, out of the five
personality factors, two significant relationships were found. All other correlations
were non-significant.
Personality and dynamic mood partial correlations
To control for mood, partial correlations were calculated between the five personality
factors and D PM recorded when wearing each outfit, controlled for using PM scores at
B. Similar analyses were conducted for NM. As shown in Table VIII, three out of the
eight outfits showed a positive correlation between personality and PM, and two a
positive correlation between personality and NM. All other correlations were
Emotional profiles
The results and the emotional profiles in Figure 2 and 3 demonstrate how clothing can
be used to regulate and manipulate emotion and mood, and indicate relationships with
Positive emotions
All eight outfits elicited the following strongest emotions: interested, excited, strong,
alert. Outfits 5 and 6, (the 4th and 3rd most preferred), had a significant affect across all
positive emotions. Outfit 6, made participants feel the most inspired, concurring with
Hall (1905, in Ryan, 1953, p. 4), who found that being well dressed led to greater
sociability, power and worth. Outfits 1 and 2 (5th and 6th preference ratings) were both
casual, and made them feel more active than the other outfits. This is consistent with
Hall (1905, in Ryan, 1953), who also found that casual dress led to feelings of freedom
and an animal spirit. Proud was the least felt positive emotion except for outfit 5 and 6
where the value was higher.
Outfit no. Variables Correlation
1A&NMr¼0.51, p,0.05
2N&PMr¼0.48, p,0.05
3A&PMr¼0.55, p,0.01
4A&NMr¼0.52, p,0.05
5C&PMr¼0.52, p,0.05
Table VIII.
Significant partial
correlations for
personality and dynamic
Variables Correlation
E & PM @B r¼0.600, p,0.01
N&NM@B r¼0.611, p,0.01
Table VII.
Significant correlations
for personality and mood
at baseline
Emotion and
Negative emotions
Emotions were moderate overall; guilty was the least felt negative emotion. Outfits 3, 4
and 7, (all with varying levels of revealing, fit and style), elicited the strongest emotions
of jitteriness and nervousness. Interestingly outfit 7 was the 2nd most preferred outfit
indicating that factors other than emotions play a part in preference. Additionally,
ashamed was another key emotion for outfit 4 and outfit 8 (the least preferred), and
generated stronger feeling of distress. These results may have been due to the unusual
design of the outfits or the styling of wearing garments together (outfit 8).
The results also indicate that some of the clothes had a strong affect on both positive
and negative mood, as shown in Figure 4.
For example participants’ moods were reflected whilst wearing outfits 5 and 8. In
contrast, outfits 2 and 4 improved the mood for those with high negative mood baseline
scores, but reduced the mood for those with high positive mood baseline scores,
thereby managing mood. These results are consistent with Beck (1970), Cosbey (2001),
Dubler and Gurel (1984), Fisher (1973), Humphrey et al. (1971), Mendels (1970), Raunio
(1982), and Worrell (1977, cited in Dubler and Gurel, 1984).
With reference to the hypothesis postulated at the beginning of the study, we have
concluded the following:
H1. Dynamic positive and negative mood will predict clothing preference.
The results showed that once baseline positive and negative mood ratings are
controlled for, the higher the PM when wearing each outfit, the higher the P rating for
the outfit worn (and vice versa, e.g. low PM and low P). This was evident for three out
of the eight outfits (high PM and high P ratings), and again for two other outfits for NM
(high NM and low P ratings). The remaining correlations for PM and NM were
relatively high but not as significant. The results for PM also showed that all the
relationships except for one outfit, even though not all significant, were in fact positive,
whereas the results for NM, all relationships were negative. Interestingly, only P for
Outfit 4 and PM showed a negative correlation, indicating that P increased as PM
decreased. This highlights the subverted effect of the unusual outfit in the conflicting
response to the garment colour, features, fit, style, design or fabric. These findings
Figure 4.
Profile for negative and
positive emotions
indicate that both PM and NM have measurable, predictive and important
relationships with preference.
The results also showed that mood is a very strong predictor for P, with PM being to
some extent more predictive. This is highly significant when trying to explain clothing
preference considering the changes in self-perception that clothes can generate:
H2. Personality (NEOAC) will moderately predict clothing preference.
Some relationships between the NEOAC personality factors and preference were
found, but for only three of the eight outfits indicating that personality had a low to
moderate predictive relationship with P for the clothes used in this study. Figure 5
illustrates the relationships between garment styles 2, 5 and 6 and A and N scores.
A scores: Low
.A scores: P for outfit 2 (casual style) is to some extent consistent with Hall (1905,
in Ryan, 1953), who found that casual clothes enhanced a sense of freedom and
animal spirit; and Gurel et al. (1972), who observed relationships with the Hippy
reference group and low conforming attitudes.
.High A scores: P for outfit 6 (evening style), is to some extent consistent with Aiken
(1963) who found that decoration in dress correlated with uncomplicated and
socially conscientious people; and Paek (1986), who observed relationships with
the daring garment style and social traits; and finally, Hall (1905, in Ryan, 1953),
who found that being well dressed led to greater sociability, power and worth.
N scores: Low
.Low N scores (positive facets): P for outfit 5 (formal style), is consistent with
Gurel et al. (1972) who showed a lack of colour, design and a more uniform
apparel of the Greaser reference group (and so less emotional affect within the
clothing), indicated relationships with conventional and conformist attitudes. It
is also worth remembering that, the wearing of suits for women has shown to
enhance occupational or managerial attributes more commonly associated with
men, (Kwon, 1994). In this case reducing emotional affects commonly associated
with the N factor.
Figure 5.
Mean results: mood at
baseline scores, dynamic
mood scores per outfit,
and outfit preferences
(outfits shown in order of
Emotion and
In all cases these factors are involved in aspects of socio-emotional control that can be
observed in low N. This is compared with those with high N scores who may prefer
less fitted or tailored and more stimulating clothes, to manage or avoid negative facets
and so susceptibility to experiencing NM. From our results we also surmise that those
with high A scores may prefer less casual styles, and those with high A scores may
prefer more daring or evening wear styles.
The A personality factor was highlighted more often than the others, and shows
that friendly or unfriendly social characteristics were important for this sample group.
With the relationships found, results showed how much personality is reflected whilst
investigating preference. No relationships were found with the E, C or O factors. This
may be due to the clothes presented not being familiar or preferred by the participants’
in terms of age and lifestyle, or that they do not wish or need to reflect their O, C or E
levels through dress.
H3. There will be predictive relationships between personality and mood.
Consistent with Costa and McCrae (1991), significant relationships were found between
high N scores and NM; and High E scores and high PM. Results also showed
relationships, although not strong, between the NEOAC personality factors and D PM
AND NM, controlled for at B for five out of the eight outfits. In all cases, the clothes
may have increased or improved these facets, or reflected and sustained them for the
wearer, thereby improving mood:
.Outfit 2 (casual style): may have helped to sustain high N levels. Due to high PM
this outfit may have helped combat NM, or maintained emotional stability
related to the high N facets.
.Outfit 3 (evening/casual style): may have helped to reflect, sustain and improve
personality facets for A, and so also PM.
.Outfit 5 (formal style): may have helped to reflect, sustain or improve C
personality facets, and so also PM.
Results indicate that for those with low A and N, outfit 2 would not be a good choice in
enhancing mood. Similarly for those with low C, outfit 5 would not be a good choice.
.Outfits 1 and 4: those with high A scores experienced increased NM during
wearing. For both outfits the results show that they would not be good choices
for those with high A but good for low A.
Three out of the five personality factors showed a significant relationship, implying
that personality facets can be managed and are reflected to some degree. Features such
as colour, fit and fabric weight and texture, revealing factors within each style are
likely to indicate why. Correlating personality and mood helps us to understand how
they are reflected and managed, especially if we consider the relationships between N
and NM. From another perspective, D mood through wearing clothing can be managed
because of individual personality factors. The strongest personality factor in relation to
mood appears to have been A. Interestingly all of the outfits (except outfit 8) showed a
negative correlation with E and PM even though they were not significant. C, which
has disciplinary functions could be useful for enhancing career objectives and could
have a role in controlling NM for some people. The A factor has obvious social
enhancement value.
The results indicate that personality had a low to moderate predictive relationship
with PM AND NM while wearing the outfits used in this study.
Conclusions, implications and further research
The sample used was small in number and as such cannot be assumed to be
representative of the population, for which a much larger research study would be
necessary. However, from this small sample, the findings imply that when trying on
unfamiliar clothing (e.g. whilst shopping), clothing is used as an appearance and mood
management tool by reflecting or managing positive or negative mood. The results
showed the varying levels of emotion an outfit can generate and the power of clothing
on individual emotions. Consistent with Feinberg et al. (1992), the results also showed
to some degree how much personality is reflected, expressed or managed in clothing
choice. The personality trait or mood the wearer wishes to communicate, (i.e. reflect or
manage), will affect their behaviour, whether it is consistent with the wearer’s
personality or experimenting with a desired/ideal personality trait. While more
research is needed to investigate the remaining variance for preference and build on the
current methodology used here, the findings quantified and formalised emotional
responses to clothing and the relationships with personality factors.
These results have implications on practical applications of a larger scale study in
retail service training and provision, strategies for personal shoppers and market
segmentation, assistance in consumer clothing decisions, and the potential of
predicting choice in a multi-channel retail environment. Through additional
development, there is also the potential of developing further understanding
between the relationships of design and psychological profiling.
Retail service training and provision
This research is significant in terms of the imperative to understand the need to
maintain or induce a positive mood and reduce negative mood whilst making buying
decisions. In her study on service quality and emotions, Wong (2004) found that
emotional satisfaction is positively associated with customer loyalty and relationship
quality. In particular, a customer’s enjoyment of the shopping experience served as a
predictor for loyalty, and happiness as a predictor for relationship quality. Her
recommendations were for staff training to develop emotional intelligence as a key
component in customer-contact training, to be observant of customer’s evoked
emotions and to focus on store environment, as well as merchandise on shop floor. This
would be especially useful for retailers offering personal shoppers.
Market segmentation and design
The findings indicate that quantifying emotional response and self perceptions could
prove useful for predicting choice in a retail environment. A study by Christensen and
Olson (2002) created a collective map for groups of customers to gain greater insight
into consumer’s product knowledge structures and consumer’s perceived personal
relevance of a product, service or brand. Also, Forney et al. (2005) found that major
factors to consider about predicting purchase behaviour were related to the inner self:
the personal shopping experience, personal fashion sensitivity and needs of personal
Emotion and
dress. An understanding of the relationship between the design of (and product
attributes thereof), consumer needs and fashion functions to the inner self may help in
developing personal shopper, market segmentation and brand extension strategies for
a retailers target market.
Psychological management
More investigation is needed looking at the full variance for preference. According to
Eckman et al. (1990) aesthetic evaluation has shown to account for just 2.7-10.9 per cent
of preference. Further research needs to investigate how all of the five factors of
personality and the individual traits within each of these factors, with mood, interact or
influence each other on a sensory and behavioural level with the styling and wearing of
clothing. Furthermore, as to whether all these factors are related to the identity of the
wearer. These factors are important during decision making when buying or choice of
daily attire, which has implications for product development as product attributes will
be used by the consumer to make these decisions (Zhang et al., 2002).
Previous researchers have indicated the importance of understanding the meaning
of products to consumers in order to understand their behaviour (Feinberg et al., 1992).
Leigh and Gabel (1995), in discussions about product symbolism suggested that when
the consumer lacks knowledge about how to perform a required role, the more
complete and consistent set of product symbols they have for that role, the higher the
probability of successful role performance. This has obvious relationships in
enhancing and managing personality traits and will help us to continue to understand
the impact clothing has on social interaction and effective impression management
strategies (Paek, 1986). In terms of self and other person perceptions it may then be
valuable to explore particular sensory variables or product attributes categorised into
different seasons, clothing categories, clothing styles, body and appearance
perceptions, product range; that may help predict reflection or management of
individual emotions, mood and personality. Further research should also explore
different demographics and brands and their target consumers.
The use of the psychological questionnaires before, during and after the wearing of
unfamiliar clothes may be extended to be used by retailers as part of their customer
relationship programmes to help them ensure products are targeted uniquely to each
customer. A customer management software program may, indeed, be envisaged for
independent retailers as part of developing and building upon their competitive
As retail strategies begin to further explore the future of retail, personalisation and
personal shopper strategies, and their target consumers, it is anticipated that consumer
profiling will prove to be of increasing value to retailers in a changing and
considerably competitive industry.
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About the authors
Wendy Moody is a Lecturer in Fashion Buyer/Wearer Behaviour at the University of
Manchester, Programme Director of the MEnt Textiles and Fashion Programme. Her areas of
research interests include fusing fashion and textile design, fashion visualisation and art with
consumer behaviour, psychology and FMRI. Wendy Moody is the corresponding author and can
be contacted at:
Peter Kinderman’s research interests are in the psychopathology of psychosis, psychological
formulations and the interface between psychological theory and public policy. His work is
collaborative with other disciplines (principally psychiatry) and uses a variety of approaches. He
has been instrumental in developing theoretical models of paranoid thought and mania. There
are also links between his interests in research into psychopathology and therapy and his
interests in mental health legislation.
Pammi Sinha is the Programme Director of the BSc Hons Fashion and Textiles Retailing
Programme at the University of Manchester. Her areas of research interests are in creativity and
business in fashion and she is concerned with issues such as the design process, the designer,
design teams and decision making in new product development.
Emotion and
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... Self-concept and fashion are known to be intertwined. Individuals' self-concepts have been found to be central to fashion consumption, with clothing practice functioning as a mechanism for selfexpression and self-perception (Entwistle, 2000;Masuch & Hefferon, 2012;Moody et al., 2010;Nessim & Bardey, 2022). Materialistic possession plays a key role in self-identity construction and can be viewed as an extension of the self (Belk, 1988). ...
... Emotions and fashion are also known to be intertwined (Masuch & Hefferon, 2014;Moody et al., 2010;Smith & Yates, 2018), particularly in that purchasing can lead to a specific pattern of emotions (based on dimensions of hostility, surprise and interest; Westbrook & Oliver, 1991). More recently, research has examined purchase-related emotions in the context of counterfeit purchasing, with several studies indicating feelings of guilt, anger and shame after having purchased counterfeit (Elsantil & Hamza, 2019;Kapferer & Valette-Florence, 2022;Liao et al., 2010;Sharma & Chan, 2016;Viot et al., 2014). ...
... For all participants, therefore, the counterfeits were experienced as expressive, although only the participants who had deliberated over their purchases perceived the purchases as reflective of their true selves. This outcome aligns with previous studies which have indicated that clothing practices represent self-expression mechanisms and convey one's inner self and self-perception(Entwistle, 2000; Masuch & Hefferon, 2012;Moody et al., 2010;Nessim & Bardey, 2022). Our findings contrib-ute to this literature by exploring the impact of purchasing counterfeit on participants' self-perception. ...
The study identified contrasting experiences of purchasing and owning luxury fashion counterfeit items: while some participants carefully considered and were ultimately satisfied with their counterfeit purchase, others impulsively purchased and later reappraised and regretted their decision. The findings underlined the importance of consumer perceptions of quality to luxury and luxury counterfeit fashion products. They showed how education about the unethical features of the counterfeit industry could change consumer behavior.
... Moreover, clothing also figures out character's personality (Moody, Wendy, Sinha, and Pammi, 2010). In Fig. 3, the front side of the picture represents the angelic side of the candidate's personality, while the shadow depicts the opposite, as implied in the picture of a bull. ...
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A growing body of consumer research studies emotions evoked by marketing stimuli, products and brands. Yet, there has been a wide divergence in the content and structure of emotions used in these studies. In this paper, we will show that the seemingly diverging research streams can be integrated in a hierarchical consumer emotions model. The superordinate level consists of the frequently encountered general dimensions positive and negative affect. The subordinate level consists of specific emotions, based on Richins' (Richins, Marsha L. Measuring Emotions in the Consumption Experience. J. Consum. Res. 24 (2) (1997) 127–146) Consumption Emotion Set (CES), and as an intermediate level, we propose four negative and four positive basic emotions. We successfully conducted a preliminary test of this second-order model, and compare the superordinate and basic level emotion means for different types of food. The results suggest that basic emotions provide more information about the feelings of the consumer over and above positive and negative affect. D 2004 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
This personal historical article traces the development of the Big-Five factor structure, whose growing acceptance by personality researchers has profoundly influenced the scientific study of individual differences. The roots of this taxonomy lie in the lexical hypothesis and the insights of Sir Francis Galton, the prescience of L. L. Thurstone, the legacy of Raymond B. Cattell, and the seminal analyses of Tupes and Christal. Paradoxically, the present popularity of this model owes much to its many critics, each of whom tried to replace it, but failed. In reaction, there have been a number of attempts to assimilate other models into the five-factor structure. Lately, some practical implications of the emerging consensus can be seen in such contexts as personnel selection and classification.
OPSOMMING Met in agneming van die probleme wat die SuidAfrikaanse kledingindustrie en veral kleinhandelaars tans in die oog staar, is dit duidelik dat, ten einde te kan oorleef, kleinhandelaars gefokus moet kompeteer met ander wat saam met hulle in die mark werk. Vir meeste kleinhandelaars is dit ‘n prioriteit om verbruikerstevredenheid te bewerkstellig. ‘n Beter begrip van die verbruiker se probleme, behoeftes en verwagtinge, in hierdie geval die vroeeadolessent s’n met betrekking tot die pas van haar klere, kan die kleinhandelaar in staat stel om die verbruiker beter te bevredig. Die doel van die studie is die ontwikkeling van ‘n konseptuele raamwerk wat in navorsing na die vroee-adolessent se verwagtinge met betrekking tot die pas van haar klere, gebruik kan word. Vanuit die literatuur en vorige navorsing het dit duidelik geword dat fisieke, psigososiale en kognitiewe ontwikkeling tydens vroeeadolessensie ‘n rol mag speel in die verbruiker se verwagtinge en die probleme wat sy met die pas van haar klere mag ondervind. Verder dat haar begrip van die pas van klere asook haar spesifieke kognitiewe redenasie ‘n invloed mag he op haar verwagtinge met betrekking tot die pas van haar klere asook die wyse waarop sy pas as deel van die kwaliteit van klere evalueer. Dit was verder duidelik dat dit vir haar moontlik nie net gaan om die funksionele dimensies van pas as deel van die kwaliteit van klere nie, maar veral ook om die estetiese dimensie van pas en wel dat die klere sensories mooi moet pas, haar emosioneel moet bevredig en vir haar bepaalde kognitiewe betekenis moet he. Genoemde konsepte behoort deeglik in gedagte gehou te word in navorsing omtrent die vroeeadolessente dogter se verwagtinge met betrekking tot die pas van haar klere.
Designing basketball uniforms for female athletes is a challenge for soft goods manufacturers. Data were collected from 503 female collegiate basketball players concerning body cathexis, body form, garment fit satisfaction, uniform design preferences and demographic characteristics. Of the three areas of the body (upper, lower and total), players indicated they were most dissatisfied with parts of the lower body. Being in uniform did improve their perception of their bodies. Satisfaction with garment fit parallels satisfactionldissatisfaction with the body; the lower body area creates the greatest garment fit problems. The type of body form had a significant effect on both uniform fit satisfaction and uniform body cathexis. Fit satisfaction is the highest with the ectomorph body form. The differences were inverse: as the body increased in size, the lower the degree of satisfaction with garment fit and the body. Uniform preferences for the jersey were a deep V-neckline, sleeveless, and hip length with straight hemline and side vents. For the shorts, a baggy style with side v-vents at the hem, and a 1 1/2 or 2 inch wide, elastic drawstring waistband were selected. Implications for soft goods manufacturers are discussed.
To identify criteria considered by consumers while making garment purchase decisions, free response interviews of 80 female customers were conducted at point of purchase in two specialty apparel stores. Subjects described the criteria they used to evaluate a garment they had tried on. The most important criteria for apparel assessment were related to aesthetics. Comparison of responses of customers who purchased and customers who did not purchase their garments revealed that different criteria had primary effects in two stages of the purchase process. During the Interest phase, color/pattern, styling, and fabric were most critical in influencing selection of garments from the display racks. Fit, styling, and appearance on the body were more important in determining rejection or adoption of the garments during the Trial phase in the dressing rooms. The research begins to fulfill a need for store intercept data collection, study of free responses minimally shaped by the researcher, and development of theoretical models of the apparel purchase process.
Differences in the use of and interest in sport clothing of 56 female bicyclists at two levels of involvement in bicycling were examined. Two data collection methods-qualitative open-ended interviews and quantitative questionnaires-were employed for triangulation of measures. Similarities were found between the two groups in their interest in attracting attention, satisfaction with appearance, modesty, and choice of role appropriate dress. Cyclists differed in concern with attractiveness, dressing correctly, and conforming with dress. Parallels in strength and direction of findings between the qualitative and quantitative results indicated validity of the findings. Discrepancies in findings related to Conformity illustrated the need for caution when using only one type of measure.