Fashion + Psychology: Why Hot Pink Heels Make The World Go ‘Round
Have you ever stopped to think about what your personal style says about your personality?
One morning a few years ago, I woke up for work and was unable to locate my reliable black leather work shoes in my messy bedroom. Having gleefully kicked them off the night before, they were now nowhere to be found. Already late for work, I grabbed the nearest pair of shoes I could find.
They just happened to be 6-inch hot pink heels.
I had two choices: either show up looking comically overdressed (and out on the prowl) or be labeled as the “mildly amusing, bohemian artistic eccentric” who went to work without any shoes at all.
After lacing up my kicks for the walk to work (seriously, who can walk 30 minutes in 6-inch heels?) I arrived at my office. Before I could even say “good morning”, my bright heels got hit with all kinds of creative remarks from my colleagues…
“Nice shoes,” said Clive from IT before he carefully made himself another cup of coffee – probably already his sixth of the day with his usual half-teaspoon of sugar (because he lived on the edge).
“What happened to wearing black?” David – my colleague who was well-known for sporting the same beige suit every day for the last twenty-five years – snobbishly droned.
As the day wore on, something really profound struck me: all of the people who commented on and condemned my ostentatious footwear projected really boring and bland personalities. When I tried to crack a joke (“My grandma asked for her shoes back, so I had to pull these puppies out”) I was met with blank stares.
So, I started to wonder: do our clothes reflect our personality? Does wearing brightly-colored shoes make us weird, or does it suggest that we are more inventive, more liberated – perhaps even more creative and more imaginative?
Moreover, does a dull taste in fashion and a tame personal style suggest that we are bland, feeble communicators who have nothing original to wear or to say? Does it hint that we like to play it safe at all times and respond to text messages with lame monosyllable responses like “k”?
I adopted the viewpoint that the more adventurous someone is with their personal style, the more open and fun they are as people. Those of us who wear “crazy” clothes are announcing to the world that we don’t feel the need to conform to perceived social norms. We have a playful personality, and we’re not going to keep it locked up inside a three-piece
cage suit. Instead, we’re going to revolt against uniforms, fashion standards, and black granny shoes.
Hot Pink Heels Make The World Go ‘Round
My theory? Hot pink heels (and other eclectic items) make the world go ’round. The world needs innovation. If Picasso had never had the guts to paint Les Demoiselles d’Avignon in 1906, the world of modern art would be very different. He could have listened to his critics who would have told him the world was not ready for such a painting; that it looked different, ugly and weird.
If Steve Jobs had never rebelled against his Apple paymasters, Apple wouldn’t be the dominant brand that it is today. But he stood up for his against-the-grain beliefs because he knew he was right. Today, innovation is driving start-ups to succeed, ad entrepreneurs are daring to be different. They think outside the box and they wear whatever the heck they want.
Without innovation, the world would stand still. There would be no more progress, no more excitement – no more newness. People who shape the world are leaders, and leaders stand out from the crowd. They know how to stir others into action, and they know how to get the best results. Most importantly, they know how to communicate.
And they’re not afraid of looking different.
Steve Jobs: Style Icon?
Long before Silicon Valley’s hoodie-wearing hipsters entered the scene, Steve Jobs broke the mold when he wore turtlenecks, jeans, and sneakers to work every day, without fail. He bucked the trend of corporate executives who always wore tailored suits that fit like gloves. He dared to be different because he knew that difference is the key to progress. It was his company that came up with the “think different” advertisement, after all.
Despite his unconventional looks, Jobs was an excellent communicator – indeed, he was a far more successful communicator than most of his peers. He thought outside the box, he dressed outside the box, and he communicated to people outside the box. He communicated his visions so powerfully that his company Apple became one of the world’s biggest brands.
What Do Your Clothes Say About You?
Dressing flamboyantly is a great way to get noticed, but it’s also a great way to start a conversation. Your wild heels can be ice-breakers and your odd socks can get people talking. Clothes can give us confidence, or they can take it away.
Enclothed cognition is a fairly new term which refers to the influence your personal style has on your own psychological processes. In other words, what you wear can influence the way you think, act, and even talk. If you wear dull, brown suits, you’re more likely to talk in monotones. Conversely, if you wear colorful, eye-catching attire like the entrepreneur Vincent Dignan, you’re far likelier to have inventive ideas and to find it easier to express them – and inspire those around you.
As psychologists are beginning to discover, clothes really do make the woman! So, what do your clothes say about you? Are you holding yourself back with your wardrobe choices?
For better communication with more interesting people who are on your level, do yourself a favor and spice up your wardrobe.
My advice? Go get some hot pink heels and wear them with pride!