I've never really given too much thought to how a certain outfit makes me feel physically vs. psychologically until recently when one of my teachers introduced me to this concept in her module. I've become genuinely fascinated with the multi-faceted effect that clothing has on our body and mind at the same time, which made me decide to investigate how fashion shapes our identity in today's social and digital environment for my final research project next year.
So I've decided to already start this research with my first experiment on how comfort affects my identity. There are two parts in this experiment which showcase two completely opposite looks in terms of their comfort level.
This first part focuses on the look that I like to label as "psychologically comfortable" (and not physically). This was definitely one of my most daring looks to date, given its extensive list of physically uncomfortable features. So let's start counting: push-up bra, hair extensions, over-the-knee & high heel boots, tight waist belt, a super short dress plus a tight blazer. I feel uncomfortable only listing them here...
There is no doubt this outfit comes second to none in my top of most physically uncomfortable outfits ever worn. Here's what went behind-the-scenes:
- My extensions ( although from natural hair) were quite heavy, making my scalp hurt; I also had to be careful with my moves so my short hair wouldn't be visible underneath.
- The push-up bra is uncomfortable. This needs no more explaining.
- The dress was short and I was wearing no tights. The temperature outside didn't really care about that. My legs did though..
- The boots kept falling off my knees and I had to adjust them constantly. Walking in heels wasn't a great x-factor either.
- I like pulling up the sleeves to my jackets/blazers. This particular one wouldn't really let me do that as it was too tight.
Despite all these factors though, there was an interesting discovery involved in my verdict. I actually felt quite confident wearing this look and the photos showcase that. It was that exact feeling of "psychological comfort" that stroke me as I was walking around looking like this. I felt more feminine than usual as I was fitting into the rather misogynistic definition of the term "womanly", which involves long hair, curves and showing a flash of skin of course. I became a different person by playing with my look and it was fun (although physically uncomfortable).
Would I wear this again? Probably not during day-time. I believe the notion of "psychological comfort" (and a total exclusion of the physical one) suits best those moments when we truly want to portray the most attractive version of ourselves, when we try to play a role, an alter-ego. Personally I like saving this for party situations and night-time events.
By the end of the shoot, I started feeling quite amused with the whole situation. The feeling of psychological comfort was slowly fading, being replaced with fatigue and an overwhelming flow of questions in my head. Who am I lying ? Although this look brought me quite a lot of stares on the street, I would much rather walk even more fiercely, knowing I am wearing my real hair and well..my real breasteses (as Jay Z would put it).
So ladies, my final words are: Stay true to who you are but don't be afraid to experiment with fashion from time to time!
Stay tuned for the 2nd part of this experiment, where I will be showing a completely different look!
I was wearing:
Thank you Liana Mitrea for the photos!