Do people make decisions to validate what they are or pursue something they want to be? Both? Are decisions complementing or making compensations in contrast? (It’s not both. It can’t be both. It has been said that you can tell a lot about a person by the partner they choose. Some people will choose a partner who almost seem like the same person. Others will choose partners to “set off” or “highlight” things in themselves – the men, for example, who pursue trophy wives or hyper-feminine wives as a means of setting off their success and masculinity.)
The clothing, though… always aspirational?
Is it also always aspirational plus relative? Always pursuing something and also fleeing something else?
As sentient beings, we all desire pleasure and seek to escape pain. So it’s not a matter of knowing it’s pain – and so many producers don’t even get that far – but, rather, what sort.
A flowy, subtly ruffled but shapeless cotton peasant shirt. Aspiring toward comfort, of course, but also an ease and simplicity – a nod to bohemian sensibilities; perhaps farm life. And, as such, an escape from… stress? Modern woes? Mortgages? The 9-5?
A tight-fitting lycra dress – aspiring to be sexy, of course. But also aspiring to be desired; to be seen. Escaping… aging? The monotonous? The mundane?
The feminine type who dress in nod to times past – especially the 1950’s – want the sense of security and stability offered by legacy and tradition. And they seek to avoid the pain of uncertainty, even change.
And the rebel – an archetype called out even by J.C. Flügel’s “Psychology of Clothes,” in which he said that “the rebellious type gets little satisfaction from clothes, and is never resigned to them, feels constricted, impeded, and imprisoned.” She is reluctant even in her t-shirt and jeans, and is ultimately aspiring toward freedom, of course, and escaping rules and anything else that hinders.
Rebels need freedom of movement. It must not hinder and it must come with. Rebels don’t care for feeling restricted in our movement, but we also do not care for clothing that’s too drapey, that we feel we must drag and swing around.
All of us are pursuing something and avoiding some pain in what we do. The matter, in product, is figuring out what it is for a segment of customers.