Back to the previous page

Slate.com: "Where does your outfit fall on this equation of style?"


June 16 2015
Fashion

In her article for Slate.com, Alina Simone shows us how that certain je ne sais quoi, which makes an outfit fashionable, can be decrypted by science.

In fact, Simone refers to a study by a team of researchers led by psychologist Kurt Gray, which analyzes under which circumstances an outfit is considered to be fashionable, and what it consequently says about the way we should dress.

In order to answer the ‘What to wear?’ question that people ask themselves everyday, Gray and his team examined the link between color coordination and fashionableness, and concluded that "maximum fashionableness is attained when outfits are neither too coordinated nor too different". Or to put it in Alina Simone’s words, "don’t be too matchy-matchy". According to Gray, fashionable outfits are therefore those that are moderately matched, not those that are ultra-matched or clashing. This balance of extremes supports a broader hypothesis regarding aesthetic preferences–the so Goldilocks principle–that seeks to balance simplicity and complexity.

Simone is surprised to see that Gray’s study is the first one of its kind. "Studies have shown that the choices we make at the threshold of our closets can determine our job chances, whether we make a positive first impression, and how we perceive ourselves," she added, and questioned why science has shunned questions of style for so long, mentioning that it might be due to "the age-old stigma fashion carries of being a superficial pursuit".

"Future studies will seek to incorporate more complicated fashion stimuli from everyday life and to discern whether the Goldilocks principle, as it pertains to fashion, is universal across cultures and over time. Strohminger wonders whether our moderate color-matching preferences aren’t even specific to fashion at all, but are instead based on fundamentals of visual cognition that could just as easily apply to designing a room or painting a picture," concluded Simone.

Read Aline Simone’s full article on Slate.com.

Picture courtesy of Slate.com / Digital Vision / Thinkstock.