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Utilizing Apparel As Communication
Clothing is a form of nonverbal communication that can also be used to show off someone’s body or personality. It’s essential to comprehend how apparel conveys messages since it has the capacity to convey feelings and ideas effectively.
Clothing can serve as a communication tool through various attributes: exposure, boundary definition, display and personalization. Exposure refers to how well an article of clothing reveals a body’s dimensions through transparent materials or tight-fitting clothes; vibrant or flashy apparel may define boundaries by contrast or color with the background.
Apparel can draw attention to certain parts of the body, such as a ring or bracelet that draws attention to one hand or wrist. Conversely, it may draw attention away from unattractive areas with scarves or pants that obscure undesirable body parts.
Clothing can also be used for other purposes, such as effect displays (e.g., costumes symbolizing a romantic relationship or team paraphernalia), souvenirs from past events (e.g., scarf or pair of earrings commemorating a trip to distant land), and gifts commemorating important milestones in someone’s life (e.g., necklace commemorating wedding).
Verbal communication can also be demonstrated through apparel that changes its appearance during an interaction, similar to lipstick or breath fresheners. Unfortunately, other items such as perfumes or hair decorations cannot provide this dynamic quality like apparel can.
A person’s appearance and personality are usually more easily discernible through a particular piece of apparel than another object. This is especially true of uniforms, which are personalized based on what each individual chooses to wear – both when they do and do not – regardless of what else they wear.
Personalization of clothing is not always possible for some items, such as stage costumes and actor’s attire; however, most other garments can be personalized through the presence of stains, dirt and marks.
Color can also be used to express a person’s mood or level of interest. It might also serve to indicate someone’s age or gender.
In addition to these characteristics, apparel can serve as a communicational sign by drawing people’s attention and acting as an illustrative or identifying symbol. This type of use is particularly relevant for women’s clothing – which could explain why so few researchers have studied its role in communication.