The body as an instrument of communication does not just mean that the mouth speaks, the hands mold or the feet move. We communicate even further on a non-verbal level by what we choose to cover ourselves with. For centuries, people have used the language of dress to express personal things such as ethnicity, race, class, gender but also larger social and political movements.
Today, the issue of self-identification has become even more urgent. Everything we put on ourselves says something about us. It speaks about our social status, about our preferences, values, outlook, and also speaks about our attitude to the social context in which we are. I call it dress communication.
Communication begins long before we start talking. It takes less than a second for people to make the first conclusions about the person next to them.
Our appearance is an extremely effective means of non-verbal communication. Just as we choose words and intonations to convey different thoughts, we should choose clothes, shoes, hairstyles and accessories. It's called style.
Every item of clothing, style, texture, fabric, color can speak. If we are aware of this, we can make our appearance work for us. Like any kind of communication, dress communication can have different goals - to pay attention or to stay invisible, to emphasize the seriousness of intentions or to add lightness to the image, to show that we are conservative or vice versa progressive.
Not the type of figure determines what to wear. This is determined by the message we want to convey to the world. Fashion provides us with tools for the dress communication, and the way we pick and use, creates our personal style.
Every day we make a choice but as usually without awareness. Often we dress up to be "matching" with different circumstances - place of work, status or environment. Dress communication involves a change of focus: from dressing to impress others to dressing up to express yourself.
Dress communication and personal style begin when we know who we are and what we want to say to the world. When we know who we are and able to make a list of characteristics of our own personality. Then we choose clothes not based on the principle of "suits shape of my body", but on the principle of "what this clothing will tell about myself". Then we dress not to conform to status, but to express inner status through clothing. And these are two big differences.
We always have a choice: attend a formal event in office pants or in an evening dress. We may not want to spend money on special clothing to wear it only once. But when we come to “black tie” in office attire, we do not show that we are non-conformists. We show our attitude to the organizers and the community. And it is disrespectful. Another question is self-expression: what will be your evening dress? With an open back, a long train and rich details? Is it possible with hyperbolized volume sleeves and avant-garde print? Maybe classic black, straight silhouette?
Each different outfit tell something completely different, and in combination with makeup, hairstyle, shoes and accessories, we will show who we are. Because in reality we are what we wear. First impression – your outfit, next one – definitely mind. Today, fashion gives us all the tools we need to show our mind and character in our clothes.
Shine Bright & Be The One!
Photographer: Olga Mastronardi
Model: Lena Goroleva & Anna Demianets
Stylist: Anna Demianets