The art of first impressions and why it matters.
How does art translate into our wardrobes? And more importantly: why does it matter when talking of first impressions?
All of us, at least once, have seen a painting and were left standing there, asking “What? Who? How? Why?” Great art is an invitation to inquiry. We wonder about the identity of Mona Lisa, or the girl with the pearl earring. But just as a painting sparks our curiosity, it also speaks about who the artist is. So, once we’ve mused over Salvador Dali’s melting clock, the persona behind the painting, along with his avant-garde mustache, comes as no surprise.
A painting tells you about the artist, invites you in for a dialogue, leaves a lasting impression. So do your clothes.
Art and fashion are intertwined. Over decades they have come together in collaborations like Coco Chanel and Pablo Picasso, Luis Vuitton and Takashi Murakami, Alexander McQueen and Damien Hirst. Artists have also served as inspiration to designers, like Mondrian and Matisse for Yves Saint Laurent, or Donatello and El Greco for Vivienne Westwood.
But, ultimately, off the runways and the pages of magazines, fashion gives us a way to express our true selves.
So, with that in mind, ask yourself: if your style was a painting, would it be original, would it spark interest or say something about who you are?
Even if you’re a fan of jeans and a t-shirt, little details can make all the difference. Just think of all the celebrities rocking the red carpet in a plain black suit, to then have the world talking about the patterned socks they had on.
Why is that important? Well, it takes one-tenth of a second to form a first impression. As you can imagine, your physical appearance obviously counts for a big part of it.
Thanks to evolution, our brains are hard-wired to form instant first impressions. For our ancestors, this quality meant the difference between getting attacked by a hostile tribe or going back to their cave in one piece. Today, things are a little more complicated. With so many trends out there, showing who you are in not as simple as putting on a loincloth and a string of beads that marks the tribe you belong to.
Yet, a first impression is just as important – social psychology suggests that once it’s formed, it’s surprisingly hard to change it.
What you put on, helps the world see who you are. So, instead of mindlessly throwing on clothes, think of getting dressed as a form of meditation. When you wake up in the morning, give yourself a minute to connect with who you really are, then look in the closet to see what matches.
Fashion goes deeper than the picture. It’s about understanding yourself and inviting other to get to know you.