Psychological Aspects of Clothing

The purpose of this research is to examine the psychological aspects of clothing. The plan of the research will be to set forth the context in which clothing may be considered of psychological importance, and to discuss decoration of the body, genital modesty, and protection from the elements as motives for wearing clothes.

To discuss clothing as a feature of psychology is also to deal with the fundamental self. Freud's discussion of the ego is decisive in this regard, for it points up the manner in which the self is projected into the realm of what is distinctly the not-self, or Other, i.e., the everyday world.

Normally, there is nothing of which we are more certain than the feeling of our self. . . . This ego appears to us as something autonomous and unitary, marked off distinctly from everything else. That such an appearance is deceptive, and that on the contrary the ego is continued inwards, without any sharp delimitation, into an unconscious mental entity which we designate as the id . . . should still have much more to tell us about the relation of the ego to the id. . . . There are cases in which parts of a person's own body, even portions of his own mental life . . . appear alien to him and as not belonging to his ego; there are other cases in which he ascribes to the external world things that clearly originate in his own ego and that ought to be acknowledged by it. Thus even the feeling of our own ego is subject to disturbances (Freud, 1962, pp. 12-13).



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