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The Psychology of Clothing for Horsewomen

Proud Woman Who Feels Good

If you've been following us for a while now you'd know that we definitely aren't a fashion brand, but we definitely are about style!

If you scroll back through our Facebook Posts you'll likely find where I've used the words Look Better | Feel Better | Ride Better

I'm a big believer that how we think we look affects how we feel and we all know that how we feel flows straight on through to our horses. If we're having an off day the horse generally know before we even saddle up.

But I'm no psychologist, I just know what I've experienced and witnessed.
I'm no fashion stylist either, so I reached out someone who is. Namely, Donna Cameron and she confirmed my observations.

Here's what she had to say:

Fashion is a serious study now, as it intersects history, sociology, economics and psychology to name just a few disciplines. The relationship between clothes and the body is undisputed, yet the connection between the body and mind is also well established. Take that a step further and you’ll see fashion impacts both how we feel and how we behave.

Wearing clothes engages all your senses. It’s not just about how we look, although that can be important. We can feel supported by sturdy fabric that moves with our body, calmed by removing a tight, restrictive garment and replacing it with a loose and breathable shirt, we can be brightened by a colour we love or excited by wearing something we had a great time in last time we wore it.

Sometimes we are only too conscious that what we’re wearing is impacting our feelings and beliefs about ourselves. This has a direct bearing on the way we conduct ourselves. But even if we don’t give our clothing a second thought beyond wishing we’d worn something else, clothing can undermine our self confidence and result in us behaving awkwardly.

How a fabric feels impacts how we interact with our environment and how we move. If it is uncomfortable it is going to make us feel bad – irritated and grumpy – and that will be evident in the way we interact. Silky or soft materials, by contrast, give us a sense of ease. They encourage fluid movement, whether we’re lounging around at home or enjoying out socialising.

Back to looking good and how that can make a difference; knowing we look good can give us a spring in our step, we hold our heads higher, posture improves, and self-esteem is spiked. This automatically gives us an added glow and an inner confidence.

I have seen this borne out numerous times, not least by the 17 models with disabilities that I styled for a Melbourne Fashion Week runway show. Dressed in beautifully made and sexy clothes by contemporary designers, these men and women simply shone! They did so well in fact, that they featured on the ABC 7pm news and were mentioned in The New York Times - a very proud moment indeed for all concerned!

Ultimately, if we’re comfortable andconfident about our physical image, our clothes become a natural extension of us. It’s possible others won’t even notice our clothes but they will see how comfortable we are with ourselves.  And these ‘others’ may just include a horse!

How you feel impacts how you present yourself and what you wear can affect how you feel.

Donna Cameron is a personal style and colour specialist and advocate for ethical fashion. She hosts Fashion by Foot ethical fashion tours and a 6 week program to building a more sustainable wardrobe. Donna was lead stylist for a groundbreaking event at Melbourne Fashion Week, exclusively featuring models with disability.


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