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Rhome Balmeo

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What's the role of fashion to one's happiness?

Gucci, Prada, Armani, Louis Vuitton, Mont Blanc, Hermes, Versace, etc.. Some people are just obssessed with brand names. The billion-dollar fashion industry is largely dictated by these giant fashion houses. Is there any clear cut relation between fashion and a person's happiness?

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  • May 31 2012: In my opinion, there is two meaning of 'fashion', either the idea of buying Gucci, Prada and above brands to be 'trendy' or one's own fashion which isn't purely out of trends, just what the person likes and admires. The latter plays a high role to one's happiness as it gives them a sense of individuality and reflect their personality while relying on trends for you're individuality or self-esteem is entirely false because even though others may not always be as trendy as you, you are still wearing something and looking like the designers own tastes and whims to make a trend . Fashion always plays the role in you're mood if ever so slightly in my opinion, even the clothes of others due to colour psychology e.g. to the person, green might symbolize green, go, nature, etc. Apologies is this jumbled up or anything else, it's my first post :).
  • May 8 2012: Clothes give you an identity that will make you do things in a certain way, which consequentially could lead to happiness.
    There's an interesting talk about this by one of the most famous success gurus of all time, Napoleon Hill, titled: The Psychology of clothing.

    He actually said, that he when he was almost broke he spend his last $ 400 bucks on a nice suit, because he thought it was the best investment he could make in himself. Call it old-'fashioned' but I think there's real truth in it. Perhaps it would be interesting to do an experiment on this.
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      May 9 2012: HI Niels. Thanks for the input about Napoleon Hill. Yes, my mentors have taught me to "invest in me". Good clothing is an investment in oneself.
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    May 6 2012: It will produce happiness. Short term happiness and very superficial, but nevertheless happiness.
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      May 7 2012: You must be referring to those who buy clothes and accessories to be part of the "in" thing. Short term happiness. But there's nothing wrong with that...

      Imagine a boy who is raised in a suppressive environment, where an aberration from the norm is heavily frowned upon coupled with disgust. He saw in a magazine a beautiful woman dressed in the most fascinating and creative ensemble. He thought that a simple fabric has been transformed into the most fascinating way. Something magnificent stirred in him. He wanted from then on to create beautiful dresses to clothe men and women across the globe. He strived hard in his studies because he wants to succeed. He eventually succeeded and fulfilled his dream. He showed everybody from that sad repressive environment he grew in that he can spread his wings and fly. Fashion has been his rock all the way. He would not be where he is now if not for fashion.

      This, I think Aida is more than superficial.
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    May 5 2012: For me, the thrill of almost any material purchase is short-lived. Yet, experiences are so different. Going out to dinner with my wife, holidaying with the family and friends or being alone on the mountains; all of these hang out in the 'happy memory bank' for years.

    Fashionable clothing and accessories are typically high quality and have a price to boast. But they are as much an insecurity blanket, literally masking our inner fears. Big brands know this but would never admit to the truth. They also know fashion moves and insecure people (all of us) never want to be seen dressed 'inappropriately'.

    So, yes, I think fashion brings happiness. But it's short-lived, way over-rated and there are much cheaper ways to find a deeper long-term sense of well-being.
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      May 5 2012: If fashion boosts your confidence and you can afford it, why not?

      I think that 5 seconds of happiness is as valuable as the feeling of happiness that lingered on for more than a week. The thing is something has changed within you, and you won't be the same after that 5 seconds of happiness.
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        May 5 2012: I don't disagree with you but I just question the point of high end fashion (and the extremes it has got to) especially when you consider the much wider perspective.

        To be so besotted with what we wear when 4 billion people live on less than 2 dollars a day seems wrong. As the TED film says, giving to others makes us much happier; giving continually to ourselves ultimately traps us in a downward cycle of greed.

        But if we consider the happiness of others, so more comes back - and the quality of our life spirals upwards.
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          May 5 2012: It's true. Giving and reaching out to others has wonderful effects.

          Anything in excess or going to extremes is bad, don't you think? I subscribe to "everything in moderation" - keeping things in balance, although at most times very difficult.
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    May 31 2012: I think it is essential to be comfortable in your own skin to also be truly happy. Fashion has an early role in this. Until someone develops and presents their individual fashion sense (and for many that is simply jeans and tsirt) they remain a bit fixated on self. Once that is firmly established they have a better chance of lifting their eyes and their minds to the aid of others.
    To reach this stage and stay there permanently seems stunted, unless their focus is to help others find that peace of mind.
  • May 16 2012: To my happiness? None at all. I don't recognise any of those names and I am perfectly happy.

    Fashion is transient and it would be somewhat shallow to base your personal happiness on something as insubstantial as fashion. Fashions come and fashions go and you are neither more or less of a person if you choose to adopt the latest fashions.

    It is a sadness to me that people might feel that their clothing improves them just because it carries a fashionable label. It is equally sad that people might judge you because of the clothes labels in your wardrobe.

    If a person's self-esteem is tied to designer labels, I would suggest that it is a false self-esteem that is dependent purely on external factors which are beyond the control of the person tied to them. Self-esteem derives from feeling your own personal worth as being intrinsic to you as a person.

    Do I care that some people are in the position to spend vast sums of money on branded goods? Not at all. I do care that I have sufficient resources to care for my own family so designer label chasing is not even on the bottom of the pile of things which I have to do.
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    May 7 2012: It is called social acceptance,……….have you ever heard the term birds with the same color flock together?
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      May 7 2012: Hello Don. That was a sad story. I empathize with you. Since I only knew a minute, speck of a detail about your relationship with your former wife, there's nothing much I can say but that "in any relationship, it takes two to tango".

      As for malignant narcissism, I am quite sure that it has got to do more with the psyche of the individual (and may very well already be a mental disorder) rather than with fashion.
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    May 4 2012: none
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      May 5 2012: What if designers found a way to infuse "eau de chocolat" into the fabric?

      Hmmm...
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        May 5 2012: If I remember it correctly there was a gown in Japan that's made of 24 K gold thread and lingerie made of chocolate. Ahaha. LOL.
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          May 6 2012: Too funny Rhome....Gabo loves chocolate......and I alluded to the essence of it because of another conversation on chocolate addiction that he participated in.

          But you are right.......clothing comes in all kinds of styles.....are you young/old enough to remember purses made out of gum wrappers, and outfits make out of soda tops?
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        May 6 2012: Mary, I think I remember about purses made out of strange materials like gum wrappers because I do remember hand bags and purses made of cigarette foils and plastic straws. My nana and I made hats and belts made of used plastic straws. I collect the straws from a nearby canteen, wash them and weave them. Then my nana would sew them into bags, sun visors, belts and gorgeous hats even bull caps for me and my brothers and sisters. Of course I was only 10 years old at that time. People would always stop and check out the hats because they are so colorful.

        Now, new materials like those that were considered "troublesome" such as those "wild water hyacinths" abundantly growing in swamps, stagnant waterways, and slow rivers that are notoriously clogging drainages in Metro Manila are being utilized and made into durable and beautiful fabric. It's really awesome. Top Filipino designers are using the fabric in their haute couture.
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    May 2 2012: precisely not everyone but few love to look good,few love to be confident and they think it might be well seen if they wear good clothes which are in fashion today!!!so fashion do play an important role in people who are fashion savvy!!
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      May 3 2012: I think that "most" people and not just a few would want to look good and be confident with themselves. Therefore, either through inspiration or actually wearing them, fashion play a role in the lives of most people.
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        May 3 2012: yeahh true!!!
        fashion has become a pivotal part of 'most' people!!
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    May 2 2012: PBS did a one hour special last week in our city on The Secret World of Haute Couture

    Perhaps you can find a way to get a video of it online. It is worth the watch, to understand why women feel happy buying designer clothing and why it makes them happy. I find it quite interesting:

    http://www.gpb.org/secret-world-haute-couture
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      May 2 2012: I'm intrigued. I hope I can get a vid...
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    May 2 2012: If I'm dressed, I'm happy.

    When I was younger you could go to an Atellier and have any outfit made to your specifications, your color, your perfect body contoure. I even went to University with someone who made all her clothes. She always dressed liked she had stepped out of a fashion magazine. I was happy seeing that someone had that kind of talent.

    Brand names are a big deal, because women do not sew any more.

    But, if they had connections to a seamstress, they would find that the blouse being sold at Nordstrom's for $650 could just as easily be made by a neighbor for $30 (if the neighbor is a seamstress).

    Afterall, who sews all those designer outfits..........surely not the designer, or the owner of the actual fashion house ay?

    As quality gets lower and lower, you will probably find that people will 1, learn to sew or 2, find ways to invest in good quality clothing or 3, ______________________ (haven't any idea).

    Your question is a great one, and there are many layers to it.

    Let's see what others have to say.

    [hopefully someone will address the psychological effect of buying expensive outfits, and/or materialism]
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      May 2 2012: I can totally relate to what you are saying. My grandma and grandpop owns a tailoring shop back in the 70's. She designs and he cuts the patterns. My aunt plays the model. She would always go to work wearing seemingly haute couture. Yes, I felt happy that my aunt looks very beautiful in her dresses and happy that my grandma is so talented. I have always taught that she's a genius for creating very beautiful dresses out of nothing. They closed shop in the 80's and migrated to the U.S.

      It must be the feeling of wearing something unique. You feel special. This raises your confidence level. People praise you and then you feel proud and probably happy!

      Brand names provide you the same feeling I guess. You feel special by wearing clothes designed by famous designers. Because the clothes of these designers are not cheap, only a select few who can afford them gets to wear them. It then becomes a status symbol. I guess this feeds the ego. Perhaps happiness is derived from such. But is that wrong? Is that being materialistic?
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        May 2 2012: Self-esteem surely goes up when one feels confident. Dressing in an outfit that makes you feel good, regardless of the designer or price is a good idea.What I personally find, for me anyways, is that it is not necessary to spend the money on designer clothes.I like to give meaning to my belongings, I do not let my belongings define me.I don't buy the "in" anything.......I guess I am not a follower. I am me. Thanks for the reply.......wish I could sew my own clothes......about the only thing I have managed to sew are clothes for dolls, kitchen curtains, and taking pants that no longer fit my kids and turning them into shorts.........are you following your family's roots in tailoring?
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          May 2 2012: I see your point especially on the part of giving meaning to your belongings. I am the same. I also do not buy the "in" thing. I must confess however, that I find those designer items "value for money" since they have a certain high level of quality (but not all as I experienced money down the drain for some designer items that I thought would last a little longer). My nana always tell me to look for the best quality my money can buy. Best quality surely is pricey.

          Nobody from our family learned the tailoring trade. I think I acquired however, my nana's creative prowess. I design and create artisan jewelry on the side whenever time permits. I also design in my real job. Although designing online transaction processing systems and mission critical applications do not require much creativity...
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        May 2 2012: I am all for quality versus quantity. It's better to spend $100 on a great pair of leather shoes that will last 3-5 years, than $20 on a pair that will last 3 months. But that's me.

        As for fashion jewelry.....artisan jewelry........we have art festivals and fairs here in S. Florida that attract alot of hobbyist who make things in their spare time. Do you have this in the Phillipines?

        And, just yesterday in the news, they did a bit on Yves St Laurent. This woman who purchased designer YSL pieces back in the 1960's STILL has them!!! And, still used them.....because they are classics.......never go out of style. She lent part of her collection to Nordstrom department stores and they have it on display.

        That is another positive side to buying designer clothing that is made using classical lines. When I was younger, these were the kinds of pieces I invested in. I still have some of them....

        Let me see if I can find the link to the news bit to copy paste here.
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          May 3 2012: I 100% agree. I have these pair of cavalli pants that's 10 years now and an armani suit that's more than 5 years now. All of them still look good and fab! I can't wear them now because i got bigger. Ha-ha-ha. I have to shrink down to fit in them again. Come to think of it, such is a motivation... ah, one fringe benefit of fashion, don't you think?

          Art festivals and fairs are a great way to showcase works of hobbyists and small-time entrepreneurs. We have those here in Manila but not as often and well-attended as yours there in S. Florida, I think. If you have some time to spare, you can check out some of my designs in this website: bijouxartisanaux.tumblr.com. Let me know what you think. LOL.
  • May 1 2012: I strongly believe that the following talk should help guide an answer:
    http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/martin_seligman_on_the_state_of_psychology.html