The functions of clothes and clothing (dis)satisfaction: A gender analysis among British students

Cox, Jason and Dittmar, Helga (1995) The functions of clothes and clothing (dis)satisfaction: A gender analysis among British students. Journal of Consumer Policy, 18 (2). pp. 237-265. ISSN 0168-7034

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This study examines the social psychological functions clothes fulfil for young women and men, and the role that these perceived functions play for their (dis)satisfaction with their clothing generally. Sixty female and sixty male British students indicated why an item of clothing they particularly valued was important to them, including perceived functional and mood-related benefits, but also clothes as means for expressing personal and social identity. They also completed a measure of general (dis)satisfaction with one's clothing (Francis, 1990), and described their current financial circumstances.

Results of diverse multivariate statistical tests support all three sets of hypotheses: (1) By comparison, men take a more self-oriented approach to clothes, stressing their use as expressive symbols of personality and their functional benefits, whilst women also have other-oriented concerns, choosing to use clothes as symbols of their social and personal interrelatedness with others; (2) although the perceived need for new clothing depends partly on financial constraints, women are more concerned with clothing in the context of peer relations, independently of financial constraints; and (3) the patterns of links between social psychological functions of valued items of clothing and general clothing (dis)satisfaction are gender-specific.

Implications of gender differences throughout the clothes consumption cycle — buying motivations, purchase, and use — are discussed with respect to differential aspects of clothing advertising likely to influence women's and men's purchases on the one hand, and with respect to consumer policy tasks in assisting consumers on the other, particularly in the context of addictive buying of women.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Depositing User: Helga Dittmar
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2017 07:30
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2017 07:30
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