How do you feel about socks? Depending on how you view them, they can either be a necessity – in which case black, blue or grey will do – or they are a window to the way you can show off your individuality, personality and non-conformed attitudes. Sounds too dramatic and crazy? Well, a new study has found the whacky and crazy socks you choose to wear not only say a lot about you, but also say a lot about how people see you. Here’s how.
Conformity is something many of us live our lives by. Our need to be part of the pack and not be ostracised runs deep and this shows in the way we speak, act and dress.
When someone doesn’t conform to the norms of society, they can be seen as strange, weird and a bit crazy such is our need to dismiss the unfamiliar. However, socks are a whole different ball game. Socks are there lurking at the bottom of our trousers, unassuming and almost secretive. They aren’t the most obvious item of clothing but they have huge potential to show off a flash of individuality to anyone who happens to notice.
Despite our conforming attitudes, a study published in the Journal of Consumer Research1 investigated the theory that people who are nonconformists can potentially be viewed as being more high status and more competent than those who conform to social norms.
So what does this say about your choice of wearing bright neon, rainbow-striped, or leopard-print socks? Well, it found people who have shown to deliberately choose to wear whacky socks, are seen as having increased status and competency in the eyes of others. In other words, people have the potential to see you as more brilliant, creative and successful.
“We proposed that, under certain conditions, nonconforming behaviours can be more beneficial to someone than simply trying to fit in. In other words, when it looks deliberate, a person can appear to have a higher status and sense of competency,” stated authors of the study, Silvia Bellezza, Francesca Gino and Anat Keinan from Harvard University.2
Think of the corporate business man all dressed up in a smart, expensive suit only for his clients to catch a flash of his bright pink socks. It doesn’t exactly conform but the boldness of the choice shows him to be deliberately rebellious and proud.
If you bust out the whacky patterns and crazy colours then there may be something else going on – embodied cognition. This is an interesting concept about how our clothing choices affect our cognitive processes.
Dr. Adam Galinsky, a social psychologist from the Northwestern University, conducted a study3 that showed what we wear affects the way we think, feel and act.
And this includes our socks. When we don our silly and crazy socks we are, in part, showing off our uniqueness and our confidence. It’s this that helps us get into the mindset of feeling good about ourselves, having the confidence to wear whatever we want and embrace it. It’s this perception that helps us to subtly achieve more success without lack of bravery or confidence.
This is also reflected in a carefree attitude to societal trends and what people generally think of us. The plain black socks allows us to hide ourselves into the background of social norms whereas a nicely coloured pair of socks is, in essence, giving two fingers up to the conforming attitudes of many of those around us.
So, if you’re a lover of fun and outlandish socks, then go out into the world and embrace them. Not only will you give people an insight into your nonconforming, unique personality, but they will hold you in good status as a result!
Featured photo credit: snapwire via pexels.com
Love this article? Share it with your friends on Facebook