As we talk about on here all the time, what we wear can have a lot to say about who we are. But, most of the time, the meaning isn’t clear to those who see. Unless people are willing to learn to understand each other, this can’t be helped. But adding symbolic or iconic pieces to your outfit can make it a little easier.
If you use symbology, whether in image, colors or written words (yes, language features symbolic meaning), your outfit can become more readable. Symbology is typically recognizable within a culture or similar group of people, despite the representing object being arbitrary in and of itself. I like the way Richard Nordquist puts it in thisarticle: “A symbol is a person, place, action, word, or thing that (by association, resemblance, or convention) represents something other than itself.” Some examples could be a red rose representing “romance”, the American flag representing “freedom”, and a black sheep representing an “outcast” or (more positively) “uniqueness”.
Unless you’re using lots of words, fashion will always be mostly abstract in its meaning–even with symbology. But if used well, it can be very meaningful…at the very least, to you. And if what you wear means something to you, that’s the first and most important step. Symbolic clothes and accessories make for excellent conversation pieces.
The blog posts in this category will go over how to introduce symbology into your outfits, one piece at a time.