Using Clothing to Bring Alive Autobiographical Memories
Clothing is most often studied as a symbolic vehicle of adornment and outwardly directed self-display. While the impression-management view is important, it ignores the inwardly directed uses of clothing as symbols of a person’s life story - who I was, who I am, who I am becoming, and with whom I am connected. People use clothing symbolically to bring alive and contemplate autobiographical memories that portray their life stories. Q methodology is used to study how key life story themes of affiliation versus autonomy and self-change versus stability are represented in young adults' descriptions of most and least cherished clothing. Results show that both most and least cherished clothing items evoked autobiographical memories that portray the life story.