Enclothed Cognition: Professional Clothing Symbolism among Plus-Size Women Ages 18 to 24

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2016-11-08
Authors
Gnegy, Hannah
Christel, Deborah
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Abstract

This research explores how young, plus-size female consumers engage with the process of enclothed cognition. It is believed that clothing inherently carries symbolism within the garment itself, which may then be transmitted to the wearer, such as the feeling of authority felt when wearing a business suit. Traditionally, plus-size consumers are considered to be individuals ages 30-40, wearing an American size 16 or above. However, this does not cover a key area of the plus-size demographic: young plus-size consumers. This research utilizes semi-structured narrative interviews to further explore young plus-size women's personal definitions of professionalism and the enclothing process. Results indicate that these women may have difficulties enclothing the garments currently offered by plus-size retailers, as they do not match personal definitions of professionalism. Retailers should aim to provide garments that encloth a larger demographic area to provide greater options to consumers.

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