Do I Belong? Clothing, Group Membership, and Identity During the College Transition

Mark A. Rademacher, University of Wisconsin - Madison, USA
Clothing is integral to the expression of identity. However, individuals’ expression of identity through clothing is not stable. It adjusts to reflect changes in one’s self-concept. The current study examines college freshmen’s use of clothing to express changing identities during a life transition. Longitudinal depth interviews suggest students engage in reflexive self-evaluation and conform to the college peer culture in an attempt to “fit in.” Implications of this behavior are discussed in regard to the importance of expressing an appropriate “college identity” and group membership in the maintenance of a coherent life-narrative and a stable identity during the college transition.
[ to cite ]:
Mark A. Rademacher (2007) ,"Do I Belong? Clothing, Group Membership, and Identity During the College Transition", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 34, eds. Gavan Fitzsimons and Vicki Morwitz, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 366-368.