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

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.


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.


Mark A. Rademacher, University of Wisconsin - Madison, USA


NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 34 | 2007

Share Proceeding

Featured papers

See More


Q3. Academic Branding on Social Media: Examining the Influence of Personal Brands on the Professor-Student Relationships

Edita Petrylaite, Northumbria University, UK
Darija Aleksic, University of Ljubljana

Read More


I’m Just Trying to Help: How Volunteers’ Social Media Posts Alter Support for Charitable Organizations

Michelle Daniels, Arizona State University, USA
Kirk Kristofferson, Ivey Business School
Andrea Morales, Arizona State University, USA

Read More


How Matte Product Surface Enhances Perceived Durability

Taehoon Park, University of South Carolina, USA
Junghan Kim, Singapore Management University, Singapore

Read More

Engage with Us

Becoming an Association for Consumer Research member is simple. Membership in ACR is relatively inexpensive, but brings significant benefits to its members.