The other day, I was in a well-known high street store and found myself completely gaga; walking zombie-like towards an outfit on a mannequin that I had to touch. Within 2 minutes, I was daydreaming about where I could wear this outfit to and how I had to have it.
Have you ever gone into a store looking for a specific item, and found yourself mesmerized by how the Visual Merchandising Department have cleverly styled the mannequins with panache? I mean, bloody hell; you’re on the tube going home armed with a pristine new carrier bag, containing a pair of red polka dot trousers and a yellow nautical t-shirt.
Why? When all you wanted was a black 70’s inspired peasant dress.
The psychology of visual marketing has at its core the idiosyncrasies of its target market, this made me wonder; how often is our style not actually influenced by societal pressure, nor by our ‘true self’, but by the fantasy we tell ourselves? When we see an outfit we like, can it embody how we want to be perceived i.e. cool, confident quirky, wealthy etc?
I then started to question how often our style (especially when perceived as an individual) is not actually one's own, but a construct of what we think will exude confidence and happiness.
Successful visual marketing taps into our emotions, changes our mood, and then makes us want to buy that item because it made us feel positive. Why wouldn’t you want to have something that makes you feel good and happy? Forget the black 70’s peasant dress, that pair of polka dot trousers with a yellow nautical t-shirt has now become a necessity.
Yes, it is manipulative, and yes, we are being influenced. Yet, what happens if the visual merchandising team actually gets it right? Sometimes we come across a mannequin that has been styled to perfection. Come on; could you really have put those prints, those colours and cuts together yourself?
The way that outfit has been styled makes you want to be bold, new, be you as it reflects the real you; you just didn’t know until that fantastic visual merchandising team showed you.
So the next time you go into a store, look at a mannequin, pick one and ask yourself does that outfit resonate with me, does that outfit feel like me.
Who can I speak to further about issues raised in this article
If you’re not sure what your style is or don’t feel confident enough to put your outfits together in a way that really feels like you and shows who ‘you’ are, speak to me here at Talk To Me London for a free 30 minute style consultation.