In the previous article, “Individuality and conformity in Fashion-1″we talked about the definition of both the topics and also read about the pros and cons of individuality. If you haven’t given that article a read, I would recommend doing that on this link- https://eduindexnews.com/2021/06/09/individuality-and-conformity-in-fashion-1/.
Conformity, just like individuality, may have both positive and negative aspects. We will now study some positive consequences of Conformity:
Conformity is essential to life. Human beings are social animals. We live in a society that functions as a whole. If there is a mistake, the entire system may crumble. Each society has a set of clothing norms. So, we are obligated to follow them and respect them so that we can stay together as a whole. Human beings learn in life what others want them to wear. There is some sense of order maintained by knowing what type of dress is to be worn when. For instance every community has set norms of what is to be worn at different occasions like marriage, morning or other celebrations. If these norms are broken there will be utter chaos.
Corresponding sense of identification: It is essential for an individual to symbolically interact with others. This will enable them to identify with them and take on their attributes.
Loyalty- to an organisation, university or a country is another potentially positive aspect of conformity. For instance, wearing of uniform, badges, or pins of a particular organisation will visually identify the wearers with it and they show their loyalty towards the organisation.
Sense of belonging: People who are dressed similarly communicate that they are a group. There is some sort of comfort in dressing in style that is socially approved. Therefore conformity in dress can provide an individual with a sense of belonging and security.
Conformity is a psychological shelter. If we are confused as to what is to be worn on a particular occasion, we naturally follow the norms set by the others so that we eventually find a group to take shelter in. Conformity is, in a sense, the remedy for isolation. We do not feel awkward as we conform to the group.
To be accepted by a peer group, people often conform to group standards of dress and behavior. Those who do not conform, risk rejection by the group. Acceptance is one of the important goals in man’s life. It is a natural desire to belong and to be accepted by others.
Let’s move on to some negative aspects to conformity:
Conformity can be stifling, boring and monotonous. If people are rigid in conforming to a dress code, it can be depressing and suffocating. Rigidity or lack of flexibility may kill creativity which is an essential trait in human beings. Stereotype societal costumes of some tribal people are not very creative as they are governed by norms set by the tribe.
They all look the same. Forcing people to dress by a certain code is crippling to the soul. Likewise, a very rigorous dress code in the military can also be very stifling.
Conformists tend to be more directed, submissive and are more conventional in values. A conformist is less creative and more dependent on others with greater needs of social approval than nonconformists. They are incapable of thinking or acting themselves. He is afraid to think differently. His thoughts are not original because they produce feeling of anxiety. They find comfort or solace in following traditional or prevailing styles in fashion. Such people cannot be creative and can only copy the style or behaviour of others.
Conformity versus Individuality
All people seek an identity and sense of belongingness through conformity to a given set of norms and yet at the same time strive to achieve some distinction as individual human beings.
Most people balance the influence of conformity and individuality in their clothing. Their clothing choices depend on their needs as well as different settings and situations. At one point of time we want to be different from others in one way or another. So we might dress a bit differently and choose to do things we really like. And for once we might form our opinions based on what we really feel. However sooner or later we conform to the norms and take shelter in conformity.
Conformity and individuality co-exist within our lives for the world to function as it does.