A Clothing Journal Study: Decision-Making Factors in Clothing Choice
Type of DegreeMaster's Thesis
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This qualitative study addresses how social environments affect clothing choice in millennial college-aged sorority women at Auburn University. Millennials have been determined to be an important demographic to study due to their unique placement in the consumer market, they are described as being a large, young generation with an active social media and Internet presence (Bapna, 2013; Tayler & Gao, 2014). The primary purpose of this study was to identify what specific factors affect decision-making as it pertains to clothing choice. Adapted nutrition diaries in the form of clothing journals were used to document daily clothing choice by tracking participants (n=3) clothing choices over a one-week period. Follow up interviews, in the form of focus groups, explored decision-making factors for daily clothing choices. This study explored Social Identity Theory (SIT), which predicts that social groups can influence, positively and negatively, clothing choices made by women. SIT aims to define how a social group influences a person and how that group could produce a unique set of characteristics for each social group (Hogg & Terry, 2000). Findings revealed the presence of set dress norms for certain occasions to which sorority members conform. Findings also revealed that physical environment and destination were a decision-making factor in clothing choice. Findings from the study reinforced SIT and directly applied to clothing, a facet of expression not yet explored in relation to the theory. Shifts in consumer markets by the large millennial generation, including sorority women, have the ability to act as a primary consumer within the economy. Ultimately, the findings for this study provide specific information on how the sorority women target market makes decisions when it comes to clothing.