In love with that dress? UQ Business School research finds out why

7 Dec 2009

UQ Business School expert Alastair Tombs and co-researcher Shelagh Ferguson (University of Otago) pose new questions about why our clothes are so important to us.

Dr Tombs said existing research focused on clothing as a means of communicating ideas around identity and self image.

He said, "What is less well researched is the extent to which the purchase and consumption of clothing is driven more by emotion than by rational thought."

"We believe that people demand many things from clothing - in this study we will examine how we use clothing to meet our emotional needs."

Dr Tombs said some clothing choices were about responding to a particular mood.

He said, "We want to know if people dress in a certain way to improve their mood or if their choices reflect their mood."

"So if you get up grumpy, do you dress grumpy - or do you dress happy as a way of cheering yourself up?"

As part of the study, the researchers will make a short documentary in the style of UK TV's Grumpy Old Men and Grumpy Old Women shows.

Dr Tombs said some of the participants would be filmed in a series of informal conversations with people about how they wear and use clothing.

"So if you have something to say about your relationship with clothing and fashion, please get in touch," he said.

To find out more about the project email Dr Tombs on