Casual clothing trend is on the upswing

Professor Susan Kaiser, UC Davis.
Professor Susan Kaiser, UC Davis.

Professor Susan Kaiser comments on influence of social norms in clothing choices.

March  7, 2014
(from CNN)

Americans’ choice in clothing has gotten increasingly casual — yoga pants, track suits, even pajamas are seen more frequently in public.


A recent article by CNN suggested the reason is people no longer face the same social pressures — those unwritten rules about how someone should or should not dress.

“Clothing has been described as a broadcast signal, the way it communicates,” said UC Davis textiles and clothing professor Susan Kaiser. “We know (an appropriate outfit) when we see it. When something doesn’t look quite right, then we notice that.”

Kaiser, who also is professor and director of women and gender studies, says social norms surrounding fashion not only incorporate function but cultural attitudes, which historically have been fairly modest. 

She is the author of “The Social Psychology of Clothing: Symbolic Appearances in Context.”

(Read the full CNN article by Ann Hoevel, published February 19, 2014.)

Media contact:
•    Susan Kaiser, Division of Textiles and Clothing, Women and Gender Studies Program, UC Davis, 530-752-3675,