Iyabo Ojo’s choice of outfit when she stepped onto the red carpet of the 14th edition of the Headies Award in an angelic all white embroidered Toyin Lawani designed gown, complete with a matching silver tooth, may have looked seemingly ordinary to the uninclined. For the few people whose job it is to design these kinds of award winning dresses though, they know that her choice of outfit to that event is a perfect reflection of her personality traits. They understand that a choice of outfit paints the physical image of a person’s personality.
In psychology, the most widely accepted and reliable model to describe the essential traits that serve as the building blocks of personality is called the “Big Five”; abbreviated as “OCEAN.”
It is a test framework used to measure the Openness, Conscientiousness, Extroversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism of people that has been proven to be helpful in understanding the style choices that they make as influenced by those traits.
In the case of Iyabo Ojo, using the psychological model, it is evident that her outgoingness, high energy or talkative nature was all on display with her dress at the event. Her very decision to wear that particular dress is also a pointer to her curiosity and openness to seeking out new experiences.
But, why does a person’s personality have to necessarily influence their style?
In an interview with Isi Atagamen, one of Nigeria’s biggest celebrity stylist and fashion influencer, we asked this same question and this was her reply, paraphrased:
“It just does. This is not something we have control over.”
When you think about it, it is true. We have no conscious control over the psychological filters that form the basis of how we think about combining colors, fabrics and other clothing accessories. The filter is a function of variables that has been molded over and
over from childhood, and continues to be molded. Variables like the kind of environment we grew up in, how closely we were parented, the kind of peer or activities we took interest in and so on.
In truth, our psychological filter isn’t always a contributor to the kind of clothing we would always wear even when they subconsciously influence the kinds that we like; however in almost every case, our most loved clothing or accessories type gives a loud hint at our personality.
Talking to our celebrity stylist, we asked whether she thinks people are conscious of how their own psychological filter influences their style and if she thinks this is something that can be used as an advantage. Here’s what she has to say:
On whether it can be used as an advantage, taking the popular social media comedian as a model of someone who has gotten things right, she said, “Yes. Well, I will say something, Broda Shaggi doesn’t want to look like everybody else. Broda Shaggi like Ebuka [Obi-Uchendu] is creating his own niche, and is creating his own look. His own signature and that’s what makes him stand out”
And on whether she thinks people are conscious of how their own psychological filter influences their style she said, “Not everybody knows even their own style. Not everybody understands the colors that go with their skin tone.” echoing a sentiment that is widely understood by fashion enthusiasts.
To further understand how a person’s personality influences their style and how people can effectively combine accessories to reflect a likeable and acceptable dress sense, we asked what her process is in representing a person’s style and coming up with a
dress for them.
“There has to be some sort of a consultation where we talk about, what is their personal style? First we ask what are the things they like. We take their personality and then design things that go with it; from color design, concept, and fabrics. Except the client has come forward to say they want a particular
So, there it is. It is evident that our personality reflects in our style, and although not everyone of us knows how it does or how to use the uniqueness of the things that form those personality traits to an advantage in the things we wear, knowing what our true
personality is and having a deep understanding of it can help to carve a niche look for ourselves. A look that Isi Atagamen proposes will be original to us alone.
In her closing remark, and emphasizing how important it is to find one’s own style through an intimate understanding of one’s personality, Isi advised that you “stay true to yourself; and not be afraid of your style.”