This thesis examines stereotypes based on particular clothing styles at the College of Wooster campus. It is focused on Anglo-American's interpretations of others' social identity and roles at the campus when only dress is accounted for. The review of literature explores this topic by suggesting three sub-sections (clothing as communication, social determinants of clothing, and clothing and college students) as elements in understanding the place clothing serves in our culture. Stereotypes are presented as hastily drawn but powerful tools in human interactions. The survey, performed by 43 students on campus, shows that clothing styles do indeed manifest stereotypes about the wearer while the stereotyper shows great hesitation in being labeled themselves. The thesis shows that clothing groups originate from base clothing items and that all of the top 5 groups stem off this core set of clothing articles. The results from the survey, along with the literature and theory review, suggest that clothing styles do exhibit group identity, while the individual holds on to personal identity. Future research is suggested, to elaborate on this topic and to open it to a wider population. Gender and socio-economic status were not fully explored and may be pertinent in further investigations.


Frese, Pamela


Sociology and Anthropology

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis

Available for download on Thursday, January 01, 2150

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© Copyright 1994 Ellen P. Russell