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Couples Dressing: Why do we do it?

Valentine’s day is just around the corner and, for better or for worse, couples will be exhibiting all kinds of lovey-dovey behavior: posting picture collages on Instagram accompanied by a grand verbal testament to their love, nuzzling like penguins in cozy café corners or playing footsies at the dinner table. Regardless of whether you’re single or in a relationship, these overt displays can seem tedious or make us feel uncomfortable, especially if even hearing the phrase PDA makes your recoil a little.

Fashion is another way in which couples flaunt their compatibility. A phenomenon that sparks wide-ranging opinions to say the least is couple’s dressing. We’re not just talking Halloween here. Probably the most iconic red carpet incident goes to Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake’s Canadian tuxedo double whammy at the 2001 American Music Awards. The duo wore head to toe denim in an unforgettable moment of ‘couple goals’. Victoria and David Beckham have also gained notable recognition for donning complimentary ensembles, such as matching leather suits at the Versace club in 1999. But this concept isn’t confined to the realm of celebrity life. We might have spied it on the street, not so low-key but lightheartedly slated your friend for that ‘twinning’ post on Snapchat, or even found ourselves slowly appropriating our BF’s/ GF’s style. Many find it adorable. Others? Infuriating. Question is, should we cut those who choose to do so some slack? Or do we find ourselves internally pleading ‘OK you’re loved up…we get it already!’?

Dress sense might the thing that instantly attracts us to a person. When something as subjective as clothing strikes a chord with us, although not a deal breaker, it can certainly make an impact and even prove to be a bonding experience later on. Simple things like saying ‘I think you’d like this’ when shopping together, or colour co-coordinating for a fancy date night are endearing ways of showing that we care. Although, more blatant parades may leave us feeling like we’re being unwillingly subjected to their ‘in-syncness’, maybe coming across as superficial to some. However, for many, this act isn’t just a show of performative coupledom. In Korea, the ‘matchy matchy’ craze is extremely popular amongst love-struck millennials, even having its own name: Kou-peul look. It has cultural associations such as the importance of stability in a romantic relationship or just makes partners feel closer together if they are in a long distance situation. For a lot of us, at some point, we’ve felt the calming effect of wearing our gf/bf’s hoodie or shirt, be it for sheer comfort or when a hug just isn’t possible whenever you want one.

On the other end of the spectrum, it can be considered a subtler, more subconscious act. According to relationship expert Dr. Nikki Goldstein, we all commit to a form of ‘couple conformity’ to some extent whether we realise it or not. Usually, around 6 months into a relationship, couples begin to accumulate a similar dress sense with each other. Naturally, after spending so much time with someone you inevitably adopt a number of habits and, after all, a lot of figuring out when you like a person ultimately means deciding that how they do life appeals to and resonates with you.

Whether it’s complimentary color palettes, borrowing from each other’s wardrobe or full on matching pieces, fashion undoubtedly plays a part in romantic life on many levels. With articles such as '13 Fashionable Instagram Couples So Adorbs it Hurts’ and fashion brands such as The Kooples Official declaring the sophisticated couple at the center of their branding image and marketing strategy, matching fashion is something that is successfully bought into and it gives an incentive to aspire towards a particular image. What do you think? Is it an innocent way of being proud of a partner or are they some deeper anxieties going on?


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