Parisian Women and Behavioral Economics

Psychology is also at work when you look at the women of Paris. The principle at work here is the assumption of style and the amplification of grace. Because you are in Paris, you assume that women are fashion-aware, which colors all your judgments about dress, hairstyle, and other factors of appearance. Because you suppose the most stylish of intentions behind whatever the actual outcome, you will find seductive and ennobling qualities behind almost everything and anyone. What would be a dowdy old hag or a trampy termagant in the wrong part of Baltimore is suddenly the epitome of French cuteness. It’s a sophisticated variant on the “Emperor without cloths” syndrome.

via jfl via Tyler Cowen

I saw this in Tokyo, especially in the more "fashion-forward" districts like Harajuku. Because you know the Japanese are stylish, you rationalize all the crazy shit they wear into a cohesive story of thought-out fashion. Likewise, even if you just walked into Wego and put on the most ridiculous outfit you could find, most passersby would simply assume that you knew something they didn't.

Some fashion works because of a keen eye, intense effort, judicious research, and major guts. Other fashion works because of expectations about a particular environment and its inhabitants, and a natural aversion to cognitive dissonance.