Conformity is a social influence that involves a change of thoughts, feelings, or behavior to fit in a group. The influence can involve the physical existence of others or pressure due to social beliefs and expectations. Regarding fashion, men and women may conform due to normative factors in order to be liked by others or for identification in order to conform to an implied social role (Burger, 2018). Men and women conform to social influences differently as women seem to be more pursuable and conforming than men in group pressure situations.
Normative social influence causes people to conform to fashion trends. Normative conformity in social psychology theory is the influence to conform to something for the approval and acceptance of others (Ross, 2007, 3:23) . They conform due to pressure for approval and acceptance (Aronson, Wilson, Akert, & Sommers, 2019). People tend to conform to fashion trends because they want to conform to the entire population with regards to style. They conform to fit in the social groups and gain acceptance even though they might not agree with the trend.
Informal social influence also affects conformity to fashion trends. Informal social influence involves listening and abiding by others not for approval but because an individual thinks they know more (Ross, 2017, 3:56). Hyper-masculinity and hyper-femininity affect conformity to a certain fashion trend. Women are seen to wear feminine clothes and men stick to masculine ones. A deviation from this results in consequences implemented by people whose views are in line with societal implicit rules. Both men and women thus tend to conform to fashion based on masculinity and feminism rules.
Reference groups are a factor in conformity towards fashion trends. Reference groups in social psychology are groups individuals use for evaluating themselves and their behavior. Women tend to be influenced by the people they admire. Most of them look at models, for example, and wish to look the same way as them. Therefore, they conform to the fashion trends of the people they admire.
Aronson, E., Wilson, T. D., Akert, R. M., & Sommers, S. R. (2019). Social psychology (10th ed.). Boston: Pearson.
Burger, J. (2018). Conformity and Obedience. General Psychology, 10-17.
Ross, D. (2007, December 22). Asch Conformity Experiment [Video file]. Retrieved from
Ross, D. (2017, April 14). Brain Games-Conformity. [Video file]. Retrieved from