Design and Product Development

An Exploratory Study of the Impact of Optical Illusion Garments on Women's Self-Perceptions

  • Jessica Ridgway (Northern Illinois University)
  • Jeannie Parsons (University of Missouri)
  • MyungHee Sohn (California State University, Long Beach)


Although previous research provides insight into how women construct and idealize their appearance through clothing, the connection to the design elements of a garment is lacking. Using an exploratory approach, this study, theoretically grounded in the self-discrepancy theory (Higgins, 1987), investigated women’s perceptions of their body shapes. The aim of this study was to explore these perceptions through garments created with optical illusion prints or patterns. The following research questions were explored: RQ1: How do optical illusion garments affect the visual perception of body shape? RQ1a: Does the effect of optical illusion garments vary depending on body shape (hourglass, rectangle, and spoon)? RQ2: Do optical illusion garments positively or negatively affect a woman’s perception of her body shape? RQ3: Do optical illusion garments aid the wearer in moving from their actual self toward their ideal self? RQ4: Do optical illusion garments increase a woman’s body satisfaction?

How to Cite:

Ridgway, J. & Parsons, J. & Sohn, M., (2015) “An Exploratory Study of the Impact of Optical Illusion Garments on Women's Self-Perceptions”, International Textile and Apparel Association Annual Conference Proceedings 72(1).

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Published on
12 Nov 2015
Peer Reviewed