Fear of Clothing

Many people wear clothes that fit well and are flattering. They wear clothes that are comfortable and tend to reflect the character of the one wearing them. This could be stately, confident, causal or perhaps even something that indicates a personal embarrassment. Those who fear clothing are said to suffer with Vestiphobia.

The idea of a clothing fear may seem odd simply because we may be more likely to believe  that an individual would fear nudity to a greater degree. In fact the idea of going without clothes may instill its own set of fear.

What Causes Vestiphobia?

We will get to what I believe is the most common reason for this fear in a moment, but let’s take a look at some of the other usual suspects in fear.

A personal experience may cause an individual to feel fear. That fear can escalate to a phobia if left unchecked. I’ll give you a personal example. I’ve been bitten by both a brown recluse spider that found its way into a pair or jeans as well as a yellow jacket wasp that crawled into a shirt. I can envision a scenario where those instances could leave me gun shy about putting clothes on in the morning. I could in essence view my clothing as the source of pain and discomfort. This is especially true if I already had an existing fear of spiders and wasps.

In an odd scenario it might be possible to have a parent who feared clothing. They may have endured wearing their clothes during the day, but they may have shed much of their clothing once they were safe behind closed curtains. This behavior may have been viewed as normal and their fear was accepted as normal.

However, what I believe to be the greatest potential source of clothing fear is the fear of small spaces or claustrophobia. This is the fear some men feel if they are asked to wear a suit and tie. This is the fear some women experience if they are asked to wear any tight fitting clothing. The fear may not actually be clothing, but the fear of being pressed in from all sides and feeling as if there is no way to escape.

Symptoms of Vestiphobia

As alluded to in the last section one of the symptoms of this fear is a sense of panic related to the wearing of clothing. There may be some clothing that brings about a greater response than others, but a vestiphobe may wear clothes only for decorum sake – and it can become harder every day just to fit in.

Other symptoms may also include…

  • Air hunger
  • Trembling
  • Fainting
  • Feeling as if you are being strangled
  • Screaming
  • Crying

The sense of panic may be uncommonly strong in a vestiphobe. Because this is true they will likely avoid social interactions.

How to Overcome Vestiphobia

This fear may be best dealt with in sessions with a trusted therapist who can help you deal with the feelings of oppression related to your fear of clothing. Multiple therapies exist that could help.

The fear of clothing is also referred to as:

  • Clothing fear
  • Vestiphobia
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