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Understanding our alter ego #psychology

Many people will be returning to work today after the Christmas celebrations. They will be casting aside their onesies and Christmas jumpers in favour of overalls and uniforms. Even the plain business suit is a type of uniform that identifies not only the type of job a person does but to a certain extent their rank in society. Everyone has an alter ego, a way of dressing and behaving that is appropriate for their job. We in effect become a different person in order to do a job.

Santa alter ego


Santa must be the ultimate alter ego. It is really an alternative persona that must be maintained, at least in public, to maintain the myth that Santa is a kindly gentleman who gives Christmas gifts to children. This isn’t an all year around job, this is a role that is just for a short time and a role that people elect to take on. There are rewards for taking on this role but they are all of an emotional nature and maybe there is a quiet satisfaction in being part of that spirit of Christmas that makes it magical for children.

Designer egos

When people adorn themselves with designer clothes they adopt an alter ego too. Maybe not the kindly Santa sort of alter ego but perhaps more a ‘one of the lads’ sort of ego in Nike trainers and Levi jeans? I suppose those brands are old-fashioned now and have been replaced with Diesel and some other heavily promoted trainer. These designer egos are adopted by rich and poor alike. The rich in their Prada and Gucci found in the swish stores of Regent Street and the poor who might shop at one of the out-of-town ‘sports’ shops but seek out the designer brands that help them fit in with the crowd just the same as the rich. Both rich and poor will often spend more than they can afford to make a statement about themselves. The alter ego isn’t an entirely different person but an illusion, a statement and an attempt to simply fit in or perhaps stand out.

Alter ego

Some people dress quite different from everyone else. They have an alter ego that wants to stand out and not fit in. These are the entertainers, the writers, the poets and the artists. You have to be quite brave to fit in with this group. How do you dress when you’re a poet? How do musicians dress? How do artists dress? People often mention the fact I wear a hat in summer when I’m taking photos. It does have a practical use, it keeps the sun out of my eyes and rain off my glasses but it also helps to get me recognised. It has become part of my ‘uniform’ that gets me recognised as an artist or photographer. I am actually both and as I do a lot of writing too, perhaps a creative is a more accurate description.


The dress is only part of that alter ego, the behaviour is more important. Adopting an alter ego can be useful for attending a particular event, doing a particular job or for inspiring confidence. The person who dresses like a clown and behaves like a clown inspires confidence. Dress like a clown and don’t behave like a clown and it can be very scary.

That’s all for today. What are you dressed up as today? As always if you would like to follow my blog just enter your email address at the top of the sidebar.

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