For this week’s Science + Style article, we talk about one of the most basic theoretical ideas in personality theory. Sigmund Freud’s theory of the human psyche splits it into 3 parts – the id, the ego, and the superego – which attempt to drive human behavior.
The Id, the Ego, and the Superego:
First is the id, which is the part of your being that is controlled by primitive, instinctual needs. These needs are driven by impulses and instant gratification, so they are often irrational and can be aggressive.
For example, the id is the part of your brain saying, “OMG let’s eat pizza” and when the person at the front of the line is taking forever to place their order, your id would want to push in front of everyone to get to that cheesy goodness.
The id can motivate one to go satisfy basic needs, or it can be the anger when you want to get home but get stuck in traffic.
The ego is the voice of reason. It operates according to the reality principle, a.k.a. it works out feasible ways to satisfy id, the screaming toddler, and may delay satisfaction if that’s what etiquette tells you.
Basically, the ego says “I know you want pizza, but don’t worry, you’ll get to order soon. Also if you push in front of people in this line and run into the kitchen to start eating pizza, you’ll be forever known as 'The Pizza Girl' and you’ll be banned from this pizzeria. That would be mozza-hella embarrassing.” (Disclaimer: your ego may or may not make these amazing puns).
The nuance is that the ego has no concept of right or wrong, though; it just tries to compromise the demands of the id with what is socially acceptable.
Usually the last to develop, the superego makes judgments about what is right and wrong using your moral code. These social rules are ingrained by your environment and cultural norms. The superego may agree with the ego in terms of what action one must be taking (i.e. waiting in line), but it may convert the ego’s rationale into moralistic reasons.
This superego has two systems: the conscience and the ideal self.
The conscience is the superego’s strategy to guilt-trip you. “Even if you’re not banned from Allegro’s Pizzeria and even if no one remembers your face, it would be so wrong to just cut everyone who has been waiting patiently. So, can you guys not. Thanks.”
The other system is the ideal self, the imaginary picture of how you want to be. “Let’s be good people who wait in line at the store! Also let’s not eat all the pizza in the kitchen because we need to take care of our arteries for our future health!” The superego encompasses your morality and represents your future aspirations.
Hopefully, now that you know more about one theory of your behavior, you won’t be given any final ul-tomato-ms in any pizzerias! Let’s move on to the outfits.
On a Whim
This first casual outfit can be worn on any day and is inspired by the capricious id, the reckless dreamer in you that wants what she wants and says whatever she feels.
I styled this bright rust-colored corduroy skirt, which resembles the energy of the id, with a laid-back cropped hoodie because every girl just wants to feel comfortable. Then I added these high-knee socks with sharp leather booties to create a schoolgirl chic vibe for the kid in you. Bonus: if you can't afford over-the-knee boots as a poor college student, this combination gives the same effect for less!
Finally, I added a sassy cat purse with some mismatched star earrings. This key chain adds an extra amount of sass and just tells everyone the honest truth.
Voice of Reason
This outfit embodies the ego; it is sensible and put-together and would look great for a coffee date, followed by a visit to the library.
Wear this white button-down over paneled leggings, and throw on a boxy bouclé coat on top to keep warm and to add structure. These velvet oxblood loafers and purse take advantage of the huge velvet trend right now, and they also add pops of color.
Even though it's basically a shirt over some leggings, the look will instantly make you look put-together, like the ego that keeps your inner desire in check. Lastly, add these gold and white earrings that symbolize the balance in your decision-making.
This third look is the epitome of proper and pure like the superego that reminds you of the right thing do to. It's perfect for a nice brunch or a fancy dinner.
This lace mock neck top adds an angelic aura paired with the blush high-waisted pants. Paired with a dove grey bag and soft heels, you will look light and ethereal. These stacked gold rings resemble arrows that point you into the right direction whenever you feel lost!
Which of the 3 constructs (the id, the ego, or the superego) do you most relate to? Which of these is your favorite outfit? Let me know in the comments below!