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Use Clothing to Create a Sense of Belonging

A family reunion creates a bond of belonging among family members. Clothing and logos are simple but powerful ways to increase that bond. You can take advantage of them to bring your family closer together.

Don't you love it when you feel you belong? One of the most meaninfgul and valuable things you can do is help your family members feel they belong to your family.

Social scientists have discovered that it is surprisingly easy to get people to feel they belong. You do it by helping them see and focus on the similarities they share. Visual cues are important.

Clothing as a Visual Sign

When it comes to a family reunion, you can create a greater sense of belonging with something as simple as a t-shirt. Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin*, performed an experiment with children in which they created a sense of belonging simply by dividing them into groups and giving each group its own color of t-shirt.

You can also use flags, hats, buttons, bookbags and other items to visually show family members they are "the same."


Another useful way to help people in your family feel they are similar is to use a logo. A logo is a symbol that identifies your group. You include it on your t-shirt and everything else that has to do with your family reunion: the invitation, the signs, the menu--everything!

Looking "Identical" Creates Identity

Looking identical makes similarity obvious. Everything you use to create a sense of belonging should be identical. The t-shirts should be the same cut and color. Caps should be the same type and color. (This is where having a color scheme helps.)

If you want to enhance the feeling of belonging that family members have, provide them with matching t-shirts, logos and other visual elements that show them and the whole world how similar they are.

Take a moment to jot down ways you can help family members see their similarities.

*Patterson, Meagan M. and Bigler, Rebecca S.
Effects of Physical Atypicality on Children's Social Identities and Intergroup Attitudes. International Journal of Behavioral Development. Vol. 31 (2007), No. 5, 433-444.