Clothing in Dreams

I know some dreamers who have such detailed recall they can describe what everyone in the dream is wearing. For me, I generally only recall clothing when I (as the viewpoint character) or another character in the dream is wearing something distinctive. I remember one dream from several years ago in which I walk down a hill in the middle of the street with Bill Murray. I’m wearing bright yellow overalls with paint splatters on them, and he gives me a handful of coins.

If I actually owned bright yellow overalls, the meanings might be different, but since these were straight out of the dream costume shop, I paid close attention to trying to understand their significance. I explored all my associations with that color yellow and the paint splatters on the clothes. My dream invited me to be more confident and “showy” in my artistic endeavors.

Clothing, as a metaphor, represents the way we present ourselves to the world. If the dreamer is usually a conservative dresser and the dream shows wild or revealing dress with no one else in the dream acting shocked or surprised, it might mean that the dreamer can show a wider range of self-expression without offending social norms. Or if I notice that my dinner companion in the dream is wearing a shirt that looks old-fashioned, perhaps I’ve been sitting with an old-fashioned idea or attitude.

Dreaming of wearing costumes adds another layer of meaning to the idea that clothes represent the way I show myself to the world. A costume suggests that I’m pretending to be something or someone that I’m not, or that there’s some part of me needing expression that is alien to who I think I am.

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