I may not have coined the phrase, but I connect with and believe in “fashion psychology”,  a concept pioneered by Dr. Carolyn Mair, a renowned British psychologist and scientist with a Ph.D. in cognitive neuroscience. Dr. Mair has developed a masters program in Fashion Psychology at The London College of Fashion. She says her field is working on not only fashion but also human behavior across all aspects of fashion, from design through the entire supply chain, to how we purchase and what we do with clothing we no longer want. She explores the big picture of individual, societal, and environmental impact that results directly or indirectly from the fashion industries. Boy, there is a lot to fashion!

Experts in Fashion

Brand consultant and professor, Dawnn Karen is bringing Fashion Psychology to the US market place. She gets her creds as a professor at the prestigious Fashion Institute of Technology in New York,  where she is another forerunner in the field. 

Dawnn Karen is the founder of the Fashion Psychology Institute. specializing in “styling from the inside out and by bridging the gap between perception and reality.”  She developed her own lexicon of terms to describe why people wear the clothes they do. She claims the “mood enhancement theory” explains why a clothing choice can boost someone’s mood, while her “repetitious wardrobe complex” explains the psychology behind wearing the same thing over and over. 

In addition to her academic writing, Karen offers a list of services to businesses and high-profile individuals looking to keep their image in check. She charges $1,000 – $5,000 per month to assess how her clients use clothes as either a crutch needing to be eliminated or a means to empower. 

Finding what Works for Your Own Fashion

I’m not ready to invest in her services, but do use her principles when I decide what to wear. When dressing for the day, I review my schedule and select the clothes and accessories that will help me feel my best for whatever the main event is that day. Sometimes I am seeking the strength and confidence that comes from a bold color. Other times, I want that subtle, chic feel that an all-black outfit can impart. My goal is to enter the world feeling confident and empowered.

The real test of whether something belongs in my wardrobe is whether it makes me feel great. When I put something on, I should look in the mirror and feel pleased and stronger. The color, fit, and style should all help build confidence. Sometimes that confidence comes from the beauty of the fabric or pattern of the material. It’s always about how the garment maximizes figure features or hides what I feel are my flaws. Sometimes it’s how the outfit serves as the backdrop for some killer accessories. 

I’m not claiming mastery of fashion psychology but appreciate and believe in the impact that clothing and accessories have on enhancing or diminishing how I feel. There is power in getting in touch with how your attire helps you be your best self.