We got the opportunity to speak to esteemed Fashion Psychologist Karen Pine. We asked her everything from how to effectively cultivate a personal style to what it takes to make it in the field of Fashion Psychology.
What does The Psychology of Fashion mean to you?
It means applying the scientific rigour of psychology to the understanding of a ubiquitous area of human behaviour, clothing, why we wear what we wear and what effect it has on us and on others around us.
Do you think there’s a link between personal style and mental health?
Absolutely. Our clothes reflect our mental state (i.e. whether we are happy or depressed), they also influence our mental state. That means we can put on something that will either boost our mood and make us feel happy and confident or have the opposite effect.
What is the best way for someone to cultivate a strong personal style?
To cultivate a strong personal style we need to constantly find ways of keeping it fresh and not get stuck in a clothes rut. Be adventurous, wear something that expresses your personality, don’t just wear what’s in fashion (it may not suit you), experiment a little and ask other people for feedback.
We are creatures of habit so we tend to stick to what we know and usually buy clothes that are similar to what we already have. We may have hang-ups about particular styles, shapes or colours that come from childhood, from bad memories or from what others have said to us, and these can limit our choices and hold us back. Unfortunately we also too often let fashion editors and marketers dictate our clothing choices, because they are in the business of taking our money they put us under a lot of pressure to feel we ‘have’ to have the latest look.
There is no real career path in fashion psychology – you won’t find it mentioned when training to be a psychologist. I would say hone your academic skills first, get a good psychology degree and a post-graduate qualification, conduct robust research and look for opportunities to apply what you know.
What do you think the future holds for the field of Fashion Psychology?
The outlook is positive because the fashion world is waking up to the fact that clothes don’t just have to look good they have to make us feel good too. We are all becoming more emotionally intelligent, demanding greater happiness and wellbeing in our lives, therefore fashion psychology can contribute to those lifestyle aspirations.