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The tension between social media’s aspirational content and an economic climate, tightening the pockets of consumers around the globe has created a growing playground of masstige fashion brands. Masstige, the place where mass-market meets prestige includes household names such as Kurt Geiger, Michael Kors and House of CB among many others. Whilst it’s true that such brands allow consumers to dip a toe in the world of luxury without having to pay and arm and a leg, Psychologists have found an emotional component to our fondness for masstige fashion.

Image Source: H&M.com

The recently departed fashion icon Karl Lagerfeld is often hailed as a pioneer of masstige fashion. In 2004, Lagerfeld became the first luxury designer to collaborate with the Swedish high street giant H&M. Since then, we’ve seen several luxury houses from Roberto Cavalli (2007) to Moschino (2018) join H&M to produce collections for mass consumption. When we previously discussed the success of H&M’s collaborations we highlighted the importance of the Scarcity Principle. Although Lagerfeld vowed to never work with H&M again due to them not making enough clothes to suit the demand, scarcity is a powerful force, forcing consumers to buy or risk missing out. But what about the masstige brands, producing seasonal collections year round? How do these brand maintain popularity, consistently flood our timelines? Research by Keji Adebeshin (2015) has highlighted four key reasons behind their popularity.

Differentiation – when people buy from masstige brands it “gratifies a desire to be different from others to express personal tastes and to appear hip, stylish and unique”

Belonging – masstige products are used as a tool to form the basis for relationships, to impress others and to belong with others through collective consumption

Self-Care – Purchasing masstige products activates a ‘taking-care-of-me’ dimension where people purchase these products for special occasions or just to treat themselves.

Excitement – People have reported that masstige brands provide a sense of adventure and liberation

Where luxury products represent status and exclusivity, masstige products relies more on tapping into emotions and values shared by people at many income levels and many walks of life (Silverstein and Fiske 2003)

What are some of your favourite Masstige brands? Let us know in the comments.

Header Image Source: Instagram/@HouseofCB





Sadly, research has found that 75% of women in the UK lack confidence in the workplace and two thirds of UK women suffer from ‘Imposter Syndrome’ at work. Luckily, by being aware of the impact of attire on impression formation and feelings, women can choose the right clothes that will positively impact their self-perception.

Last week, it was my pleasure to reinforce the relationship between fashion and psychology by speaking at Next’s Workwear and Denim event. In an audience made up of influential bloggers and fashion and beauty experts, I revealed the psychological research behind some of Next’s must-have pieces that will enable women to #DressLikeABoss!

Here are 4 takeaways from my talk:

London, UK 23.01.19 Shakaila Forbes-Bell at the Next #DressLikeABoss Denim and Workwear event. Photography: John Hylton

1. Comfort is Key!

Next Cosy Roll Neck Jumper

When putting together your work attire always make sure that you consider your comfort first. An easy way to do this is by introducing soft shapes like skirts and soft fabrics such as jumpers into your wardrobe. This is because studies have shown that clothing comfort effects cognitive performance and uncomfortable clothing is associated with distraction and increased cognitive load. (Bell, Cardello & Schutz 2005)

2. Formal clothes allow you to think differently

Next Double Breasted Relaxed Suit

Taking a formal approach to business attire is advised as research has found that wearing formal clothes makes people think more broadly and holistically, rather than narrowly. It also encourages people to think about the fine-grained details. Additionally, wearing a suit encourages people to use abstract processing more readily than concrete processing. That essentially means it encourages people to think outside of the box (Slepian et al, 2015)!

3. Darker denim is best for High-Low dressing

Next Lift, Slim And Shape Slim Jeans

In more casual work environments, integrating denim into your work attire is an easy way to get the best benefits out of formal and casual clothing. A study on teachers found that those wearing jeans were rated highly on sociability and extraversion and were deemed to be more interesting (Morris et al, 1996). Also, dark denim is associated with higher prices (Rahman, ‎2012) and thus, the wearer may appear more successful.

4. Black clothes evoke authority

Next Black Jumpsuit

According to Damhorst and Reed (1986), managers evaluate job applicants wearing black clothing as possessing more integrity and a greater moral reputation. Managers or those in higher positions are also encouraged to embrace the hue as those wearing black clothing were found to have a greater influence over others in group settings (Vrij, Pannell, Ost, 2005).

London, UK 23.01.19 Shakaila Forbes-Bell at the Next #DressLikeABoss Denim and Workwear event. Photography: John Hylton