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Maisie Allum

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I was thrilled to chat with Vita Daily to discuss the embrace of creative layering and wrapping following the pandemic as a way to regain control of our image. Aswell as the latest on NYFW, Wearapy and how these trends can postively impact perceptions.

“The trends to note this season have normalized functional fashion, which takes a maximalist approach to minimalism and a twist on creative layering. Together, these trends combine all the benefits of comfort dressing, dopamine dressing and cocooning. As a pandemic trend, they are now influencing the next generation of streetwear. Colour, comfort and emotion are often intertwined, making these trends an expression of Wearapy, a core theme on the NYFW runways.”

“Wearapy is the practice of using clothes to help boost your mood, confront your feelings and successfully navigate different emotional states. It’s an extension of the dopamine dressing trend, where we saw people embrace dressing as a form of therapy, a way to find comfort in something tangible and improve their mood. Colour, style, and texture can all have psychological associations. In this instance, we are starting to see a desire to showcase moods, memories and selves through clothing style.” 
“Styling tips include marrying non-traditional pieces or even clashing accessories to create a unique look. Regardless of what we want to believe about human perception, it takes only a few moments to make a snap judgment of a person and one of those deciding factors is clothing. With a layered look, dressing appears intentional, denoting a sense of security. Someone who took the time to layer an outfit aesthetically can appear more organized or detail-oriented, efficient and intelligent.”

If you would like to read on, find the article here!

We make assumptions about someones personal and occupational attributes in the first 0.10 seconds (yes, that quick) of seeing them. But how much do our fits affect these judgements? Well, research suggests that what we wear may have a tremendous impact on first impressions… even more than you think!

Here at Fashion is Psychology we’ve devised a list of the most popular studies on clothing and perception. Perhaps you can gain a few tips or two on what you want your clothes to say about you!

Participants were shown images of a man wearing a dark blue bespoke (made-to-measure) and a regular (off-the-peg) suit. They were also shown images of a woman wearing a navy skirt suit and a trouser suit. Participants were asked to rate the individuals confidence, success, trustworthiness, salary and flexibility based on the images. 

A more positive impression of the man was created by the bespoke suit than the off-the-peg suit as he was rated more positively on all five attributes. The woman was perceived more positively in a skirt suit than in a trouser suit, perhaps because it maintains an identity that balances professionalism with attractiveness.

Take away: Clothing fit is just as important as clothing style when it comes to first impressions. Alter your clothing for the perfect fit or take a trip to the tailor if you can.

Researchers observed men having conversations with women wearing different coloured shirts. 

It was found that men asked women more personal and intimate questions when they were wearing a red shirt opposed to women wearing green shirts. Likewise, men sat closer to women in red compared to blue shirts. It is argued that red is associated with sexual receptivity due to cultural pairings of red and female sexuality. 

Take away: The science says dressing in red may be the hue that woos! 

Waitresses were observed during their shift when wearing a flower in their hair for two nights and not wearing a flower for two nights. 

The results showed that diners left larger tips for waitresses who wore a flower in their hair than the same waitresses without a flower.

A further study extended the results of this study by showing that the positive effect of ornamentation on tipping was found whether the waitresses used floral ornaments or other ornaments (a barrette with a flower, a little bird, or a sprig of black currant).

Take away: Don’t under estimate the power of subtle, seemingly insignificant items of clothing, they may serve as predictor for how others behave towards you!

Participants provided images of their most worn pair of shoes, they then disclosed parts of their personality and their age, gender and income to the researchers.

A separate group of participants then anonymously looked at the pictures of shoes and made judgements about the shoe owners. They were asked to make judgements about the shoe owners. 

Surprisingly, results revealed that the shoe owners’ age, gender, income was accurately determined just based off these images of their shoes! They could even guess their attachment style- crazy!

Take away: People evaluate you off your shoes whether that’s your crocs or your heels, they be finding out about your character!

Fake and counterfeit goods promote unethical behaviour

Participants who thought they were wearing fake Chloe sunglasses cheated significantly more on tasks than those who thought they were wearing authentic Chloe sunglasses.

Participants who believed they were wearing counterfeit Chloe sunglasses perceived others’ behaviours as more dishonest, less truthful, and more likely to be unethical than those wearing real ones.

The effect of wearing counterfeit Chloe sunglasses on one’s own behaviour was due to the meaning of inauthenticity attributed to the fake sunglasses.

Takeaway: Although we buy counterfeits to signal positive traits, it may cause us to behave dishonestly and judge others as dishonest. Don’t fake it hun!

Dressing for Success: Effects of Layering on Perceptions of Women in Business

Participants viewed sketches of business men and women. Within each sex, one person wore a dark blue jacket and skirt, and another wore the same outfit without the jacket. 

The researchers concluded that the “layered look” (vest and/or jacket) presented a more authoritative image than the nonlayered for both sexes.

Takeaway: If you want to be listened to – Layer up, girl!

So everytime you get dressed it is important to ask yourself: what are my clothes saying about me? because after all “First impressions count!”. 

Here at Fashion is Psychology we were delighted to be invited to the press conference to learn all about Red Carpet Green Dress™ (RCGD), a women-led global change-making organisation born out of a need for more ethical clothing. 

RCGD hosts an annual design competition open to those with an interest or passion for sustainability. Previously, the organisation has teamed up with many designers to create red carpet-worthy looks for stars including Lakeith Stanfield who illustrated ethical high-end fashion at the 2018 Oscars. 

Samata Pattinson CEO says

“by bringing together young and established talents, we hope to encourage more designers to take a proactive step to building a more eco-friendly fashion world”. 

Suzy Amis Cameron (RCGD Founder) & Lakeith Stanfield, Oscars 2018

RCGD x TENCEL™ x CLO Virtual 2021

This year, applicants presented a digital sketch of their sustainable red carpet design before the international contest closed in August. One gown and one suit design were selected by the international contest judging panel, consisting of Suzy Amis Cameron (RCGD Founder), Harold Weghorst (Vice President of Global Marketing & Branding, Lenzing AG), Micaela Erlanger (Celebrity Fashion Stylist) and Abrima Erwiah (Co-founder of Studio 189).

Who are the winners of this years contest?

The judging panel are delighted to announce this year’s winning duo: Yuriko Fukuda and Zhi Hong Benjamin Koh. 

Born in Japan, UK-based Yuriko Fukuda is this year’s womenswear winner. 

“Expressing myself through design feels like meditation. Our minds and art are indeed interconnected, having a bidirectional impact on our mental health. Fashion is a work of art and I believe it has the power to control our mind and body.” 

Singapore-based fashion, textile and product designer Zhi Hong Benjamin Koh is this year’s menswear winner. 

“In 2016, I founded The Material Atelier by 本 (BEN), a multi-disciplinary creative studio focused on seeking sustainable fashion, featuring collaborations with local artists to create sustainable wearable art. One of our goals is to inform the public through informative videos about what goes into the material and the design of their garments… I joined RCGD with the hope of sharing our sustainable fashion vision.” 

What prize will the winners receive?

The looks will be showcased as part of an exhibition to leading sustainable advocates in Los Angeles. All winners will be introduced to a sustainable fashion and entertainment audience from across the globe, alongside a monetary award. The winners will also receive business mentorship with RCGD’s CEO Samata Pattinson, support and access to RCGD’s extensive network, and creative support for their fledgling careers.

The designs chosen by the winners will be put into production in early 2022 with sustainable eco-couture textiles in collaboration with TENCEL™ and sponsored by CLO.

Harold Weghorst, TENCEL™, textile speciality brand, CEO, hopes RCGD will inspire future generations to be sustainable as the competition showcases the beauty of eco-friendly designs to the world. He emphasises the importance of “maximising impact whilst minimising footprint”.

CEO of CLO Virtual Fashion, Simon Kim expresses that technology is the answer to operate more sustainably as Virtual Fashion provides expandability to create designs in a socially responsible way.

Next, we asked CEO Samata Pattinson to give her take on Fashion Psychology:

Fashion is Psychology: How would you describe the psychology behind buying sustainably?

Samata Pattinson: I think everyone has a different mindset. For me, buying sustainably is about the questions I ask myself before making a purchase and approaching the idea of consumption from a minimalist point of view. I look at bringing something into my life that I value, knowing we all value things differently.

The psychology behind sustainability is one of constantly balancing discernment and joy. Discernment in being selective about the purchases being made and having the genuine interest to find out more about those stories. Balanced with the joy of wanting to bring something into your life that has been made in a way that is respectful to people and the planet. 

I think when you take an interest in sustainability your approach to purchasing is accepting every purchase is part of a bigger picture.



FiP: How can we make sustainability more accessible?

Samata: I think this means recognising that people have different education levels, different awareness levels, different access levels and then understanding this means you must speak to people in different ways. Not every single person is looking at sustainability with the same perspective, and if we don’t adjust the lens which we are speaking through then we run into the danger of painting every situation with the same colour. In addition, we sometimes approach these conversations as if we’re teaching people things that they already know, and that can be quite patronising.

So perhaps what is missing is humility and awareness that education is a two-way conversation, and ensuring we show compassion about peoples’ different existences.

FiP: How does RCGD improve overall well-being?

Samata: Well-being is defined by different people from different perspectives from us. We try and focus on education-making opportunities for people to learn and empower themselves with knowledge and understanding. 

For me, education is a huge part of my personal well-being, having a better understanding of the world around me. We create opportunities, which means we try and reach talent in all corners of the globe to show the importance of the narrative not being dominated by a small power cluster. The contest we have live right now in partnership with TENCEL and CLO is about pushing to reach creatives from community colleges to high performing colleges. 

That range is important – we want creatives in different places to feel seen and welcome. We also believe strongly in taking these conversations into places where average people exist, not just having them in silos of eco-warrior spaces. 

All of this is how we see sustainability is being de-stigmatised and becoming a more accessible conversation in space.



The competition has our full support in helping draw attention to the importance of more positive practices in fashion. You can find out more by visiting the website here.

We often think of our clothes as things, as possessions separate from ourselves when in reality, they act as a second skin. Your personal style can help you befriend your body and manage your moods, meaning that your choice of outfit can have a profound effect on how you feel. So, to celebrate the power of clothing to help you lean into who you truly are the FiP team have started a new series called #mysecondskin where we’ll be speaking to people from all walks of life about the role that their wardrobe plays in their everyday life. For our tenth instalment, we’re speaking to the founder of @tickover , Bryony Porter. 

Bryony Porter

Bryony Porter (she/her) is a seamster, craftivist and visible mender living on a canal boat in South West England. She enjoys using embroidery as a medium to challenge the fashion industry which exists at the expense of both people and the planet. She spreads awareness by posting her embroidery to her Instagram, @tickover, which has racked up a huge following.

Here’s what Bryony had to say when we asked her about her relationship with her own clothing: 

1. How do your clothes make you feel?

To be honest, clothes more often than not are just clothes to me. The right fit and style can make me feel great. Sometimes I love to dress up in a more vintage 50s style, rarely now-a-days. Sometimes I’m really proud of my repairs and patches, other times I feel very scruffy and wish that I had a fierce wardrobe. Sometimes I want to throw everything out and buy things that my present self would wear, rather than wearing the things I bought years ago and that have been given to me but aren’t really my style… But that’s never going to happen. 

2. What is your most treasured item, that brings you joy?

My most treasured item is this vintage 1950s dress, because its the oldest thing that I own. I love the synched in waist and full skirt. Putting it on after lockdown, I realise it needs a bit of letting out and perhaps a dry clean, that and I need to make an occasion to wear it.

I love the idea that it belonged to someone else before me, where did they go? What did they eat in it? Where has it travelled? And hopefully, when I’m done with it, it will intrigue someone else just as much.

3. Do you believe your clothes are political/ define you in any way?

All decisions are political, including what we chose to buy and wear on our body. Since all clothing is made by human hands, every piece in our wardrobe is connected to garment makers all over the world.

Whilst all deserving of equal rights, dignified working conditions and living wages their individual realties are not often shared. Perhaps the individual that made your jumper is protesting against the military coup in Myanmar? That grew the cotton to make your underwear is fighting for farmers’ rights in India. Against union busting in Sri-Lanka, for the Accord to be extended in Bangladesh, against gender-based violence in Lesotho.

Maybe they have lost their job due to the Covid-19 pandemic and are struggling to feed their family. Or perhaps they have been displaced by the climate crisis, of which the fashion industry has played an enormous part. 

4. Has Covid-19 changed your relationship with your clothes?

Whilst my living as a seamster is dependent on garment workers and I see a direct transaction between the clothing made by others that I alter and repair and the food on my table this is a shift in perspective that I have learned through the pandemic.

I was privileged to be furloughed during the lockdowns of the Covid-19 pandemic for many months and this was highlighted by the stark contrast of my living situation and safety and that of others both that lost jobs and that had to make clothes at detriment to their own wellbeing. The pandemic highlighted the fashion industry as a system that was already broken, like nothing else.

Personally being furloughed gave me the space to do more learning, reflection and “activism” than when I’m working my day job although I was desperate to get back to sewing. Generally I wear a minimal wardrobe and repair the hell out of it, since I was practically living in my pyjamas they gained more repairs than usual. 

5. What are you planning on buying next?

Right now I don’t think that there’s anything that I actually need. I have limited space on my narrowboat for new clothes and can never throw anything away, no matter how old and patched, so getting new clothes comes at the cost of always stubbing my toe on the drawers that stick out from under my bed that I need to force closed. 

We often think of our clothes as things, as possessions separate from ourselves when in reality, they act as a second skin. Your personal style can help you befriend your body and manage your moods, meaning that your choice of outfit can have a profound effect on how you feel. So, to celebrate the power of clothing to help you lean into who you truly are the FiP team have started a new series called #mysecondskin where we’ll be speaking to people from all walks of life about the role that their wardrobe plays in their everyday life. For our ninth instalment, we’re speaking to CEO of Red Carpet Green Dress, Samata Pattinson.

Samata Pattinson

Samata is a British born Ghanaian entrepreneur working across fashion and media. She is the CEO of sustainable Oscars® design campaign Red Carpet Green Dress, published author of The Fashion Designer’s Resource Book, and founder of THE TRIBE™, a global collective, created for women to empower and celebrate each other. Visit SamataHome.com, a portal for her work, personal style and more to discover all.

“Fashion has always been a second skin to me, I never understand when people say they aren’t involved in it – if you wear clothes, you are involved in it.”

Here’s what Samata had to say when we asked her about her relationship with her own clothing: 

1. How do your clothes make you feel?

My clothes make me feel enhanced, protected, seen and understood, comforted, dignified, beautiful, sensual and cultured.

2. What is your most treasured item, that brings you joy?

I treasure all my things differently, but right now I would say I am really comfortable in my Rothy’s slippers and a Headwrap. I also love this bag from Maison Eli which features Cowrie beads which are significant in Ghanaian culture – they symbolise destiny and prosperity. It’s hard to pick as I love all the things I have. I feel carefree and light, in them.

3. Do you believe your clothes are political/ define you in any way?

Absolutely, even existing in western society and being able to dress a certain way to show parts of your skin, to wear certain fitted jeans and to be able to walk down the street without that being against the norm – it’s all political in the context of societies we live.

In addition if I decide to wear something that has a bit more of a statement culturally, whether it’s traditional Ghanaian fabrics with those prints, or if I choose to wear my head wrapped up, all of that is in a way a conversation that gives insight into my views on my culture and that is definitely political.

I do think there’s this idea of Soft or Hard politics in fashion and some of these are politics which are an invitation for a conversation, versus perhaps a T-shirt or item of clothing which shows an alignment to a specific political ideology.

4. Has Covid-19 changed your relationship with your clothes?

No, I always looked for a story first, I always shopped discerningly and never with real impulse because my mindset completely shifted when I started on my sustainability journey.

From a personal perspective, I was always customising, tailoring and fixing the clothes I had, beyond initally being really selective about what I bought and so on, so it hasn’t really changed me a great deal.

If anything it’s giving me the opportunity to talk to other people about how their relationship with fashion has developed, which has been exciting for me to hear about more people starting and developing their own journeys.

5. What are you planning on buying next?

I honestly don’t need anything right now, I’m always open to seeing beautiful pieces of fabric which can be tied as a top or a head wrap or something but right now I don’t have a need. Or a want. If anything it’s something for my 3 year old who is growing like a tree.

I’m sure it comes as no surprise to you that Covid has forced fashion businesses to accelerate their digital transformation. Technology has become more of a necessity than ever before, rather than just something experimental, hence the rise of virtual influencers and models

The computer-generated images (CGI) help to promote products and share fashion content. Brands ask their agencies such as @thediigitals if they can digitally wear their designs, just like real-life models. An example, I’m sure most of you are familiar with is Lil Miquela, who has racked up 3million followers and collabed with many well known brands.

CGI Humans as a marketing Strategie

Virtual Influencers have almost three times more engagement than real influencers now (shocking, I know). Research revealed that consumers’ interaction with digital humans may change the way businesses interact with consumers regarding communication channels.⁠ The findings unveil positive consumer attitudes towards interacting with digital humans. However, it is interesting to note that men were significantly more positive towards their intention to interact with digital humans than women.⁠

So, what effects will virtual models have on consumers?

In the fashion industry, the most common concerns for consumers are what CGI models mean for setting realistic body standards and the overall influence on body image. The negative impact of fashion models on appearance is not new to us. There is already numerous criticism relating to the number of images of models with a slim physique and activists campaigning against the false representation of beauty on social media. There is no wonder that virtual models would have an impact on consumers who desire to possess a thin image and be seen as fashionable. 

Transparency and Authenticity

Now due to the rise of technology we have the most perfect models who don’t even really exist marketing our clothes. So, with authenticity already a big issue wouldn’t you agree CGI models are a step too far? 

 

Shudo Gramm is another famous virtual model, she is based on a barbie doll, the princess of South Africa, instead of a real person. At least when we were younger we knew that Barbie was just a doll, but will younger children think she is real? 

 

A study implied that early exposure to dolls epitomising an unrealistically thin body ideal may damage girls’ body image, which would contribute to an increased risk of disordered eating and weight cycling. So if toy dolls weren’t bad enough, we now have models based on dolls but without really knowing if they are real. 

Virtual Models and Social Comparison

From a psychological perspective, one of the negative consequences of virtual models is social comparison.  Instagram has created a ‘comparison culture’ amongst its users and the lack of transparency of models is a big issue in terms of social comparison. ‘Social Comparison Theory’ suggests individuals drive to evaluate their progress and in the absence of objective standards, people compare themselves to others to know where they stand. 

Women that define self-worth by meeting idealised beauty standards could be more likely to engage in social comparisons. This is because the tendency to base one’s self-worth on appearance often has negative consequences for affect and esteem. It can also negatively influence consumers to engage in behaviour in an attempt to achieve unrealistic beauty standards.

Upward comparisons occur when consumers compare the self, often subconsciously,  with a model’s body as it is perceived to be “better”, but this can lead to negative self-perceptions. 

But, are virtual models really that bad?

With everyone using GCI more often such as Instagram filters and being constantly exposed to retouched models in beauty marketing they can be argued to be just like what we already have. 

Cameron James Wilson, the creator of Shudu said he’s “adding imperfections rather than taking them away, you’ll see more natural imperfections on Shudu’s page than your average influencer.” A Virtual plus-size model with visible stretch marks has also been introduced, Shudu sister, and Lil Miquela has posted displaying her armpit hair. This suggests that using virtual images as a marketing strategy could be used to promote self-acceptance, prosocial emotions and enhance self-esteem. 

Ads are more effective when the physical features of human models match those of consumers, so consumers may be more likely to purchase as the model looks more similar to them. As people prefer brands that are humanised, so basically the more human-looking these nonhumans look, the better. Consumers may think, if even the most perfectly made models have these perceived flaws mine must be accepted?

To sum up, though brands should embrace new technologies that add value for the consumer, they should be wary of the ethical challenges that CGI influencers pose to an industry that should be built on transparency and authenticity. 

I think it’s all about curating your feed, Instagram is said to be one of the most inclusive platforms if we use it properly and limit our exposure to unrealistic beauty standards.

We often think of our clothes as things, as possessions separate from ourselves when in reality, they act as a second skin. Your personal style can help you befriend your body and manage your moods, meaning that your choice of outfit can have a profound effect on how you feel. So, to celebrate the power of clothing to help you lean into who you truly are the FiP team have started a new series called #mysecondskin where we’ll be speaking to people from all walks of life about the role that their wardrobe plays in their everyday life. For our eighth instalment, we’re speaking to Senior Creative at ASOS, Jess Cheng.

Jess Cheng

Jess is an incredibly talented creative and art director based in London. Originally from Toronto, she now works at ASOS as a Senior Creative. Just like Jess’s bio reads “based on a true story”, she loves to share aspects of her life over at @thejesscheng, capturing moments on film or creating reels with her pals in her spare time. Although the main focus of her gram lies in showcasing her latest fashion pieces, from elevated basics to hot pink satin skirts, she has her audience hooked.

Here’s what Jess had to say when we asked her about her relationship with her own clothing: 

1. How do your clothes make you feel?

When I’m out wearing a good outfit? Confident, in-control, and self-actualised – in the best case scenario. The clothes I wear are something I have total control of, and I always try to dress to make me feel my best.

2. What is your most treasured item, that brings you joy?

I don’t tie much sentimental value to my items, and my wardrobe is always evolving. I do own a gigantic fluffy pink hat that I don’t see myself getting rid of anytime soon.

3. Do you believe your clothes are political/ define you in any way?

One hundred percent. The way you visually present yourself is an instant signifier of your identity, without having to say anything. In the past there was a standard ‘uniform’ people were expected to wear to different occasions (e.g. a suit to work, a white dress on your wedding day), but society nowadays is a lot more accepting of self-expression.

Without getting too deep into the semiotics of fashion, I let certain influences and inspirations shape what I like to wear. My style is quite accessible and practical for use. I do enjoy tapping into trends and changing up my look, and I think that also reflects in my personality as well. I don’t like subtlety or elegance, I gravitate towards bright colours and interesting cuts. 

4. Has Covid-19 changed your relationship with your clothes?

I’ve always leaned into a comfortable and casual aesthetic, and Covid was just an excuse to add more interesting joggers and sweat sets to my wardrobe! Sneakers over heels, any day!

I want to diversify my wardrobe with some more standout pieces with texture or pattern. I want to get my hands on a vintage LV multicoloured bag or a Charlotte Knowles top.

We often think of our clothes as things, as possessions separate from ourselves when in reality, they act as a second skin. Your personal style can help you befriend your body and manage your moods, meaning that your choice of outfit can have a profound effect on how you feel. So, to celebrate the power of clothing to help you lean into who you truly are the FiP team have started a new series called #mysecondskin where we’ll be speaking to people from all walks of life about the role that their wardrobe plays in their everyday life. For our seventh instalment, we’re speaking to product Designer and podcaster Stephanie Irwin.

Stephanie Irwin

Stephie (@Stephieirwin) is the host of the Fashion Originators Podcast (@fashionoriginatorspodcast) where she interviews game-changing fashion entrepreneurs.  She distil’s fashion content down to what’s important, creating solutions that are fun, inclusive and data-driven. Alongside podcasting, she is a product designer and associate lecturer at London College of Fashion.

Here’s what Stephie had to say when we asked her about her relationship with her own clothing:

1. How do your clothes make you feel?

My clothes make me feel whatever I want to channel in that given moment – whether its a luxurious black roll neck for coziness,  or a loose fit blazer over jeans so I feel casual yet put together. With time, I’ve learned that great fabric is the most important thing in a piece helping you feel a certain way. 

2. What is your most treasured item, that brings you joy? 

100% my Acne Studios camel coat. Not only is it a classic that elevates even the most lazy outfits, but it was the first purchase I ever made with my staff discount when I worked at Yoox net a porter! 

3. Do you believe your clothes are political/ define you in any way?

I think the most political thing one can do with shopping is to avoid fast fashion, take good care of your clothes, and REALLY think before making a purchase. Resell or rent out pieces you don’t wear much.

4. Has Covid-19 changed your relationship with your clothes?

100% – I’m far less judgmental of sweatpants!

5. What are you planning on buying next?

I’m in a phase of life where I’m trying to be super sensible with my cash, and only buy things that I could either sell later or keep  forever. I’m eyeing up some Mejuri diamond hoops, but think it will take a few more months of saving before those can happen! 

We often think of our clothes as things, as possessions separate from ourselves when in reality, they act as a second skin. Your personal style can help you befriend your body and manage your moods, meaning that your choice of outfit can have a profound effect on how you feel. So, to celebrate the power of clothing to help you lean into who you truly are the FiP team have started a new series called #mysecondskin where we’ll be speaking to people from all walks of life about the role that their wardrobe plays in their everyday life. For our sixth instalment, we’re speaking to Fashion Psychologist Dr Dion Terrelonge.

Dion Terrelonge

Dion (thefashionpsychologist_) is a Practitioner Psychologist, interested in the link between personal style, self-expression, and wellbeing. She advocates person-centred styling, drawing on positive psychology, transactional psychology, coaching and Enclothed Cognition. ⁠

Here’s what Dion had to say when we asked her about her relationship with her own clothing: 

1. How do your clothes make you feel?

Clothing makes me feel like myself. Most days I wake up and have a sense of what will best reflect my vibe that day. I’m forever running a couple of minutes late because I’ve not been able to leave the house until I felt comfortable and “right” in what I was wearing; what that outfit may be differs day to day and isn’t as simple for me as wanting to wear bright colours if I’m in a lively mood.

2. What is your most treasured item, that brings you joy? 

Two items come to mind. The first is the bridesmaids dress I wore for my sister’s wedding. At the time I wasn’t the biggest fan because it was pink and a bit froofy, but on that day I felt very close to her and was able to be the type of big sister I had been wanting to be as we weren’t as close as I would have liked. I remember being in that dress and holding up the train of her wedding dress while she did the Candy dance (if you know, you know). She passed away a few years back and that pink froofy dress reminds me of that day; when things were good.

The second item is an ex’s jumper; it’s dark blue and super soft. I went to do some voluntary work in Bali in 2019 and took it with me in lieu of a comfort blanket. If I feel down or anxious, wearing that jumper brings me comfort because I know it belonged to and was given to me by a friend who was and is massively supportive. It makes me feel safe.

3. Do you believe your clothes are political/ define you in any way?

I don’t know about political but I do use clothes to be a little socially defiant at times. As an academic, as a doctor, as a psychologist people presume and expect you to look, speak and dress a certain way and I do not meet many of those preconceived notions. While I was studying I dressed more conservatively and in line with course mates in an effort to blend in and hide my blackness, which might be viewed as an indicator of not being right for the profession or good enough.

So, I used clothes to tone down my blackness and working class roots in a hope that it wouldn’t be all people saw of me and therefore would leave more space for my voice to be heard and my capability to be seen. But when I graduated and I got that certificate that said Doctorate, I cornrowed my hair and went into work wearing my own version of what I deemed as professional looking.

I stopped caring about the opinions of others because I had a certificate that said I was competent, and I was good enough. It’s a shame that it took a piece of paper to do that, but we black women in particular struggle massively from imposter syndrome and society does not help.

4. Has Covid-19 changed your relationship with your clothes?

Well somehow magically, the pandemic has made all of my clothes shrink. No idea what happened there. It hasn’t changed my general relationship with the clothes I already own but it has changed my relationship with buying. Prior to the pandemic I was trying to be more sustainable in my approach, but the lockdowns really gave me time to be still and really take in how many clothes I already have.

During the pandemic I bought very little clothes wise; I just didn’t see the need. I think the pandemic gave many of us time and space for social issues to really percolate and become actively embedded in our consciousnesses. Now I try to only buy what I need, not just want and ensure that the item can be worn with other things to increase the life wear of other items in my wardrobe also.

5. What are you planning on buying next?

Like I said my shopping behaviours have waned greatly. What I am on the look out for is a medium sized cross body bag that can be worn out to nicer places but also just to the farmers market. I find it hard to leave home without feeling prepared for every possible eventuality, so I tend to carry a tote bag stuffed to the brim. I would love a crocodile skin pattern bag that’s big enough to carry my most important leave-home item, a book – oh and my keys. I don’t understand the trend for these super tiny bags; I’d feel prepared for nothing with that