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Maisie Allum

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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 fifth instalment, we’re speaking to sustainable style blogger and stylist Rosette Ale.

Rosette Ale

Rosette (@thriftqueenlola) is a sustainable style blogger and stylist who loves sharing thrifty style inspiration and tips as a secondhand clothing enthusiast. Her love for fashion and environmental interest lead to the birth of @revivalldn, a slow fashion reconstruction brand specialising in the repurposing of textile waste. Revival aims to propose a new way of thinking about clothes, opening the consumer’s eyes to the potential of their unworn and (about to be) discarded garments.

Here’s what Rosette 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 eccentric, bold and confident; I’m a lover of bright colours and bold prints as I love to stand out! Also, I buy a lot of secondhand/vintage so these make me feel unique abs special as (usually) no one has the same item.

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

A vintage jacket I bought about 10 years ago! I think it’s the oldest time I own and it any favourite thing ever. The print is so 90s and unique and it feels like it’s made from duvet type of material which is kinda strange but I love it!

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

In some ways yes I do. I use clothes as a form of self expression so they reflect who I am (the different layers of my personality) and also what I want the world to see/know about me. But also I am not my clothes, I am so much more than that; my clothes just give you a sneak peak!

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

Slightly but not massively. I had a wardrobe clear out in the first lockdown and it felt so refreshing but instead of giving them to charity like I usually would, I actually took some time out to revamp and rework some items. Also, the pandemic really showed me how much I love charity shops and I’ve missed them so much!

5. What are you planning on buying next?

I don’t have plans to buy anything at the moment but as soon as the charity shops open, I’m going to have a good browse. Spring/Summer is my fave season so hopefully I can find some nice bright pieces!

Follow @fashionispsychology on Instagram and use the hashtag #mysecondskin for your chance to be featured.

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 third instalment, we’ll be speaking to fashion designer Richard Kolapo. 

Richard Kolapo

Richard is a designer and pattern cutter at Euler after studying Menswear fashion design at London College of Fashion. 

Here’s what Richard had to say when we asked him about his relationship with clothing: 

1. How do your clothes make you feel?

They make me feel accomplished mainly, sometimes sexy, at other times unique, stylish or cosy.

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

DEM Pantz by @bamboorazaq– they are the original samples. I think the mere fact I named them Dem Pantz brings me joy. I called them this on a whim.

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

Yes, now I think about it. They exhibit my understanding and appreciation of different women’s skin tones, body shapes and forms of beauty.

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

Yes, I thought more about the psychology of how people will navigate lockdown in terms of spending, what they would like to buy generally and what they might appreciate most from me.

5. What are you planning on buying next?

I’m planning on buying more underwear as I cut many pairs up to help make patterns for some lingerie I’m trying to develop.

Follow @fashionispsychology on Instagram and use the hashtag #mysecondskin for your chance to be featured.

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 second instalment, we’ll be speaking to founder and influencer Charlotte Williams

Charlotte Williams

Charlotte is the Founder of @sevensixagency which specialises in building unique brand marketing approaches, it runs influencer partnerships and management division with the aim to amplify the visibility of the most interesting yet overlooked content creators. She is also co-host of @sustainablyinfluenced, a podcast centred on discussions about ethical consumerism.

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

1. How do your clothes make you feel?

Depending on the outfit my clothes can make me feel so many different things. If I am feeling anxious, sad or uncomfortable in my skin certain loungewear or PJs can leave me feeling comforted, supported and relaxed. Whereas, certain dresses can make me feel happy and excited. It depends on the material, texture and history behind the piece. 

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

I weirdly don’t have any pieces I treasure more than others. I love all my clothes individually and everything I own excites me, even down to my pyjamas! 

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

I feel like I wear clothes that make me look and feel good. My style is colourful but also quite classic and is perhaps reflective of my personality. 

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

I have spent the majority of the last year wearing loungewear, which is very out of character for me. I’ve recently made an effort to wear some of my favourite or more expensive/dressy pieces on a regular basis so they get worn rather than just sitting in my wardrobe like they are on display in a museum.

5. What are you planning on buying next?

Nothing, I actually don’t need anything and have so many pieces I haven’t worn in a long time so am just excited for the weather to warm up so I can get rotate my wardrobe.

Follow @fashionispsychology on Instagram and use the hashtag #mysecondskin for your chance to be featured.

We often think of our clothes as things, as possessions separate from ourselves when in reality, they act as a second skin. 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. To kick things off we’ll be speaking to Fashion Psychologist and FiP founder Shakaila Forbes-Bell

Shakaila Forbes-Bell

Shakaila Forbes-Bell is a published Fashion Psychologist, consultant, experienced marketer, writer and founder of Fashion is Psychology. She has worked with global fashion brands like Next, Sainsbury’s and AfterPay to help consumers understand the psychological significance of their clothing and beauty choices. She has bylines in renowned magazines including, i-D, Glamour and Marie Claire. Her work investigating the impact of racial diversity in fashion media has been published in the International Journal of Market Research.

1. How do your clothes make you feel?

No matter what, my clothes always provide me with a sense of control because I use them to navigate my moods or help me enhance my existing feelings and I’m not alone. More than two thirds (64%) of Brits believe that the way they dress can boost their moods and make them feel better about themselves. Every morning I tap into how I’m feeling and try to align that with what I’m doing for the day. For example, if I wake up feeling low due to lack of sleep or discomfort I’ll wear something super comfortable and soft as a way to self-soothe. Whereas if I have a busy day with back to back meetings I’ll wear something I associate with confidence and gain some strength from that to help me to get my -ish together and do what has to be done!

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

My older sister was my absolute favourite person in the world and sadly she passed away due to cancer in 2018. We used to dip in and out of each other’s wardrobes constantly. A love of clothing was something we shared and every time one of us bought something new it was meant with intense questioning, sizing up and of course laughter. One year, I had my eye on a maternity dress she bought from ASOS to wear at Christmas. I would borrow that dress all the time and she would laugh at how even her maternity clothes weren’t safe from my prying eyes! Now when I wear that dress, all of those cherished memories come flooding back and fill my heart with joy.

Left, my late sister and I being photobombed by our cousin’s legs, Christmas 2014. Right, our mother helping me shoot content for this piece in May 2021 and forgetting to move her foot! How can I wear this dress and not smile?

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

I believe that my clothes tell a story of me, what I’m inspired by and what I’m currently feeling. If you look at old pictures of me through my hipster phase (green leopard cardigan anyone?), my Lily Allen phase (exclusively dresses and trainers), my video vixen phase (where less was more) you’ll see a pattern. I’ve always been someone who used my clothes to tap into different parts of me, to express myself and my eclectic tastes. 

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

The lack of commuting has given me much more time to consider what I want to wear every day which now leans on the side of comfort. Now that I’ve started going back into the office once a week, I’ve heavily incorporated comfort into my work wardrobe. I’ve realised that I can get a lot more done in my smart trainers than in those cute loafers which look way more ‘professional’ but give me blisters and distract me from my work.

5. What are you planning on buying next?

At the moment nothing but I am waiting for a few things that I bought on pre-order: A Telfar bag in pool blue and the Soraya dress from Hanifa. I’ve realised that the gratification you get from shopping lasts much longer when you buy something on pre-order. I could be having a stressful day and remember that something I’ve wanted for ages is making its way to me!

Follow @fashionispsychology on Instagram and use the hashtag #mysecondskin for your chance to be featured.

Get into costume, get into character

Both actors and psychologists devote a great deal of time to understanding the way humans think and behave, even if for totally separate purposes. A study combined these two worlds by analysing the relationship between an actor’s costume and their sense of self as their fictional character.

A costume speaks to the audience with words of silence.” Paterek, 1959

While it may seem obvious, actors felt a deeper connection to their character when first trying on their costume and this understanding created a burst of emotional life for their role. During this process, the actor is able to associate with their new persona by comprehending the time period, their socioeconomic status and unique personality. I guess this is what people mean when they say “Put yourself in someone else’s shoes” as you need to get into the mindset of the character both physically and mentally. It is important for the performer to question, ‘Why am I wearing this?’ to grow into their character. So, we can conclude that there is a striking relationship between a shift in sense of self and the degree of costuming.

Have you noticed that when the protagonists’ personality changes throughout the show so does their wardrobe? Much like when the nerd from a chick flick removes her glasses and is now the most desired by all the members of the football team. Researchers looked into the transformative effect of costume design and development of individual character on the heroine from the 1990s film Pretty Woman. When we first see Vivian played by Julia Roberts she is wearing knee-high boots and a short blue skirt in LA’s red-light district. Then, as she becomes more accustomed to acting like a rich woman we see her in black cocktail dresses, ruby red gowns and long white gloves. As we watch her wardrobe change the emotional transformation enables us to identify the storyline and often achieve virtually the same emotional highs.

Interpreting Characters through the Costume Designer’s Eyes

Behind every memorable character is a wardrobe chosen by the secret heroes of costume designers. Their goal is to create a new reality through dress that transforms an ordinary person into an authentic character, somewhat like an illusion. As just like in the real world what you wear says a lot about who you are.

A designer is only as good as the star who wears her clothes.” Edith Head

Costume designers approach the character not just from the storyline but from the perspective of what suits the actor. For example, they pay attention to body type and reduce any conflicting messages that go against their characters appearance. Their creative labor is hugely significant and complex, and their work needs to be granted greater visibility.

I’m sure I can speak for us all when I say my screen time has significantly gone up throughout the pandemic. As much as I don’t like to admit it, it’s the result of mindlessly scrolling on Instagram. However, research suggests that the app may contribute to adverse psychological outcomes and poor appearance-related self-perception or as some call it ‘influencer envy’.

The rise of technology has meant the ability to manipulate the way we look has become effortless. Subsequently, new generations are exposed to much more than just airbrushed photoshoots in magazines. A few scrolls down our feed and most of us will see Instagram models, influencers and even peers who perpetuate an unattainable standard of beauty whether it’s “knowing your angles”, a face filter or smoothing out your skin. Apps such as Facetune allow physical features to be manipulated entirely with the click of a few buttons, removing imperfections to whiten teeth, slim waists and reduce sizes to be accepted as beauty ideals.

Comparison Culture

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. However, on Instagram, we can compare ourselves to these edited pictures or individuals with cosmetic surgery (without realising). You may think you easily spot editing; however, only 60%- 65% of the time people recognise edited photos.

A debate has arisen about whether it should be compulsory for manipulated faces and bodies to be labelled as edited on Instagram. This has been proven somewhat controversial- what is your take? On the one hand, it creates a warped sense of beauty, especially for vulnerable women with lower self-esteem. However, is it right to police people’s bodies, especially when it may make the poster feel more confident? Researchers found that viewing an idealised image from social media had a negative influence on women’s body image, no matter if it came with a disclaimer or not. Although, disclaimers lead viewers to form a less favourable impression of the poster. This suggests it may do more harm than good as the posters emotional wellbeing may lower with no effect on the viewer.

A rise in cosmetic surgery 

Evidence suggests social media pushes us to take part in life-threatening beauty trends in the interest of acceptance and social compliance in society, affecting emotional wellbeing. WomensHealth found that those in their 20s desired the fox eye effect of having eyes stretched upwards and back (as if pulled in a secure high ponytail) more than any other age group. This leads to surgery involving implanting dissolvable threads under their skin to hoist it up or Botox to raise their eyebrows. This was most likely the result of repeated exposure to this popular beauty trend and wanting to look more like models such as Bella Hadid. It seems women persist in internalising these beauty ideals as a model for their own comparisons. Consequently, steps need to be taken to help those affected by idealised images on Instagram.

With that Being Said Positive Psychology Can Help…

Positive emotions broaden momentary ‘thought-action repertoire’ (so, like how joy sparks the urge to play), which widens an individual’s mindset. Having an open mind while scrolling down the gram means you are more receptive to different information types. Putting you in an excellent position to judge whether the image is altered and whether or not you should engage in social comparison. These actions then become internalised and lead to feelings of acceptance.

In a 2020 study, women either observed ‘Instagram vs reality’, ‘ideal’ or ‘real’ images. Viewing the ‘Instagram vs reality’ and ‘real’ images whilst identifying the ‘ideal’ images as fake, disrupted the ‘social comparison process’ and reduced body dissatisfaction. This research suggests Instagram can enhance self-esteem with the photos associated with hashtag trends such as #instagramvsreality and #nomakeup as they promote self-acceptance. 

“If positive psychology teaches us anything, it is that all of us are a mixture of strengths and weaknesses. No one has it all. No one lacks it all.”

– Christopher Peterson

Therefore, follow some ‘real’ accounts representative of yourself to minimise the risk of engaging in unhealthy social comparison. 

Here are my recommendations for excellent reality-checking and body positivity accounts: 

1.  @danaemercer

“Reminding you you’re special.”

2. @planetprudence  

“Helping you see that your thoughts aren’t alone.”

3. @celebface

“WELCOME TO REALITY.”

4. @stephanieyeboah

“Self Love Advocate”

5. @hi.ur.beautiful 

“Here to remind you that there is no bad way to have a body.”

So what’s stopping you from using Instagram as a tool to foster an appreciation for the full spectrum of beauty!

Sweet dreams? What’s that? Despite us all knowing how important it is to get our 8 hours every night, most of us do not get enough sleep. According to the sleep council, 40% of people suffer from sleep issues, so you’re not alone. However, as we head into the winter months alongside Lockdown 2 anxiety the more sleep we get, the better our mental and physical health. As we all know, pyjamas come in different styles and materials but how much do they really impact our sleep patterns? 

Pyjamas or no pyjamas? 

To wear them, or not to wear them. What you wear to bed affects how hot or cold you are and maintaining the optimal temperature for sleeping (around 20C) is essential for a good nights rest (Guardian).

survey of 1,200 adults revealed that 37% wear PJs, 23% prefer just underwear and 19% go for shorts and T-shirts. As well as a third saying they liked to sleep naked. However, less common options were also revealed: 1.3% sleep in a tracksuit, 0.8% wear a hoodie, and 2.5% opt for an onesie. I don’t know about you but, those sound a little too hot for me even with the temperature dropping. 

Getting your shut-eye naked may keep you cool but for winter, wearing pyjamas seems the better option. Perhaps compromise for a looser fitting set that moves freely with you.

What material is best? 

Research suggests that fabric is the key to achieving optimal temperatures to help you get a good sleep.  One study found that wool is an efficient insulator that can influence skin warming and promote sleep onset and sleep quality at lower temperatures (Shin- Chow et al, 2016). 

Also, the type of material you wear to bed may be crucial in the amount of time it takes you to nod off. One study explained that wearing wool pyjamas instead of cotton gives up to 15 minutes’ extra sleep (Telegraph). Australian researchers found that students in their 20s fell asleep four minutes faster on average when wearing pyjamas made from merino wool rather than cotton. Similarly, those aged 65 to 70 fell asleep after 12 minutes when wearing wool compared with 22 and 27 minutes for those wearing polyester or cotton. Therefore, it seems best to consider natural fibre wool as the material to go for this winter. 

‘Smart’ Pyjamas 

The worlds of fashion and science have collided once again with Trisha L. Andrew, PhD leading a team at the University of Massachusetts designing the “Phyjama,” as (American Chemical Society). These smart pyjamas use self-powered sensors to monitor heartbeat, breathing and sleep posture, all contributing factors that impact sleep. In the future, these Phyjamas could be used to give us tips for a better sleep based on our own bodies behaviour. 

So, although you can’t get your hands on any “Phyjama’s” yet, invest in a good set for the winter months to come. Luckily the Fashion is Psychology Team is on hand to provide you with top pyjama recommendations according to science.

Top 5 Pyjamas to buy now for the best sleep

RRP: Starting at £68.99

“A luxurious blend of merino wool and nature’s high tech fibre Tencel from eucalyptus provides you with featherlight, breathable warmth.”

RRP: £49.50 

“They’re made from cosy flannel cotton and have a drawstring waistband for a personalised fit.”

RRP: £40

Almond green knitted pyjamas, the perfect stylish set.

RRP: £49.99 

“This soft nightdress is made of high-quality organic merino wool. The itchy hairs of the wool fibres have been removed using a 16-hour enzyme treatment, making the dress feels nice and soft against your skin. The wool regulates your body temperature, keeping you comfortable so you can wear this nightdress all-year-round and get a good nights sleep.”

RRP: £15

“Get super-comfy this winter in this fleece pyjama set, complete with a seasonal penguin print.”