Author

Shakaila Forbes-Bell

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I spoke to Katherine Singh for Refinery29, Canada about how Balaclavas are the perfect mix of all the emerging fashion trends.

“We’ve seen a global adoption of the athleisure uniform this year and people finding themselves getting into the habit of shopping for what makes them feel good rather than what society has deemed conventionally appropriate.”
“Balaclavas are a mix of all the major emerging trends: cosy knitwear, maximalist accessories, and nostalgia dressing.”
“Balaclavas are functional pieces that can be played with to create edgy looks without compromising comfort.”
“Maximalist dressing goes hand-in-hand with this push to dress for yourself and experiment with personal style… This is known as “dopamine dressing. It’s the psychological lift we get from the clothes we wear and speaks to the idea that often what people choose to put on their bodies helps to fulfil an emotional need.” 

Check out the full piece here!

I spoke to Sara Holzman for Marie Claire about how we can use certain clothing pieces to empower and enable us to become who we strive to be!

“We have mental associations with clothing, based on the people who wear these pieces. When we wear the same clothes, we subconsciously embody the traits we associate with those people.”

“The more we wear a piece, the more value it holds, in turn, these pieces take on a life of their own.”

“Virtual life means we haven’t seen each other’s shoes in a long time, but they’re the first thing we see in real life. As we continue to socialise, now is the time to use an incredibly strong shoe to make your mark.”

“Jewellery enables people to inject their creativity into an outfit, a special piece will help you differentiate yourself in a meaningful way.”

Find the full piece here.

My sister would have been 36 on Saturday. No matter how many years pass it still feels like yesterday. I spoke to Marjolijn Oostermeijer for 1 Granary about using clothes to deal with grief and the piece is so beautiful. 

“We place this increased value on their goods after people die. So for those left behind, the item becomes symbolic for that person. We cherish it and it can help us connect to what we lost.”
“I think it’s easy, when you’re grieving, to push the memories away. The other day I wore my sister’s jacket, which was a bit too snug for me. It made me wonder what she would say, which brought her memory back into the present instead of keeping it locked up.”

Please have a read of the full piece here.

I was delighted to be interviewed by Tara Hejazi for Mimp Mag. We discussed what Fashion Psychology truly means, post-pandemic consumer habits and much more!

“We often think of our clothes as possessions separate from ourselves when in reality, they act as a second skin helping us navigate our different realities and emotions.”
“We’re seeing more people in this demographic turn to ‘buy now, pay later’ because they can still buy the items they want, but with responsible spending in mind.”
“Pre-COVID, many people were shopping for how they felt they needed to dress based on the environment or occasion. People would typically have separate attire for things like work, going to the gym, going out to dinner and other social functions.”

“We’re seeing Afterpay users purchase items with cozy silhouettes alongside formal attire like bodysuits or pumps. Going forward, people will find themselves getting into the habit of shopping for what makes them feel good rather than what society has deemed conventionally appropriate.”

Click here to enjoy the full interview!

I was delighted to speak with Katherine Singh for Refinery 29 to unpack the latest buying trends, post-pandemic style & Dopamine Dressing.

“People haven’t been able to express that creativity and fun through their wardrobe,” says Forbes-Bell. Because of this, our desire to wear our dressy “outside clothing,” is in high gear — even if it’s just a lunch meeting or, like in my sequinned daydream, a morning coffee with friends.
“We ascribe certain values to things that have sentimental value or things we associate with fun, creativity, and joy. And when we wear those items we embody those traits and then subsequently we get that feel-good hormone.”

If you would like to read further please click here.

I had the honour of speaking to the Jamaica Observer to discuss how our clothes can influence our psychological state based on the theory of Enclothed Cognition. 

“Enclothed cognition essentially suggests that we embody the meanings we associate with our clothes. For example, would you feel more active and ready to work out if you put on a pair of trainers or if you put on a pair of dress shoes? The same logic applies to your daily attire. You’re more likely to feel productive and ready to tackle the day ahead if you wear a clean and presentable outfit than if you stay in pyjamas all day.”

Please click here for the full article. 

I discussed the importance of having comfort in our wardrobes amidst a post-pandemic world for CBC News. 

Clothing allows us to imagine and reflect the person we want to be now, the person we want to be in the future and the person we fear we’ll be. 

To read the article in full, please click here.

‘Dopamine Dressing’ explains how our clothes can make us feel positive. ⁠It was born out of one of the core principles which explains our motivations behind why we dress a certain way and why we buy certain clothing to satisfy our emotional needs. 

People really do use clothing as a tool to help them alleviate certain negative emotions, to improve their wellbeing. When you wear an outfit that makes you feel happy, you get a rush and that rush is linked to the chemical dopamine, which is released in the pre-frontal cortex. 

Set: House of CB Photo: JKG Photography

Colour Psychology and Dopamine Dressing

When our bodies realise dopamine, we feel pleasure which makes us more likely to carry out the behaviour that caused this again (and again). This works when we wear any clothes old or new as long as it has symbolic value to us. Researcher Karen Pine found that items symbolic to the wearer left them feeling much more confident. 

The theory of ‘enclothed cognition’ teaches us that the attributes we associate with specific items of clothing are extremely powerful. When we wear these clothes, the associations have the power to alter the way we feel and even impact the way we act. So, for example, if you associate a yellow dress with joy, then you will embody that feeling of joy when you put it on. 

Researchers found that people wearing black clothing have a larger influence on a group as they come across as more authoritative. If your end goal is to feel confident when wearing black, then feelings of happiness will surely follow. However, it is important to stress that it is all about your personal associations and symbolic value. 

Dress: Kai Collective Photo: JKG Photography

The pandemic and Dopamine Dressing

The pandemic has caused a shift in the way we relate to our clothing, so it’s less about “how does this look” and more about “how does this make me feel”, both psychologically and physically. You might find yourself asking: how can I function in this? Or, how does this signal something specific about me?

In terms of trends when it comes to clothing we are seeing two groups emerging. The kind of people who are going bold vs those who are champions of comfort. The bold dressers are utilising outlandish creative styles as a means of escapism to free themselves of loungewear pieces (that can feel like a uniform). Afterpay’s Global Fashion and Beauty Trend Report found that Millennials purchased 47.8% more vibrant colors and patterns in 2021 than in 2020.

However, comfort has remained an important fixture in our wardrobe and that’s something alot will find hard to relinquish anytime soon, for example, elevated basics are taking centre stage. Therefore, many of us will lie somewhere in the middle of these two groups – wearing clothes that make us feel comfortable, that we can navigate our day in but that can also say something about ourselves and our creativity.

Set: Rouhi Photo: JKG Photography

Sustainability and Dopamine Dressing

Fast fashion and social media mirror each other in how they provide dopamine hits and instant gratification. More sustainable fashion practices like slow fashion, or buying less, almost runs in opposition with everything that social media really is, which is quick, fast, shiny and new.

Although, Afterpay found that Millennials and Gen Z actually purchased more of their items from Enterprise level retailers in 2021 than in 2020 suggesting that big fast fashion companies are progressing off the cards. 

Gen Z have become extra creative in order to remain sustainable whilst fuelling their desire for fresh outfits they are constantly exposed to on the gram. It’s all about making more for less: following TikTok trends to craft and customise their own clothes, hitting the charity shops or earning some cash by selling pieces they no longer love. 

Therefore, it is evident getting dressed in the morning is much more important than you may first think, it can be used as means to elevate positive emotions and bring us joy! 

I was delighted to be featured in Forbes again discussing my work with Afterpay in understanding how the pandemic has forever impacted workwear.

For many people, sky high heels and underwire bras are relics of a long forgotten, less enlightened time. Casualisation of dress codes has been occurring for some time and now that we’ve all had a taste of what it’s like to look good and feel great while working, we simply can’t let that go. 

The pandemic has sped up the casualisation of office dress codes that has been occurring for the last few years. After more than a year of working from home, what we wear day-to-day for work has made a more significant shift with many people foregoing traditional workwear and opting for loungewear and a waist-up approach to dressing. 
We all have a dynamic relationship with clothing that impacts the three different ways we view ourselves; the person we want to be, the person we hope to be and the person we fear to be. 
Studies have also shown that comfortable clothing aids cognition making it easier for people to concentrate and focus on their work. So, it’s understandable why people will be slow to let go of their new comfortable workwear pieces. 

Click here to find the full article.