Shakaila Forbes-Bell


I was delighted by the monochromatic fashion choices and representation of Black designers at the inauguration. I discussed the significance of the bold hues with Amy de Klerk for Harpers Bazaar as Kamala Harris became the first female Vice President.

“The colour purple is not only emblematic of the suffragette movement, but it also has historical associations with nobility – making it the perfect choice for Harris, who has broken barriers and changed the face of history with her historic appointment.”

“Colour can be utilised as an implicit affective cue to elicit certain emotions and the bold colour choices of vice president Kamala Harris and first lady Jill Biden have done just that.”

Take the time to read the full piece here

Photo from Harpers Bazaar/ Getty Images. 

What is it about loungewear that has struck a chord for so many of us in 2020? I spoke with Mint Velvet to discuss the answer and more!

“The popularity of loungewear in 2020 follows a growing trend for people demanding more relaxed dress codes at work. Studies show that uncomfortable clothing is a distractor and can cause a cognitive overload that prevents you from giving your all to any task at hand. Not only does comfort dressing help you to focus, it’s also been shown to have a positive impact on mental wellbeing which explains why people would be clamouring to delve into their soft leggings while they navigate their new work-from-home realities.”

Take the time to read the full piece here.

As part of my new partnership with Afterpay I was delighted to discuss the psychological power of perfume with Glamour

“Scents evoke more emotional memories than other memory cues, with studies showing that people remember 35% of what they smell, but only 5% of what they see. Scents hold a unique power to instantly transport us back to times of intimacy or joy, like time capsules they can momentarily awaken emotions deep within our conscience.”

“It’s an indicator that we’ve turned to perfume as an act of self care and a wearable reminder of happier times, during this year of ups and downs. Traumatic events can cause us to engage in nostalgia where we transport ourselves to fonder times. A phenomenon known as the Proust Memory Effect.” 

“Tuning into our senses can be incredibly grounding and ultimately improve our mental wellbeing. It can be challenging to detach from past and future demands, but being surrounded by pleasant sights, sounds, tastes or smells can make a significant difference when trying to create a moment of peace and relaxation.” 

Read the full article over on Glamour to learn more about how perfume can connect us to a time, place and emotion. 

Photo from

What is the appeal of Y2K handbags? Fortunately, I was lucky enough to speak with PurseBlog to discuss the answer. 

“The revival of fashion trends has everything to do with our human desire for nostalgia coinciding with our desire for novelty.” When old trends are repackaged as something new, consumers are essentially getting a psychological rush on two fronts”. Forbes-Bell believes social media plays a role in our love of revival fashion trends by making it easier and more accessible for people to reference historical styles.”

“The Fashion Psychologist contends that handbags in particular are a good way to trial past trends without committing to a full look. “If people are not willing to embrace head to toe revival trends they might prefer to turn to their accessories like their handbags which will allow them to experience the same effects.”

The full piece can be found here.

Photo from



I was thrilled to speak with Today about Uggs’ rise in popularity. 

“The pandemic has caused a shift in the way we look at clothing from ‘How does this look?’ to ‘How does this make me feel?’ So it’s understandable why people have turned to comfortable shoes like Uggs to help them navigate the difficulties of the current climate.” 

“The ‘good old days’ and the associated fashion trends bring a sense of comfort due to their predictability and the positive emotional response that occurs every time we engage in nostalgic thinking. So when old trends are repackaged as something new (such as new colorways and variations), consumers are essentially getting a psychological rush on two fronts.”

Click here to read the article in full.

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Join the conversation with Kelsey Stewart and myself as we discuss the link between beauty routines and mental health. 

“Depression and anxiety are often worsened when people feel they’ve lost a sense of control. Studies show that ritualistic processes like applying makeup can help people cope with these negative emotions, mainly because you have complete control over the process and the outcome.” 

“Applying makeup provides a much-needed break from that negative cycle as the process forces you to disengage from those thoughts and be present in the moment.”

Click here to read the piece in full. 

I caught up with Jo Munro about how COVID-19 has changed the way we dress, based on insights from Afterpay’s Bi-Annual Global Trends Report. 

“Never before in our lifetime, have we experienced something that has shaped behaviour across the globe in near-identical fashion. Across the world and in Australia, we embraced comfortable loungewear and athleisure. Although we’re craving the psychological impact of ‘comfort-dressing’ and we can see this trend continuing according to the Global Trends Report with Aussies shopping for sneakers, slides and sandals over other styles such as stilettos, fashion’s relaxed mood won’t last forever. Human’s crave novelty, so it’s expected that we’ll see a departure from head-to-toe athleisure. Mixing staples with more formal looks are expected to grow in popularity with outfits such as blazers paired with sweatpants and hoodies and so forth.”

“The top colours being shopped are blue and orange. Light and cool colours like blue are typically associated with calmness, relaxation and peace people want to tap into these colours as a source of comfort to de-stress. Warm colours like orange are often associated with excitement, stimulation and fun, tapping into these colours can provide an emotional lift.”

Read the article in full by clicking here

I was delighted to speak with Shift London to discuss why brown became the colour for everyone.⁠

“Fashion psychologist and founder of Fashion is Psychology, Shakaila Forbes-Bell says that your colour choice can have an effect on your mood. “Brown often contains long wavelength colours like red and yellow, it can serve to heighten the senses and evoke feelings of warmth”.

“As humans, we tend to mimic our surroundings as a way of adapting. The popularity of the colour brown could be our way of adapting to the fall season and becoming more grounded in our environment.”

Catch the complete article here

With the world facing a turbulent time, many of us have been experiencing physical signs of our stress, and one particularly pertinent change is in our skin. 

You may be perplexed by your so-called ‘lockdown acne’ but there’s a reason why your skin isn’t on top form right now. By spending more time at home our skin is inevitably exposed to less pollution and we’ve had more time than ever to dedicate to our skincare routines – so why is it taking a downturn? Here’s a couple of reasons why:


Our skin is extremely sensitive to its surroundings, but it’s not only what our skin encounters on the outside that affects its condition; how we feel on the inside can have an impact too. Following environmental changes, our bodies are prone to enter a stress response. This response causes an influx of hormones like cortisol, which cease non-essential functions as your body enters a fight-or-flight response. While this would have been beneficial for the survival of our ancestors, in modern, less threatening circumstances the consequences to this reaction can add to our worries! As cortisol causes inflammation of the skin, and the skin glands to produce more oil,  it in turn becomes more acne-prone too.

The way stress indirectly impacts your skin

Poor Sleep

Nevertheless, there are more indirect impacts of stress that can also be affecting your skin. Poorer sleep is a common consequence of stress, with people reporting less sleep, more disturbances, and lower sleep efficiency (Kim & Dimsdale, 2007). With it being well-established that sleep is incredibly important for our bodies to rest and repair, interruptions to our sleep pattern inevitably make it harder to combat precursors to our skin troubles. For example, compared to poor sleepers, good sleepers showed less skin aging, better recovery from skin irritation or redness, and better perception of their appearance (Oyetakin‐White et al, 2014). Therefore, prioritising something as simple as sleep could help to contribute towards healthier skin and more positive self-perceptions even if the skin is troubled.

Poor Diet

Stress is also intrinsically linked to diet quality; the more stressed we feel, the worse the quality of our diet becomes (De Vriendt et al, 2012). While some of us have a propensity to over-indulge as a result of stress in order to comfort ourselves, others tend to restrain their eating and instead snack of highly processed, convenient foods (Wardle, Steptoe, Oliver & Lipsey, 2000). With our skin being extremely responsive to the food we consume, it’s likely that dietary changes during a period of stress can also contribute to changes in the skin.

3 things you can do to rescue your skin

If you too have been experiencing skin troubles during a stressful period, you can make a few simple changes to bring it back to life.

1.     Relaxation  

Taking just ten minutes a day to focus on yourself and be in the present moment can do wonders when it comes to relieving stress. Practicing yoga, meditation or mindfulness can help to ground the mind and bring things back into perspective when they feel a little out of control.

2.     Consistency

Maintaining a simple, sensitive skincare routine can provide your skin with the nourishment it needs to help it recover. Try to use unperfumed, natural products in order to avoid further irritation.

3.     Diet

Try to be mindful of the types and quantities of food you are consuming when you know you are facing a stressful period. As over and undereating can prevent the skin from making a speedy recovery, it may be helpful to plan meals in advance so you can assess the quantity and quality of what you will be consuming. Research has found a link between consuming foods with a high glycaemic load (e.g. sweets and chocolate) with the exacerbation of acne. Nevertheless, don’t be afraid to treat yourself to these as they can also provide a short-term mood boost