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Since Mel B implored us to tell her what we really really want, our interest in animal prints has never really subsided, at least the Spring Summer ’19 shows have confirmed as much.  Brognano, Michael Kors and Burberry were just a few designers to send models down the runway in stunning zebra, leopard and cow print designs and if that wasn’t enough to persuade you that animal print is having a moment, Rihanna turning up to the celebrate the anniversary of Fenty Beauty in Sydney earlier this month wearing a head to toe snakeskin Atelier Versace outfit surely is. Animal print has a pretty extensive history dating back to ancient Africa in its use exclusively by leaders and royalty alike and since the 1920’s celebrities and fashion designers have played a key role in bringing animal print to mainstream fashion. Fashion is cyclical and while most trends fade and re-emerge over time, animal print in one form or another has remained a staple in our wardrobes. What is the cause behind animal print’s rare ability to transcend seasons? Evolutionary psychology would suggest that it has something to do with fear.

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Fight or Flight

Evolutionary psychology dictates that human nature can be understood by analysing the behavioural and psychological adaptations evolved to ensure human survival and one psychological adaptation that has strong evolutionary roots is the fight or flight response. First coined by Walter Canon in the 1920s, fight or flight is a chain of rapidly occurring reactions inside the body to help  mobilize the body’s resources to deal with threatening circumstances. The most threatening circumstance of them all? Being face to face with a predator. Now whilst it’s a rarity to witness a leopard or tiger strolling through city streets, it can be argued that flashes of animal print are enough to activate a subconscious and instinctual fear response in the brain.

Dress: ASOS Design

Fear or Arousal?

But, if we’re afraid of something wouldn’t that increase our likelihood of avoiding it? That’s where the misattribution of arousal comes in. If asked to explain why we feel what we do at any given moment many people would claim to know the answer but that’s a common misconception as we all find it difficult to correctly identify the reasoning behind our feelings. For example, the physiological responses to both fear and arousal are incredibly similar such as increased blood pressure or shortness of breath which is why people often mistake fear for love and arousal and Dutton and Aron’s 1974 experiment demonstrated as much. In their study, an attractive female was asked to wait at the end of either a suspension bridge (that would induce fear) or a sturdy bridge (that would not induce fear). Male participants were asked to cross the bridge and during their walk the woman interrupted them and after a short interaction, she gave them her number. Results indicated that the woman received more phone calls from the men who walked the fear-inducing bridge. Researchers concluded that the fear response was confused with or misattributed with arousal for the woman in front of them.

The same outcome can be found when we’re confronted with animal prints. The latent fear response that has remained with us throughout the years to ensure our survival has been conflated with arousal overtime. It’s no wonder then why animal prints have been defined as both powerful and sexy. Just in time for spooky season, scare tactics can be a useful marketing trick when Halloween costumes are equal parts fear and sex.

Diversity Report

The Spring 2019 Runways Were the Most Racially Diverse Ever, but Europe Still Has a Major Age and Body Diversity Problem.

[The Fashion Spot]

Sexual Desire and Odor

Is you sex life impacted by a poor sense of smell?

[Psychology Today]

Met Gala 2019

Andrew Bolton, curator of the Costume Institute, has framed the exhibition around Susan Sontag’s seminal 1964 essay Notes on “Camp”, which posited different ways in which the concept could be construed.

[Vogue]

7 Steps To Embracing Positivity

Life transformation coach Corinne Worsley shares her tips for turning your back on Murphy’s Law and embracing positivity.

[Psychologies]

Fake Reviews

An ex-employee from celebrity-favourite beauty brand Sunday Riley reveals that employees were ‘forced to write fake reviews for our products on an ongoing basis’.

[Grazia]

Meghan Markle’s Pregnancy

Everything we know about the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s royal baby from baby names to the due date.

[Elle]

With the booming cosmetics industry and Kylie Jenner’s Kylie Cosmetics making her the youngest self-made billionaire, it is clear that people love makeup! It’s so nice to see more and more of the population embrace the creativity and artistry which comes with using cosmetics, but when it comes to women specifically, is our interest down to a subconscious drive to look more appealing to the opposite sex?

 

Studies researching  women’s motivations behind using cosmetics have linked it to their ovulation cycles. Think about it from an evolutionary perspective. During your cycle there will be a time when you are most fertile and least fertile so, from the evolutionary stance which prioritises survival and reproduction, it would make sense for women to want to be their most attractive selves during ovulation as it would maximise their chance of mating and reproducing.

 

I realise nowadays women may have different aims in life and their priority isn’t always reproducing so it is interesting to investigate if these urges still exist subconsciously. In 2012 a psychologist named Guéguen looked into this idea and studied how much time women spent on their makeup at different stages in their cycle. His first study asked participants to estimate how long they spent doing their makeup while two makeup artists judged the quality of the makeup. The results showed that the women did indeed spend more time on their makeup near or during the ovulation phase of their cycle and that the quality of their makeup was more attractive as well. This suggests that subconsciously women still try to maximise their attractiveness during their most fertile phase even if their intention is not necessarily to attract a mate.

If it really is the case that women wear more makeup when they’re in their most fertile stage of their cycle, can this logic be applied to anything else? It seems as though everywhere we look on social media people are getting lip filler or surgery to enhance their bodies and its increasingly becoming the norm. Is the increase in surgical enhancements just an extension of our inbuilt evolutionary need to try and be the most attractive versions of ourselves?

Last year, Psychologists Nicholas and Welling investigated this idea and suggested that it would make sense for women in their most fertile stage to be more open to getting cosmetic surgery. Their findings however were surprising. They showed that actually the trend was the opposite and women were more open to cosmetic surgery in the non-fertile stage of their cycle. They suggest that this trend might be seen as studies have previously found that women feel most self-confident and attractive during ovulation and so would be less likely to feel the need to change their appearance surgically.

Another idea they highlight is that during their most fertile stage, women don’t agree with cosmetic surgery as they consider it an unfair advantage that other individuals can have and they would rather have a level playing field. Although interesting, this idea seems a bit far-fetched especially in the context of the present day where our sole aim in life isn’t always to reproduce and so many more factors affect our desire to do so.

The topic of how women’s cycles affect their use of makeup and surgery is a very interesting one and all boils down to a more evolutionary stance. So, in light of these findings, what do you think? Do our ovulation cycles still drive our behaviour in subconscious ways?

Huda Kattan Eyebrows
Huda Kattan Source: Instagram.com

During the nineties and well into the early 2000s, thin, barely-there eyebrows were all the rage. If you googled photos of celebrities or even found old Facebook photos of your friends, you will notice that everyone from your high school friend Melissa to Christina Aguilera and Gwen Stefani took pride in their thin eyebrows. Then, several years ago, people’s perspective on beauty started to shift. Celebrities, regular people and even beauticians began to notice just how much the frame and proper fullness of the eyebrows can affect not only the shape of a person’s face, but actually enhance their beauty. Prominent eyebrows took center stage, and then the frenzy was taken to an entirely new level.

Rumor has it that thanks to Cara Delevingne, sales of tweezers have dropped drastically as everyone, all of a sudden, wanted their brows, thick, voluminous, feathery, wild and powerful. People went to extreme lengths and the overworked brows became an object of ridicule that the beauty community begged for to stop. 

Since then, people have been doing their best to let their natural eyebrows grow back, and those who couldn’t, resorted to trusty brow gels, pomades, and pencils that would help them fill in the blanks and cover up both the insane and unflattering thinness and at times hairless spots and scarceness in their brows. Now, while there is nothing wrong with wanting to have nice and symmetrical-looking brows that frame your face and add to your beautiful features, there is apparently a dark secret lurking behind overly prominent brows.

The study of narcissism

There have been numerous studies conducted on narcissism and how to spot a narcissistic person. The ‘red flags’ ranged from asserting authority and emphasizing their superiority over others, excessive flattering and/or harshness towards other people, incredible manipulative skills, blame shifting, the works. They also exhibit excessive amounts of confidence, foster a strong belief that they are more special than anyone else, and constantly crave and demand external validation. However, the worst traits of narcissists are that they are incredibly exploitative and will use anything and anyone to get what they want, which is inextricably linked with their utter and complete lack of empathy. It is hard to be sympathetic and considerate when you’re your own number one, and for that matter, only priority.

However, these are all internal traits, so in order to uncover a narcissist you often get burned by them first and come to this realization once the damage has already been done. Now, however, there are new studies that suggest that there is a single prominent physical trait that can help you recognize a narcissist right off the bat.

The tell-tale sign

Eyebrow Psychology

A number of studies, those published in Psychology Today, Business Insider and Independent, just to cite a few, have come to the conclusion that aside from the fact that these people are usually highly attractive, wear luxurious clothes and are impeccably neat, there is one more thing that will help you spot them, one that is perhaps more obvious and quicker to spot than all others – full and highly prominent eyebrows. As stated in Psychology Today, “Eyebrows may be particularly important to people high on the personality trait of grandiose narcissism’ as they foster a yearning to be admired and recognized – which granted, brows have the power to do. As a result, they might “seek to maintain distinct eyebrows to facilitate others’ ability to notice, recognize, and remember them; thereby increasing their likability and reinforcing their overly positive self-views.” This comes as no surprise as not only do narcissist yearn to be liked, but they have an innate initial likability that draws people in in the first place, that is, before the mask is removed and they see what kind of person they’re actually dealing with.

Another study conducted by  Miranda Giacomin and Nicholas Rule involved recruiting a number of people who were shown photographs of people’s eyebrows alone and the verdict of the target group happen to coincide with the level of estimated narcissism in those who were subjected to the test. This research, according to the conductors will prove highly beneficial in the future as it will provide people with the “ability to identify dark personality traits at zero-acquaintance” and thus prevent any chance of attraction, infatuation and even potential exploitation.

It appears that the eyebrows can be a true life saver, a red flag if you will that can tell a person to steer clear of a narcissist. However, although we don’t disagree with the result of the study, we have to take into account that thick and well-groomed eyebrows are a global trend that millions of people have embraced simply because they realized they made their faces look more shapely and attractive. And while yes, a narcissist’s desire is to be more attractive and alluring, we shouldn’t jump to conclusions based on the brows alone.

There is a long list of narcissist-typical behavior that can be easily spotted, and if a person doesn’t exhibit any of the aforementioned traits, perhaps it would be unfair to write them off solely on the fact that they have trendy full brows. There are probably people out there who simply followed a beauty trend, just like millions of people follow fashion trends, and they couldn’t all be narcissists. The final verdict is – be wary, take the brows as sign number one, but look for other clues as well and give people the benefit of the doubt.  

If you ask anyone in fashion ‘Who is Fashion Week for?’ they’ll give you the same two-word answer: ‘The Buyers’ and to some extent that is true. However, with each season as Fashion Week becomes more and more consumer facing, with the advent of see now buy now, live posting and live streaming we’re all being roped into the weird and wonderful bi-annual festivities. Like with anything that we’re intensely exposed to there’s a subsequent psychological impact and we’d be silly to think that the current Spring 2019 shows are not affecting us even in some implicit way.  

Michael Kors, Photo By: Sonny Vandevelde / Indigital.tv

Fashion Week Psychology

Tome, Image Source: Vogue Runway

Fashion Week Psychology

Brandon Maxwell, Photo By: Monica Feudi / Indigital.tv

So far, with New York Fashion Week wrapping up and London Fashion Week being underway we’ve seen the emergence of some interesting trends including; Printed Headscarves courtesy of Michael Kors, Laquan Smith and Kate Spade; Tie-Dye showcased by Prabal Gutung, Tome and Eckhaus Latta as well as statement Canary Yellow pieces as seen in the Brandon Maxwell, Oscar de la Renta and Pyer Moss shows.

Making A Statement

Speaking of Pyer Moss, the fresh-faced founder Kerby Jean-Raymond decided to make a statement at his show by creating a $125 sweater branded with the demand ‘Stop calling 911 on the culture’. Now this is by no means the first time we’ve seen the runway become a political stage, even for Jean-Raymond who intertwined Fashion with Activism for his Spring 2016 Menswear though the medium videos, music and posters with quotes from Black Lives Matter activist MarShawn McCarrel. 

Fashion Week Psychology
Image Source PyerMoss.com

What this is, is the first time we’ve seen a direct call to action against modern instances of violence against ethnic minorities – in particular Black people, in the form of hoax and extraneous calls to the authorities. Despite there being many quibbles about the wording of Jean-Raymond’s slogan tee as well as the associated price tag one thing that can’t be denied is that a standpoint was made, and a message that often gets ignored by mainstream media was delivered on a global stage.

The Veil of Racism

Slogan tees are just one of the many ways that brands have chosen to deliver messages about the current state of race relations, yet one of the most visible ways of delivering this message is through a designer’s choice of models. Whilst you may be thinking that model selection is essentially ‘not that deep’ the representation or lack thereof of a particular sub-group on a mass platform like fashion week has a strong impact on said individuals. In the 1903 book ‘The Soul of Black Folk’, W.E.B. Du Bois discusses “the veil of racism” and amongst many things, the veil is symbolic of the way Black people are prevented from seeing themselves as they really are, outside of the negative vision of Blackness created by racism and exclusion. This theory is backed up by results from Implicit Association Tests which reveal that black people are more likely to associate fellow Black people with negative and unfavourable characteristics. So, why do these results occur and what does this all have to do with fashion? Well according to researchers, witnessing the continued underrepresentation of one’s ethic group causes group members to feel devalued within society and in turn, can negatively impact upon their self-worth. This is why representation on mainstream platforms like the New York, London, Paris and Milan runways is so important as seeing ethnic minority individuals hailed as symbols of prominence and beauty will serve to strengthen the self-image of all ethnic minorities.

It’s too soon for stats for Spring 2019 but if last season’s diversity report is anything to go by then the future is looking bright.  The Fashion Spot’s statistics indicated that the Fall 2018 shows were the most diverse to date. In New York 37.3 percent of models were non-white. In London, 30.03 per cent of models at London Fashion week were non-white, a 3.6 per cent increase from the season prior with similar increases being reported at both Paris and Milan.

Fashion Week Psychology

Slick Woods

Naomi Chin Wing

Duckie Thot

Adut Akech

According to psychologists Taylor and Lee, “examining how minority groups are portrayed in media can provide information of how a minority group is viewed by society at large”. The impact of fashion is often downplayed but if the research is anything to go by the more we become witness to positive representations of minorities through the likes of models like Slick Woods, Naomi Chin Wing, Duckie Thot and Adut Akech the closer we can get to lifting the veil of racism and seeing not only ourselves but each other in a better light.

Our main goal at The Psychology of Fashion Blog™ is to provide interesting and informative research on all things Fashion Psychology. Help us to continue to provide this free service by giving a small donation. Thank you for your continued support

To say that beards have had their ups and downs would be a huge understatement. During the course of history, beards have been on a real roller-coaster. According to The Effects of Facial Hair on Perception Formation, in ancient Egypt, only the poor used to have facial hair. When it comes to Europe, the perception of beards shifted during the course of several centuries. At one point, only the nobility were allowed to have them and those belonging to lower social and economic classes were forced to ‘take them off’. Minds were changed throughout history, and in the 18th century, beards were “viewed as an option only for people that are old, mad, or clueless”. At times, it even went so far as to signify low morality or even a criminal history. By the end of the 18th century, the verdict was in and beards were cool again, and rocked by such historic figures as American president Lincoln and even Harvard boasted the fact that all enrolled men had them. The rest is history, or better yet, present, because it seems to us, living in this time, that beards have never been more popular than today. Whether you’re a hipster, an artist, a physician – there is no stigma around the amount or style of your facial hair, but what does your beard specifically convey? That is a question we’ll be answering today.

Hello there handsome

The same paper, which used numerous renowned studies as its sources, reveals that there is a strong correlation between beardedness and levels of not only attractiveness and masculinity, but also health and even the ability to make a good husband and father. Translation – bearded men are perceived as ones who have all the qualities a typical woman could ever want in a man. Not only do they look sexy, but also a tad or a lot rugged, capable, reliable and even sexually competent and fertile, which makes them perfect husband and father material. The level of attractiveness is so high that, in fact, bearded men are more likely to ‘get the girl’ than clean-shaven men. On top of all this, beards also convey trustworthiness and it’s a life fact that relationships are built on trust, so there go additional points to bearded men. The only noted downside is that bearded men are perceived as less groomed and dirtier, which could be a repelling factor, but as we all know, the bearded men of today are highly diligent when it comes to grooming – resorting to special shampoos, opting for chemical peel, using conditioners, balms and oils, so perhaps this theory no longer applies as bearded men are actually now more inclined towards grooming than others.

A second opinion

Of course, there are other studies which the paper cited that actually show a negative correlation between beardedness and masculinity. Namely, according to the findings of Dixson and Vasey, bearded men were associated with aging and loss of sexual competency, as well as an increased level of aggression in comparison to clean-shaven men.

More good news

There used to exist a common misconception that bearded men signified rebelliousness and lack of responsibility, but the aforementioned paper cites studies that came to a conclusion that this could not be farther from the truth. In fact, as beards have immensely become associated with kindness and trustworthiness, employers have become increasingly keen on hiring bearded men. The paper states something about profile pictures on platforms such as LinkedIn and the fact that bearded men are a lot more likely to be called for a job interview and actually land a job. Reportedly ‘Bearded men are ranked higher by possible employers in categories that are important in the workplace, such as competency, composure and personality’ as well as expertise and maturity, especially in occupations related to sales and communication with clients and customers as sales highly depend on the level of trust a client or buyer places in the hands of the seller. 

However, an interesting piece of information is that most men in high managerial and CEO positions are clean-shaven men. This is presumably due to the fact that bearded fellas are perceived as more suited for jobs that require less social interaction and aren’t as creative and ‘entrepreneurial’ as shaven men. This is sort of contradicts the study that states that bearded men are generally perceived as more aggressive – which in business terms translates as assertive, but the evidence is still inconclusive, so let’s just say that for now, bearded men will get the job done, but perhaps won’t land a managerial position.

Psychology of fashion

Finally – the mustachedness

Even though they get masculinity points for actually being able to grow any kind of facial hair, when it comes to the level of attractiveness, men with mustaches are way lower on the scale compared to bearded men, as according to the paper, “mustachedness is predicted to have a negative correlation between intelligence and attractiveness due to a stigma that has formed against mustaches and how they are the “mark of the beast.” Goatees are safe, in a way, but they are kind of passé, so if you want facial hair, either go big or go home.

The sad news– at least for beardless men – is that in this climate, they are definitely perceived as less intelligent, rugged and attractive, but trends come and go, so perhaps the American Psycho clean and sleek look will come back in style once again. For now, dear men, groom those beards and get those girls.  

Our main goal at The Psychology of Fashion Blog™ is to provide interesting and informative research on all things Fashion Psychology. Help us to continue to provide this free service by giving a small donation. Thank you for your continued support.

The topic of whether there is a beauty premium in the job market is always discussed as, for obvious reasons, society is trying to minimise discrimination in all areas but specifically within the workplace. The term “beauty premium” refers to the finding that beautiful individuals are paid more and earn higher salaries than less beautiful people. For example, research has shown that ‘attractive’ law grads earn more 5 years into their career than their ‘less attractive’ counterparts (Biddle & Hamermesh, 1998). But is this really the case?

This conversation was first brought to light by Hamermesh and Biddle in 1993. Their study showed that ‘attractive’ people did indeed earn more money than average looking people and that ‘average-looking’ people earned more than ‘plain-looking’ people. So as a result of this they suggested that there is a penalty of between 5-10% on the wages of ‘plain-looking’ people. Importantly, they highlight that this finding is directly due to the discrimination which employers enforce. If their results are true then there is much work which needs to be done to eradicate this effect to ensure that productive people are being rewarded for their work equally, regardless of their looks.

Since their original study, a whole host of other research has been carried out to see if this penalty really exists and whether there’s more to their story. In 2007, Leigh and Borland had an inkling that maybe it wasn’t looks which were affecting pay but self-confidence instead. This could make sense as it is a popular belief that confidence can make someone appear more physically attractive. Although it would be great if this was true, unfortunately their study found that not much of the beauty premium effect in the job market is due to confidence and is mostly down to physical appearance.

But it’s not all doom and gloom! Most recently Kanazawa and Still regenerated this topic and published their findings in 2018. They tried to understand at which point this effect occurs. By doing this they would be able to highlight what needs to be changed to avoid this happening. In their study, they took the idea that the “ugliness penalty” must either result from pure discrimination, self-selection of jobs or that there are other individual differences which cause this effect to be seen. Their beliefs were that…

 

  • If discrimination was the cause then they would expect to see that as pay increased so would levels of ‘beauty’
  • If it was due to self-selection of jobs then there would be no evidence of a beauty premium when they took this into account.
  • If the effect was due to differences between individuals other than attractiveness (e.g. health, personality),then once these were analysed the beauty premium would no longer be found.

 

Their findings were surprising as they showed that “very unattractive” individuals earned more than ‘unattractive’ and ‘average-looking’ individuals and sometimes even ‘attractive’ people. So in other words they found signs of an “ugly premium”.

 

The researchers believe that factors like health and personality are what actually affect our productivity in the workplace and therefore our pay. So they suggests that the “ugly premium” occurs as these individuals happen to have better education and are more intelligent and the beauty premium occurs as these individuals have better health and more suited personalities for the job. To put it simply, to say that your level of attractiveness plays a significant role in your pay bracket  is not entirely correct, health, intelligence and personality all have a part to play – thankfully!

 

This is a much more positive finding than past studies but let’s not forget that this is based off an attractiveness measure of facial symmetry which is not all that goes into the total attractiveness of a person. Attractiveness is a multidimensional concept encompassing several factors that make up one’s social identity including age, culture, ethnicity, personality etc.

 

In general this is a very difficult issue to discuss as more research needs to be carried out in order to clarify the above findings. Also terms such as ‘ugly’, ‘beautiful’ and ‘unattractive’ are used very superficially throughout the research whilst ignoring the fact that numerous factors go into the way we perceive someone as beautiful. Until further research is carried out it is wise for employers to be mindful about the people they hire in order to make sure they are prioritising productivity and suitability over looks, because ultimately, that is what makes a successful team and business.

In order to discover more about the psychological impact of makeup, The Psychology of Fashion Blogsat down with three up-and-coming make-up enthusiasts Youtuber/Model Yana Carr, MUA/Youtuber Jordyn Reina and Influencer Chelesia Anderson to discuss their personal relationship with makeup and how it affects their everyday lives.

Fashion Psychology
Yana (IG @goldynaps)

What does makeup say about you?

Yana: I don’t think my makeup says anything particular about me. I don’t really view it as a part of my identity. I just use it to highlight my features.

Makeup is an art and is meant to enhance the features we already have. How does that make you feel?

Yana: I’d disagree with the idea that makeup is meant to do anything in particular. As an art form it doesn’t have a specified purpose that can be nailed down with a few words. While I certainly use it to enhance the features I already have, not everyone views makeup in that way; it can be used to mask and transform and probably has an abundance of other purposes.

Studies have shown that, men perceive women who wear makeup to be more prestigious, whereas women see other women as being more dominant. Agree or disagree? 

Yana: I feel like most women wear makeup, and that doesn’t really change my perception of them. I think it depends on the extent to which the makeup is being used. Someone who constantly wears a full face of makeup on a constant basis would make me view in a certain light, but I don’t think dominant would necessarily be the word I’d use to describe them. I’d more so be curious as to whether they feel like they need to wear makeup, or if it’s just something they’re passionate about. In terms of the perception of men, I feel like most women of importance have an image to uphold, and generally people want to portray themselves as flawless. Makeup aids that perception, so I feel like it makes sense that men view women who wear makeup as more prestigious.

What’s your favourite makeup product and why? 

Yana: Mascara. I have blonde eyelashes, so, despite being long and full, they’re basically invisible without mascara.

Jordyn (IG @jojobeauts)

How does makeup make you feel?

Jordyn: Makeup makes me feel transformed. I can become anyone or anything I want to be. I was always obsessed with magical girl animes and transforming feminine superheroes as a child and perhaps that translated into my adult life. My favorite aspect of makeup is the before and after transformation. Because it has an effect on how we act and perceive ourselves as well. 

Are men in makeup changing the world?

Jordyn: Men in makeup are certainly changing the world. It is helping dismantle the modern day stereotype that makeup is purely a feminine feature of life. Anybody should be able to enjoy the beauty and transformative properties of makeup, REGARDLESS of gender. As a gender non-conforming artist. This is obviously incredibly important to me. 

What’s the best advice to give for a non-binary makeup slay

Jordyn: Find your style, who you want to become, and just go for it. Makeup has no rules, only strong suggestions.

 

If you had to choose only one makeup product to wear, which would it be and why? 

Jordyn: WHY must you do this to me. The makeup forever flash palette because I can get basically a full face of makeup if I tried. It just wouldn’t last very long because I’d have no powders to set the creams.

Chelesia (IG @chelsandyy)

How does a good beat (whether it’s a natural beat or a glam beat), how does your preferred choice make you feel?

Chelesia: It makes me feel more confident and presentable depending on the occasion. I feel more put together. I rarely wear makeup but when I do I prefer a more natural beat. I am comfortable with my bare face, but it makes me feel good that I can use makeup to help enhance my features.  

Studies have shown that there is power in wearing red lipstick. A red lip is linked to authority, prowess and assertiveness. Do you agree that men are drawn to that and why? 

Chelesia: Yes, I believe that some men are drawn to that because a red lip is bold and typically men like a confident woman. A red lip gives off that impression. It’s expressive and makes you feel empowered. Red is bright and I agree that men are attracted to women who wear that color. It’s captivating, it gets their attention. Men are visual and are drawn to a women’s lips more than other facial features. A red lip can signal arousal and is very sensual for a man.    

In one study, foundation has been concluded as the one product that makes a difference in female attractiveness. How about seeing a man or a non-binary individual with foundation on, how would you perceive it? 

Chelesia: I would perceive it as normal. Nowadays it’s common for men or non-binary individuals to wear foundation. Men can wear it if they want, anyone can use it. Makeup is a form of art, it’s how people express themselves. It’s fun to create a new look and it can be a great self confidence booster to some people.   

What makeup product can’t you live without and why? 

Chelesia: I can’t live without liquid foundation. On days when I need a light or full coverage foundation has always been a staple product for me. It helps to even out my skin tone, hides all my acne scars and blemishes leaving my skin looking extra smooth.   

Do you feel the same? What impact does make-up have on your mental well-being? Let us know in the comments below!

Our main goal at The Psychology of Fashion Blog is to provide interesting and informative research on all things Fashion Psychology. Help us to continue to provide this free service by giving a small donation. Thank you for your continued support!

‘On Wednesdays we wear pink’, one of my favourite lines in the high school teen movie -Mean Girls. That one liner epitomises girly-girls around the world. One thing that catapulted  that quote into pop culture is the association between the colour pink and  femininity (weaponized femininity in Regina George’s case but I digress). I’ve often wondered, why is it that pink is for girls, and blue is for boys? Studies have shown that colour can affect emotion; so, it begs the question what implications can ‘gendered’ colour codes have on the people  who wear them? As a mother myself to a twin boy and girl, I have questioned how I should be dressing my kids. I often ponder how my twins will grow up perceiving themselves due to the way I choose to dress them. The expanding gender-neutral/ unisex children’s clothing market only encourages me to question my choices further.

The idea that colours are gendered goes as far back as the 1930s. At the time, blue was being predominantly used in the designing soldiers’ uniforms, and therefore became more masculine inclined. What may come as a surprise to many is that prior to 1930 pink was initially for boys, as it was perceived as a ‘watered-down bold dramatic red’. A bolder, stronger colour symbolising ‘zeal’ and ‘courage’ in contrast to the then girly-blue; that was seen as more delicate and dainty; a symbolism of ‘faith’ and ‘consistency’.

Numerous studies have shown a universal preference for the colour blue. However, research has found that the sexes differ in their responsiveness to specific dimensions of colour. Evolutionary psychology would argue that women’s preference for pink/red stems from their role in resource collection during the hunter-gatherer period where these warm colours would be indicative of ripe fruits and berries.

In terms of development, children are able to identify colours from the age of 18 months. Between 3-4 years old, they are able to name different colours. Coincidentally, during this period of development they also become conscious of their assigned gender. Because of their limitations in communication, children often use colour as a form of expression. The clothes you dress your child in not only affects how the world receives them; but also how they perceive themselves. So, as a parent  you can either dress them to aid in their conformity to gender norms through gendered colour coding; or assist them to express their individuality through the use of colour. No pressure there then!

My beautiful twins Kieran and Khyra
Kids' Choice Awards 2017: Nick Cannon and Mariah Carey Have Adorable Twinning Moment With Their Kids

A study, conducted by a baby subscription box service ‘Box Upon a Time’, concluded that 47% of parents liked dressing their boys in pink clothing, whilst 82 per cent liked to put their girls in blue. This is becoming a growing trend, that is being led by the child stars like North West and Shiloh Jodie-Pitt, who rock the androgynous style like the trendsetters that they are. ‘I’m not big on loud or over the top colours.’ Kim Kardashian adds that she loves it when North wears gender-neutral colours. It appears that  some parents are gradually moving away from the gendered coloured way of dressing, and instead establishing their own personal style for their children through the use of greys, blacks and whites.

Personally, I get a series of compliments whenever I do let my boy-girl twins match outfits. I like to differentiate them through gendered colours like pink and purple for my daughter, and blue and green for my son; simply because I can. I was blessed to have one of each, so I try and have fun with them when styling.

Despite this, I still get told how cute my ‘girls’ look. Which makes me think, does colour play any role in how you perceive the child? – other factors like my son’s hair and facial features must play a larger role in identifying him which is plausible, but people still get it wrong.  

Clinical psychologist Linda Blair suggests; it enhances the attraction to twins when they lookalike; but to the unfavourable effect that it could have on how that child perceives themselves which I recognise. I want my kids to identify themselves as individuals first and foremost. Pink shouldn’t be my daughters favourite colour just because she is a girl; and blue vice versa for my son. I try and encourage them to pick and choose other colours in the spectrum, whether they correlate it with girls or boys I let them express themselves in whichever way they choose. Especially at the age of 3, where they are becoming more vocal; and also asserting their independence. I don’t feel obligated to dress them identically, perhaps if they were identical I may feel more inclined to do so. Yet, I am becoming more drawn to gender neutral colours such as white, yellow and black; not to mention the money it’s saving me in the long run by allowing me to mix and match easily.

 

Adding another dimension to the mix is the finding that the colours we choose to dress our children in can have implications on their mood (Huchendorf, 2007) either through enhancing anxiety, decreasing stress, or even arousing excitement. In fact, research suggests that children can be more sensitive to colours so this is something worth acknowledging when getting your kid ready each day. For example, letting my already active son wear a red top is likely to enhance his liveliness whereas green can relax him, as research has linked it to nature and therefore peace (Renk Etksi, 2017).

 

As the unisex market continues to expand amongst retailers, across the ages gender clothing is becoming less of a go-to for new parents, who are choosing to have more fun in their children’s wardrobes, rather than rolling with the typecasts. Times are changing, and so will the meaning of our favourite colours.