Fashion Psychology

Professor Karen Pine applies psychological theories and knowledge to fashion. Fashion psychology is about understanding why people wear what they wear and the effects their clothes have upon other people and on their own their thoughts and emotions.

Mind What You Wear

Professor Pine’s first online Wear Something Different programme is coming, available from May 2014 via Do Something Different Ltd.


In 2011 I became Professor of the psychology of fashion at Bilgi University, Istanbul and gave an inaugural public lecture on The Psychology of Fashion.

As humans we communicate a great deal about ourselves via the medium of personal style and dress. I try to pay a lot of attention to this, personally and professionally. Because, if we’re not careful, personal style can also become a straightjacket, in the way that behavioural habits can. So the Do Something Different philosophy extends to the wardrobe as well as the mind. We should use more than just 10% of it. Recent research on enclothed cognition demonstrates a powerful link between a person’s attire and the way they behave, and evolutionary and cognitive psychology can help us to understand the inner drivers for people’s clothing choices, and the effect upon others.

I am continually researching topics related to the psychology of fashion. In 2012 we published a paper in the Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management about the effects of subtle manipulations in clothing upon first impressions. My current research interests concern how dress can affect the wearer’s mood or affective state and serve to regulate emotions.

You can download a summary of the results of the study into The Effects of Clothing on First Impressions here.

Or watch a video created for the Wall Street Journal, featuring my research, about How to Dress for Business Success.

I have developed the Fashion Literacy Test, download here and am continuing to research image, fashion and personal style in my work in the UK and in Istanbul.

There are a number of articles on my blog about the psychology of fashion including my research showing how clothing exerts an influence on our psychological and emotional processes - Happiness: It’s not in the jeans.

Projects include working with brands (TK Maxx, TJ Maxx), clothing retailers and designers, a book on Fashion Psychology (see below), participation with Istanbul Bilgi University fashion designers at the 2012 Istanbul Design Biennale and a Laureate University Webinar on the Psychology of Fashion on 21st Feb. 2013.

OUT NOW: MIND WHAT YOU WEAR! Published by Amazon Singles 2014 (UK) price £1.99

Also available from price $3.19

MIND WHAT YOU WEAR: The Psychology of Fashion

 In this book I reveal the inner secrets contained in the clothes we wear. It will help you decipher the subtle clothing clues people use every day to project or hide their true personality.

I also unmask how the right clothing can make us better thinkers. Or more likely to impress at a job interview. I show how the right outfit can give a much-needed boost to our self-esteem, mood or confidence.  And how simple colour changes affect our sex appeal.

The book combines fascinating insights from scientific psychology with my personal impressions gained from a lifetime of people-watching.

It will appeal to fashion students and designers alike, as well as anyone who is passionate about psychology and clothes. It contains the questionnaires I’ve used in my research to discover what lies behind a person’s wardrobe habits or to uncover their fashion identity. It is also laced with tons of practical tips on how to create a style that projects who you are, banishing fashion anxiety and sartorial monotony from your life forever.