Dawnn Karen

The psychology behind fashion.

We’ve got you covered with an A$AP Rocky curated collection, filled with some legend-level inspo to help get you started. But some questions still remain. How has the last year, and the way we dressed, impacted our mental health? And what factors should we consider when creating our post-lockdown looks?

 For these answers and more, we sat down with the pioneer of the Fashion Psychology Field® and world-renowned “Dress Doctor,” Dawnn Karen.

Klarna: Hi Dawnn, tell us a little bit about yourself!

Dawnn: I’m Dawnn Karen, A.K.A "The Dress Doctor". After graduating from Columbia University, I became the Mother/Founder of the Fashion Psychology Field®. As the London Times' 'World's First Fashion Psychologist' and the New York Times' "The Dress Doctor", I am a signed author (Penguin and Hachette) of the Dress Your Best Life book (4 languages- Spanish, English, Czech and Russian), and one of the youngest professors and the first black female psychology professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology. I’m also an ex-model, which is what caused me to end up where I am today, really. The intersection of psychology and fashion.

Let’s start with the most basic question. Does the way we dress have a real impact on our psychology?

Dawnn: It absolutely can. Creating an alignment between the internal and the external, the attitude and the attire creates authenticity which creates and maintains confidence. This is hugely important in our new world coming out of lockdown.

Right, and what type of effect do you think dressing up will have on us after a year of "dressing down"?

Dawnn: Dressing up will jolt our systems. We call it "mood enhancement dress". And it’s the first step to reclaiming our lives. I think we’ll also see people dressing up more for themselves as opposed to others. It’ll be more of a "how do I feel in this outfit" instead of a "how do I look" sort of question.

“Real talk. Last year wasn’t easy. Most of us spent more time sitting down than dressing up. And while we stayed home, most of our clothes took an extended vacation.

But the thing is, flexing your fashion, locking in your look, sashaying with style — whatever you want to call it, it’s good for you. And it’s been proven to affect your productivity, positivity, and more.”

So on that note, of dressing for ourselves, do you have any tips to feeling better about how we dress?

Dawnn: I’d say color plays a huge role. Wearing color is a form of communication, and it triggers emotions within us and others perceiving us. The colors you gravitate toward, and ultimately choose to wear, carry meanings much deeper than meet the eye.

And in terms of actual items, are there any staples you think everyone should have to help them find that perfect post-lockdown look?

Dawnn: I’d recommend finding a focal accessory to lessen the anxiety that they may feel entering the "new world" after lockdown. A focal accessory is an item that holds psychological value and may be worn repeatedly. For example, a lucky bracelet, a family heirloom, a religious accessory, or any accessory that makes the person feel grounded, calm, and confident. Confidence is key.

Now, go with confidence, and define your new look for the better days ahead.

And remember what the Dress Doctor said, and what icons like A$AP Rocky have always known — the best style is your style. It’s about liking how you feel, above all else.

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