Did you know you’re twice as likely to wear jeans when you’re depressed as when you’re happy?
Or that if you really want sparks to fly on a date, you should wear red?
Were you aware that you’re more likely to nab that promotion if your office style is similar to that of your boss?*
The psychology of fashion—how we perceive others (and ourselves) and how others perceive us based upon the bag we carry, the state of our shoes or the quality of our coat—is rather profound. Whether or not we’re conscious of it, our wardrobe choices greatly influence our mood and outlook, and they send an incredibly powerful non-verbal message to those around us.
Le Fashion Monster blogger Deniz Selin is fascinated by fashion’s subliminal power. “I look at dressing up in a psychological way—I dress for my current mood,” says Selin. The LA-based blogger regularly flips her style script to suit the day’s “frame of mind.” She might choose a breezy blouse and pastel trousers when she’s feeling mild-mannered during a family outing. Sassy ankle booties and chunky cat-eye sunglasses come in handy when she’s taking names and kicking butt. And a camel coat and 70s-inspired fringed bag worn to corporate meetings announce that she’s capable and creative.
Selin’s interest in psychology, however, extends far beyond the sartorial scope. Selin has earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology, followed by a master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy. She plans to earn a PhD in Clinical Psychology. Her ultimate goal? To open a private practice as well as non-profit centers to provide free family counseling in Los Angeles’s low-income neighborhoods. We know, seriously impressive work.
Right now, Selin’s psychology background prompts her to think about our relationship to fashion and to the fashion industry. “We are constantly being influenced by brands, influencers, or media,” she says. “Why do we buy from certain stores? Why do we follow specific bloggers? Why do we “have to have” an item we see on Instagram? These are questions we should ask ourselves.”
Her questions can be used an introspective exercise that allows us to imagine our closet’s content as an extension of our (actual or aspiring) psyche. We caught up with Selin to pick her brain some more—read on for insight into how she leverages her wardrobe and how each of her fashion tips ultimately link back to self-confidence.
Tell us about Le Fashion Monster.
I started my blog about six years ago when I was getting my bachelor’s degree in psychology. I was working as a personal stylist and always had a passion for writing. I realized that a blog was a great way to incorporate my love of fashion and writing. Originally it was mainly editorial—I wrote about trends and how to wear them. Over time, I started taking photos of my outfits and my blog skyrocketed. Ever since then, it’s been a platform for me to share my personal style, and given me an outlet to express myself verbally.
Who are your style icons?
I love Kate Moss, Blake Lively and Olivia Palermo. Each of them has such unique style and I love to take a little bit [from them] and mix in my own thing to create something that is uniquely me.
What are your top five fashion tips?
1. Be true to yourself. If you won’t wear it, don’t buy it. Just because something is a “must-have” in a magazine doesn’t mean it automatically has be part of your style.
2. Know your body. Trends come and go, and we all want to be on-trend as much as we can. It’s important to understand what works for your body type. As much as I love jumpsuits and rompers, I can’t wear them all. My torso is long, so I won’t buy a romper or jumpsuit just because it’s “in.” Also, I love yellow, but it washes me out. Once you learn what looks good on you, you can better form your sense of style.
3. Be comfortable. Fashion isn't about pain, or being unable to breathe. Buy the right size, the right fit, and make sure you won’t be miserable wearing something. A lot of people buy trendy pieces that look great but fit poorly, or are uncomfortable. I highly suggest tailoring to your body.
4. Invest in the classics. That means tailored pants and blazers, great denim, chic button-downs. And don’t forget the accessories: belts, wallet and day-to-night bags.
5. HAVE FUN! Fashion is all about exploring what you like and expressing yourself. Don’t take it so seriously, because it’s so personal and it should be about YOU!
What is your favorite fashion “rule” to break?
“Don’t wear blue with black.” I don’t care what they say. I’ll do it anytime, anywhere.
Besides influencing the way you dress day-to-day, does your psychology work ever relate to your work in the fashion world?
I think, psychologically, we dress based on our moods and sometimes we dress to feel a certain way. I know when I went on internship interviews, I wanted to dress in a way that made me look professional, clean. I think fashion is extremely related to psychology.
Fast & Furious Fashion Quiz
Cat eye or smoky eye?
Smoky for sure. I love bronze smoky eyes.
Neutral or red lip?
Nude, nude, nude!
Tights or bare legs?
Red or white?
White… So fresh and so clean, clean.
Body-con or boyfriend?
Body-con. I squat, I want to show those buns, hun!
Skinnies or flares?
Skinnies. I love a good skinny tucked into boots.
Night out or in?
At 29, I’ve become a wine, sushi, Netflix kind of gal. But I love game nights out.
Sweet or savory indulgence food?
Savory. Believe it or not, I have no sweet tooth. I don’t crave sweets ever.
Instagram or Snapchat?
Oooooh… Snapchat. I love Instagram, but I love not being “edited” on Snapchat. Double-chin videos galore! Follow me on Instagram @LeFashnMonster and SnapChat @MissDenDen.
Why did you choose the Vince Camuto Addy Satchel?
I’m obsessed with this handbag because it’s a clean structured bag that exemplifies fall/winter perfectly. I can rock this with a monochromatic suit, denim-on-denim, classic denim, and sexy-night-on-the-town looks. I think it’s a great addition to my day-to-night handbag collection—that colorblock detailing will truly add a breath of fresh air. It’s officially my new pride and joy.