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The Dress Doctor Is In

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The Dress Doctor Is In

Postby scottss » Fri Apr 13, 2018 6:06 am

The Dress Doctor Is In

Last February, Dawnn Karen, a brand consultant, therapist and instructor at the Fashion Institute of Technology, arrived at a Marcel Ostertag fashion show wearing five-inch studded stilettos and a black jumpsuit with a cape. “This cape makes me feel like Superwoman,” she said. “It’s that sense of control.” She strutted off to pose for photographers at the show’s entrance.

A self-described “fashion psychologist,” Ms. Karen pays close attention to the relationship between attire and attitude: not just how clothes make you look, but how they make you feel. She had come to the Ostertag show, she said, to analyze the psychology behind the collection.

When a model walked by in a silky pink blouse, Ms. Karen pronounced it an example of “mood enhancement theory”: how an item could amplify positive emotions. When another model floated past in an all-silver get-up, Ms. Karen said the outfit represented “repetitious wardrobe complex,” the tendency to use clothes for emotional comfort. “Ostertag seems to be a paradox,” she said after the show. “I would label him and his collection as ‘progressive-conservativism.’”

To be clear, none of these theories or labels can be found in any psychology textbook or D.S.M. manual. Ms. Karen, 29, developed them over the last few years, as she cultivated her academic career and her personal brand.

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