Be sure to check out my brilliant cousin Katherine Bernard’s article on enclothed cognition at Vogue.com! She interviewed me (and my academic advisor, J. Timothy Cannon, Ph.D.) about the psychological underpinnings and social neuroscience at play when we choose what we wear and how the garments alter various self-perceived attributes—which can in turn impact our attitude, performance and behavior.
…In preliminary findings from a study published on the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology’s website, subjects who donned white coats that they thought belonged to doctors performed better on tests than those who wore street clothes, or those who thought the coats were associated with artists. Their heightened focus was evident only when subjects actually put on the coat in question (not merely when they were in the same room). It’s no secret that assembling an outfit is like selecting social armor, and that what we wear has power over others (if there weren’t truth to the cliché “lady in red,” designers wouldn’t be making so many scarlet dresses), but this study shows if you have a strong cultural association with a garment, wearing it can affect your cognitive processes… To explore this theory, Vogue asked several women—in careers ranging from art to e-commerce to politics—what pieces in their closets helped them bring their A-game to work… Model and psychology student Julia Frakes always gravitates toward Prada for interviews, and has a go-to brand for test taking: “I wore Marni when I took my Wechsler exam [designed to measure adult intelligence]. I swear Marni increases one’s self-perceived intelligence levels.” Suffice it to say, Frakes scored a high performance IQ. So, tell the skeptics: Your closet isn’t frivolous, it contains a myriad of channels to heightened performance, a selection of gateways to the best versions of yourself. As Jonathan Lethem said in his novel You Don’t Love Me Yet: “You can’t be deep without a surface.”
Sidenote: Last Saturday, Katherine and I ventured to New York Adorned and were pierced (conch/helix details here) by the gentle maestro J. Colby Smith (in Vogue, here). Also, bangs happened.
Vogue October 2011 (Michelle Williams cover) — ”Sparkling Personalities”
- photographer: Patrick Demarchelier
- fashion editor: Tabitha Simmons
- contributing editor: Lynn Yaeger
- bookings editor: Valerie Boster
- makeup: Alice Lane
My most heartfelt of thanks to Patrick for the marvelous experience (and the exquisite book!) along with the brilliant Tabitha—and, of course, everyone involved behind-the-scenes—for an unforgettable day.
In the first image, Tabitha dolled me up in: Solange Azagury-Partridge diamond-and-white-gold headband. Harry Winston garnet, tsvaorite, and diamond brooch. Tiffany & Co. diamond-and-rose gold earrings. Rodarte F/W 2011 look #14 ensemble.
Pictured with my love Bip Ling in: Mannu/The Gem Palace earrings. Preen by Thorton Bregazzi F/W 2011 look #1 dress. My own Rodarte for Opening Ceremony hat. (Bippy looks ravishing in an Erdem dress and Fred Leighton jewelry.)
It was such an unforeseen bonus to catch up with old friends at Patrick’s Chelsea studio: including my dearest Bip (we first met in summer 2009 on a LOVE Magazine shoot in London), my favorite fashionfolk Lynnie (who I have always held in the highest esteem, even before we struck a friendship when I was just seventeen) and my style icon Alice Lane (she first did my makeup at David Armstrong’s home for the Chloë Sevigny for Opening Ceremony book, Reds).
What a sparkly dream.