‘This is a good time to be an older woman or a woman of colour – I really like that things are finally changing, we are seeing more diversity in the media and I’d like to think it’s because of my courses!’ laughs Professor Carolyn Mair PhD – a renowned British psychologist and author of the new book The Psychology of Fashion. ‘Challenging perceptions is a good way to make changes,’ she continues, ‘We now have 83-year-old women modelling lingerie… Clothes can absolutely be empowering.’

Carolyn is probably best known for her work in academia, designing and leading degree programmes to explore the psychology of fashion. The MSc course at London College of Fashion (LCF) started in 2012 and this year saw the launch of the Psychology of Fashion undergraduate programme, ‘My baby’s baby! It’s great,’ she says over the phone. It was during her time at LCF, that the professor was approached by Routledge to write her book The Psychology of Fashion. Released in March (and available HERE), it offers an insight into the thinking behind our fashion choices. I’ve interviewed Doctor Carolyn several times for newspaper and magazine articles and we’ve sat on panels together discussing diversity – those things can be a bit daunting and so I’m always relieved to see her friendly face and enjoy a down-to-earth conversation (rather than being subjected to cringe-inducing academic grandstanding).

‘Fashion and psychology are inextricably linked’ Carolyn continues, ‘Both are concerned with sensation and perception, identity, the body and human experience. What we wear is important, it affects our comfort and confidence.’ The Psychology of Fashion explores how clothing can affect our cognitive processes, the way fashion design can impact healthy body image and the reasons why we are motivated to belong to social groups and use clothing as social identification.

After working as a graphic designer and having children, Carolyn returned to study a psychology degree in her late thirties. Her career continues to evolve and since leaving LCF she has launched her own business working with the fashion industry, as well as continuing to work in education, and running her own one-day-courses. She hopes she can inspire other women to do the same.

Want to find out more about the psychology of fashion?


Introduction to Psychology for Fashion one-day courses are great for anyone who is excited by fashion and fascinated by understanding what makes us tick (I certainly am). And as an exclusive offer to That’s Not My Age readers Professor Carolyn Mair is offering a discounted rate for her April course.

Introduction to Psychology for Fashion – 1-day course

Next one: 10am – 5pm, Saturday 28 April 2018. Lift, Islington, London N1 9PW.

Fee: £125 including coffee/tea thoughout the day. Places are limited so please book early.

Please email [email protected] to book.

13 thoughts on “The psychology behind our fashion choices: five minutes with Professor Carolyn Mair

  1. Wouldn’t it be fun to take that one-day course? Wish I lived in London… or at least closer that Ottawa:) I’ll settle for the book, though. Thanks for this, Alyson.

  2. Thanks so much for bringing this to our attention. Just HOW much would I love to attend one of these courses! I am unable to go in April as I will be in Cornwall (babysitting grandchildren!) but could you let us know when other courses are scheduled and the cost. Have spent a chunk of my afternoon reading about this amazing, inspirational lady and came across this too. ‘Creating a world where age does not matter’ by Dr Caryn Franklin, another shining star of intellect and fashion. Who ever said that ‘fashion’ was vacuous? This is a short video which is so worthy of a watch. I get really excited by women like Dr Mair and makes me proud to be An Older Woman.

    1. Thanks Maudie – and yes, I will let you know about further courses. Coincidently, Caryn Franklin studied the MSc programme at LCF led by Carolyn Mair.

  3. This sounds absolutely cracking! I’m always looking for present ideas for my children to buy me for birthdays and such like (I confessed to the family years ago that I hate other people buying me scarves or jewellery that I haven’t chosen but feel obliged to wear, so I have to supply some other present ideas) and I shall put this book on the list, or even the one day course….

  4. I attended Carolyn’s course last Saturday and really enjoyed the whole day. If you get the chance to attend another with Carolyn, I would certainly recommend it.

  5. Hi Alyison.
    I am a great fan of your blog and always received your emails, but they seem to have stopped.
    I have tried to subscribe again, but have had no success.
    Is there anything, that I am not doing correctly.
    Thank you
    Angela Barron

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