Christie Ferrari Explores the Link Between Mental Health and Fashion

by The Daily Front Row

Personal style is far from superficial, as psychologist-turned-blogger Christie Ferrari, aka Dr. C, proves with her Insta explorations of the complex connections among our brains, moods, and closets.

Christie Ferrari (Courtesy)

What piqued your interest about psychology?
An AP psychology class I took my last year of high school totally caught my attention. I originally thought I was going to do fashion merchandising, but after taking this class, and then taking additional classes in college, I was hooked! I went on to get my doctorate. I was a resident at the Johns Hopkins Hospital/Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore. I saw patients daily, and was working toward starting or joining a private practice. After my residency, I was offered a job in New York to join a practice on Madison Avenue—it was sort of the pinnacle, and exactly what I wanted. And then…blogging happened.

How and why did you begin cultivating your voice and following on social media?
I had my Instagram back when I lived in Miami in 2012 and would publish mirror OOTDs like everyone else. My friends started liking and following the outfits, then recommended I turn my profile public, so I did. I moved to Baltimore for my residency, in a more academic setting, and Baltimore and Miami being so different from a fashion perspective, I realized I wasn’t dressing up as much. I started the blog in January 2014 as a creative outlet, a way to have fun with fashion and trends, and to express myself. When I was first invited to NYFW from Baltimore in fall 2014, I couldn’t quite believe it. I took a day or two off my residency, and came to New York to check it all out.

View this post on Instagram

Business Woman Special 😎 kicking off #NYFW in a @lagencefashion suit. Continue reading for a Fashion Psychology post on suiting! ⁣Share with a friend that may like this and Save to read later. ⁣ ⁣ Non traditional business suiting (including wearing a tie) is a HUGE spring and summer trend for 2020! So be on the look out for vests, ties, and matching skirt, pant, or short suits in every magazine and your feed! ⁣ ⁣ Fun fact about business suits: not only have they been shown to help you think more abstractly when you wear one, but they also help you come off more competent.⁣ ⁣ Cautionary tip though: if you want to wear this suit on a interview, ditch the socks, shoes, and tie, as they’re too trendy for a more traditional work setting. ⁣ ⁣ So will you try wearing a tie this year? ⁣ ⁣ #ladieswholagence

A post shared by Christie Ferrari (@christie_ferrari) on

When did you decide to meld psychology, style, and social media?
That’s more recent. In fact, for some time, I tried to keep my two worlds as separate as possible. Then I began integrating mental health and psychology, but realized it was rather abrupt. I kept asking myself, “How can I bring these two topics together?” I started researching and becoming more attuned with enclothed cognition—the research, data, and studies behind how fashion and clothing make us feel, how it aids in how others perceive us, and what persona we can put forth based on our wardrobe selection. There’s a mental-health component of fashion, like feeling confident or coping with anxiety, which are areas I have training in and feel I can help people with, while still of course not providing actual therapy.

How’s the reception been to your approach to fashion psych?
It’s been quite positive, actually! People say they’re always learning something new from the captions, and it’s not just about “shoving” product down their throats. I also get tons of DMs from people thanking me for the mental-health aspect of my captions and how it’s helped them, which means the world to me.

What spurred your Psychology Behind Fashion series?
I realized my audience cared about Fashion Week, but they sometimes tuned out because of its grandeur and inaccessibility. So I looked for new ways of looking at Fashion Week, from a psychological lens.

You talk about your desire to help normalize people’s daily struggles. How so?
I think there’s this idea, particularly on social media, that life is supposed to be rainbows and unicorns 24/7. It isn’t. We all have something we’re dealing with. We all have daily struggles, from small to big. From not knowing what to wear to a job interview or a date, to coping with anxiety, identity questions, or sleep concerns. My goal is to normalize that, and hopefully provide strategies to help you out with #DrCsTips.

Do you still see patients?
No. I don’t have time, and I worry about being fair to patients if I need to attend events like Fashion Month. I hope to get back to it soon, though, even one day a week, but not yet.

The fashion industry has gotten candid about mental health, namely anxiety and eating disorders. Is this encouraging to you?
Absolutely, but with a caveat. On one hand, I am 100 percent on board with the idea of destigmatizing mental health and talking openly about it. I think we all should; we’ll find we have much more in common than we think. On the other hand, I do caution that we need to be sure we’re getting research-backed tips and techniques from psychologists. I have no problem at all with people who aren’t psychologists letting their followers know what worked for them. But I also really believe we should talk to therapists to help us cope.

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