Why Love Island Stars Dress The Way They Do, Explained By A Fashion Psychologist

Tom and Olivia In Love Island Season 9Tom and Olivia In Love Island Season 9

Season 9 of Love Island has us hooked to our TV screens, but not just because of the drama – we’re watching the show to find some fashion inspiration. eBay has teamed up with Love Island for the second season running, in a bid to promote sustainable fashion.

Additionally, eBay has partnered up with Fashion Psychologist and Author Shakaila Forbes-Bellto take a closer look at the pre-loved fashion being worn by the Islanders on this series of Love Island, and encourage people at home to consider more conscious shopping habits.

Coined by eBay for this new series of Love Island, ‘Reflective Dressing’ is a mindset that encapsulates both the notion that everyone should consider pre-loved first and also recognises the power of fashion as a vehicle for self-expression.

“Reflective dressing empowers you to think about how your dress represents you beyond a surface level, how it impacts your relationships and the world around you,” Forbes-Bell says.

“Studies show that considering the style of people you’re connected to, even unconsciously, helps to build a stronger bond and signals that you’re ‘part of the team’, which bolsters your confidence and creates a natural appeal.”

“Last year, we saw Danica and Indiyah develop a close bond, and they were also shown wearing the same Poster Girl dress in different colours.”

Forbes-Bell has uncovered the psychology behind the four fashion trends eBay’s Pre-loved Fashion Stylist Amy Bannerman has curated for this year’s villa wardrobe: ‘Tutti Frutti’, ‘Business vs Party’, ‘Dressed up Denim’ and ‘Heavy Metal’, and what it could suggest about the contestants that are choosing to dress in each of these styles.

Tutti Frutti

Tutti Frutti Fashion StyleTutti Frutti Fashion Style
Tutti Frutti Fashion StyleTutti Frutti Fashion Style

Tutti Frutti brings colour and joy, it’s all about the pinks, yellows, oranges, and blues, integrated with an explosion of neon blazers, dresses, and bright two-pieces.

“Saturated and brighter colours are more arousing. Studies have determined that the brightness of your clothing can be more important than facial expressions when people judge your capability,” Forbes-Bell said.

She continues: “brightening up your wardrobe comes with numerous benefits, such as the ability to enhance ’opportunities for creative expression.”

“As we saw during the first episode, Olivia and Tanyel looked to make a statement in bold coloured bikinis and opted for bright dresses at night. On the first night, Olivia wore a bright White Fox orange co-ord and Tanyel opted for a fuschia yellow Meshki dress, both from eBay. Olivia kept it bright for the 90s pre-loved party too, opting for a stand-out neon Miscreants dress that screamed Tutti Frutti!”

Business v Party

Business Vs Party Fashion StyleBusiness Vs Party Fashion Style

Business v Party is all about the merging of partywear with slouchy tailoring and creating unique looks that can be worn day and night.

“The goldilocks principle is essentially the idea that taking a little bit of this and a little bit of that is where it’s at,” Forbes-Bell said.

“Goldilocks correctly acknowledged that psychological well-being is often not found in the extremes but when there is a sufficient balance between both the simplistic and the extreme.”

“The research shows that while people certainly feel more authoritative and competent when wearing formal attire, they are friendliest when wearing casual clothing,” Forbes-Bell explains.

“Call it high-low dressing or casual chic. For example, as we saw last season with Tasha’s black prom dress with lace gloves, black is linked to confidence which is certainly something we saw her gain throughout her time in the villa.”

“So far in this series, farmer Will Young has been playful with his choices opting for smart trousers paired with casual trainers. Recently, after calling things off with Zara, Tom has dressed to impress both Olivia and bombshell Ellie opting for smart trousers and trainers during the evenings,” she adds. 

Dressed Up Denim

Dressed Up DenimDressed Up Denim

“Casual clothing like denim and jeans are go-to items when you want to appear approachable and relatable. Studies show that people wearing jeans were rated highly on sociability and extraversion and were deemed to be more interesting,” Forbes-Bell says.

Dressed Up Denim is a timeless staple and it’s no secret that it’s much better than fresh off the rack. 

“According to endowment theory, upcycling our clothes can be incredibly beneficial.”

“The theory argues that we feel more attached and place greater value on things that we have customised and added our personal touch to, and as denim is one of the most durable materials, it’s a great option when it comes to customisation.”

“Last series we saw Paige wearing pre-loved denim jeans at eBay’s Blue Party, and with the cooler nights out in South Africa, Ron embraced the double denim look at eBay’s 90s pre-loved party last week!,” Forbes Bell say.

Heavy Metal

Heavy Metal Fashion StyleHeavy Metal Fashion Style

“Embracing vintage clothing is beneficial because it allows us to experience the positive benefits of nostalgia. Anything that induces nostalgia can make people experience higher self-esteem, feel less lonely, more optimistic, more socially connected, and more creative,” Forbes-Bell said.

Inspired by Kourtney and Travis, Heavy Metal is bringing back rebellious dressing with metallic skirts, leather jackets, and vintage Ts.

“Heavy metal could also be a great trend to embrace if it’s different from your usual style,” she says.

“Research has shown that dressing outside the norm can release tension as it helps you experience escapism. We’ve already seen some great Heavy Metal looks in this series on Lana and look forward to seeing more bold outfits as the series goes on.”

How to introduce ‘Reflective Dressing’ to your own wardrobe

If you’d like to practise reflective dressing, Forbes-Bell reveals her 4,3,2,1 rule of Reflective Dressing:

4 years

Before you buy something, ask yourself: will you still wear it in four years? Mindless shopping purchases often tend to be fad items with no longevity. Avoid this wastefulness by picturing your future self in the outfit. If that image doesn’t look right, walk away.

3outfits or occasions

If you can envision yourself wearing the thing you’re planning on buying on at least three different occasions or with three different outfits, that’s a sure-fire way to tell if it has longevity.

2deep breaths

In through the nose and out through the mouth. All of that dopamine and adrenaline flooding your system before shopping makes you lose focus, and mindful shopping is all about being present. Taking a couple of deep breaths tells the sympathetic nervous system in your brain to calm down. The result? Less anxiety and increased concentration.

1 night’s sleep

Put the laptop down, put the hanger back on the rail and lay your head down. It’s the same rule I have when I’m about to send an essay-long text to someone who has royally pissed me off. After a good night’s sleep, that text looks ridiculous – and the same might go for the coat you’re planning to buy. If you wake up and can’t stop thinking about it, that should signal that you’re making the right decision.