Can Psychology Explain Why Olivia Pope Wears White Coats?

olivia-pope-01Photo: Courtesy of ABC.
If you've ever found yourself deep in Shondaland, you know that Rhimes doesn't let a single detail go unchecked. The Grey's Anatomy and Scandal showrunner thinks of everything (except, maybe, more clever ways to hide Kerry Washington's pregnancy.) So, it's not surprising that Olivia Pope's favorite color, seen on many a cape, might have a secret meaning: According to psychologists, people show more mental agility when wearing a white coat, likely because of its ties to medicine. Of course, Olivia's coats are Burberry, not medical-grade, but still...
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There's no saying how much color-psychology was actually planned by the show's wardrobe team, and how much of this is conjecture from an overzealous Scandal fan. But, science shows the way we dress is inherently tied to how we feel. Karen Pine, psychologist and author of Mind What You Wear: The Psychology of Fashion, shared this and other strange facts about fashion and the human psyche with the Huffington Post.
Vertical lines make you look longer, and black is slimming; these are no-brainers. But, some of Pine's facts seem more dubious, and many of them reinforce tired tropes about women — namely, that we own too many clothes and shoes. (Maybe I do, but I'm not everyone.) Then there's the absurd-yet-somehow-logical Fact #16: "Women perform worse on math tests while wearing a swimsuit." Probably true, but I have never found quite the right moment to test out this "fact" for myself. And, it sounds like the fodder of everyone's worst high-school midterm nightmare.
There is one psychological speculation on this list that we can all root for: Pine postulates that "in the future, clothes will be able to transmit a physical hug." Aww. Click through for more weird facts. (Huffington Post)
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