Research conducted by Canterbury University PhD student Jessica Boyce indicates that women who feel threatened by images of females in the media, own more shoes and handbags but do not prefer trousers. The research reveals that shoes and handbags are more appealing to women because they increase physical attractiveness without drawing attention to the figure. On the flip side, since trousers do draw attention to the figure they are avoided.
These findings and this research has been based on study of 286 female students from Canterbury University and 922 women student from Alberta University in Canada. Apart from women that feel insecure due to media propaganda and thus tend to own more handbags and accessories, the study revealed that women who are insecure in general, tend not to accessorize at all – neither handbags, nor shoes or any other kinds of accessories.
Bringing in another perspective, fashion industry PR Paul Blomfield stated that though the researcher may be on to something with the link between people feeling bad and wanting retail therapy, but linking it specifically to shoes and handbags was laughable.
This study is a small part of Boyce's PhD in health psychology, which looks at the media's effect on female body image and dieting.