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How Clothing Can Affect Mood

Posted on August 27 2018

Did you know there are many external factors that can affect our internal emotional health and that one of those is how we dress? There are several studies that have shown how our mood can be affected by what we wear, and how we feel upon waking can affect our choice of outfit and subsequent moods during the day.

Outfit choices are often made to match mood and as a form of self-expression, but also to control or mask emotions. Memories or emotions attached to our clothes can evoke good or bad feelings when we wear them. For example, if someone is complimented on their clothing, then the good feelings they experience often come back when they wear that piece again.  

Want to take this idea even further? Studies have shown that not only can what you wear affect your mood, it can also affect what you do and how you do it.

Your clothing can make you feel powerful. The “power tie” is a real thing. Those who dress up feel significantly more powerful and in control of the situation than their under-dressed peers.

Your clothing can make you a better thinker. People who dress in business formal clothing can think faster on their feet and have more creative ideas. How you dress can change your perception of the objects, people, and events around you - sparking fresh ideas and a new point of view.

Your clothing can make you smarter. Dressing in clothing that is associated with intelligence, like doctor’s coats or pilot’s uniforms, may not only make you look smarter but may actually make you act smarter too. It’s not just what you wear but also what you think of what you wear that matters.

Your clothing can help you get your way. The better dressed you are the more edge it could give you in an argument.

If you are looking for ways to improve your mood or get that promotion at work taking a look at your wardrobe could be a good place to start. It is possible to change up your wardrobe and give yourself a whole new perspective. For example, "Happy" clothes tend to be those that are flattering, well tailored and made from bright and beautiful fabrics. Try some of these ideas.

  • Wear clothes that fit beautifully and feel physically good, in fabrics you prefer like linen, cotton, cashmere or jersey materials.
  • Remove things from your wardrobe with negative associations.
  • Donate clothes that no longer fit - let someone else enjoy them.
  • Try to avoid item shopping. Instead focus on outfit shopping so that you have clothes that coordinate.
  • Don't buy clothing that is "out of your comfort zone" - the chances are you won't wear it, or will feel self-conscious if you do.
  • Use "'hero" pieces to make an outfit shine - this can be a necklace, special top, pair of pants or even heels.
  • Learn which colours and cuts flatter you.
  • Emphasise your assets and play down features you dislike.

Since the clothes we wear affect our behaviour, attitudes, personality, mood, confidence, and even the way we interact with others, give yourself the extra edge in your professional and personal life and consider your wardrobe. It could be a cathartic and liberating experience!

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