Have you ever heard of ‘enclothed cognition’? The textbook definition of this term is it “describes the systematic influence that clothes have on the wearer’s psychological processes” (Hajo & Galinsky, 2012) and further suggests that it “involves the co-occurrence of two independent factors—the symbolic meaning of the clothes and the physical experience of wearing them.” In layman’s terms, what you wear certainly makes you feel some type of way.
So exactly how do clothes really affect your mood? There are a few ways, for instance the colours you wear, wearing pieces that flatter your body type and even the types of fabric you wear can have an impact on your mood. Here’s a brief guide on how to dress to boost your mood on any given day:
Colours - colours come associated with different emotions and forms of expression so it’s no surprise that they can affect how you look and feel. Want to feel confident? Try wearing something red, as its associated with passion, excitement and courage. Are you feeling a bit down and want to exude optimism, enthusiasm and happiness? White, orange or yellow are all spectacular colours to adopt for these moods. And, if you’re not into bright colours, wearing tones or shades of the same might work better. For example, you won’t wear fuchsia but you would wear dusty rose since it’s not as loud, and, at the same time, it’s not the black, brown or navy blue you usually opt to wear. This is one of the simpler ways to adjust your mood when it comes to personal style.
Dressing for your body type - flattering your body type is an integral part of looking and feeling great (in case you’ve ever “borrowed” a dress from your sister’s closet and wonder why it doesn’t look as good on you). Identifying the shape you have is the first step of this mood booster. You may be pear, hourglass, inverted triangle or straight, but the key to dressing any body type is creating a balance with your proportions. If your shape is straight, you’d want to create a more defined waist to bring you closer to that hourglass figure. Wearing pieces with a cinched, belted or snug waist helps, or, you can wear tops with an embellished top to detract from the waist. For bottoms, full pieces such as flared pants or tiered or bubble skirts give that balanced effect. This is just one example for one body type but, once you have found yours, your confidence will increase exponentially, simply because what you wear flatters you.
Types of fabric - we live in a tropical climate, so if you spend a significant amount of time outside, you will know you can feel miserable if dressed a certain way. Choosing natural fibres like cotton or linen since they are light, breathable and move easily with you, instantly sends your comfort levels up. Work environments may not be as flexible so free flowing fabrics may be frowned upon, but try cardigans instead of structured jackets so that you can keep warm, still be appropriately dressed, but, you’re less constricted and feel free, confident and generally more comfortable. Jeans are also a staple in the wardrobe of many but picture jeans on a hot day…makes you disgusted right? Instead, look for other blends like cotton/lycra that aren’t as stiff but have the same effects as jeans. Surely feeling comfortable in what you wear makes you feel better overall.
So, the next time you’re feeling a bit down, remember the easy confidence boosters that might be hanging right in your closet.