What is it about clothes that makes us feel all the feels? There are days I get up, I know exactly what I want to wear and I feel super excited about it. When I put it on and it looks just as I’d imagined in my head I feel accomplished, justified, confident. Then there are those days where I try on everything I own and nothing seems to cut it. I feel defeated, frustrated, even angry. When I walk through a clothing store, I find myself being drawn to certain items that “speak” to me like they were just waiting for me to find them. On the opposite side of the spectrum, I have actual visceral reactions to certain pieces that make me say EW. Clothes affect our emotions and when we wear things that make us feel happy, it shows.
The Huffington Post reported that “What you wear has been proven to affect mood. Your style and the clothes you choose reflect and affect your mood, health, and overall confidence. Scientists call this phenomenon ‘unclothed cognition’, and Adam Hajo and Adam D. Galinsky, both professors at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, write in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, that enclothed cognition ‘involves the co-occurrence of two independent factors — the symbolic meaning of the clothes and the physical experience of wearing them.'” It’s true, I see it everyday with my own feelings and noticing others’ feelings around me. If I put on a bright pair of strappy flats (as I often do) I have a pep in my step for the rest of the day. When I notice others dressing for themselves and feeling confident in their look that day, I can tell they are feeling better about themselves and in a happier mood.
Expressing yourself through your own personal style can be the difference between phoning it in and going the extra mile. For example, there are certain mornings I really don’t feel like trying that hard with my outfit for the day. I’m tired, I’m not looking forward to going to work (who is?!) and I just want to make sure my body is covered enough to be acceptable to go out in public. So do I give in to these feelings of lethargy and just throw on whatever looks clean? Excuse my French but, hell no! I know that if I pick something that makes me feel good and that says something about my personality, it will give me the kickstart I need that will make a difference in my day. It could be mixing stripes with leopard print, or a black and white dress with a bright shoe, or maybe a top with a whimsical pattern paired with cropped pants. My mood will instantly change. I will start walking with my shoulders back and my chin up. I will feel more confident and ready to face the day. If I had just thrown on the random outfit that I didn’t put any thought into, my feelings and behavior would have probably followed suit.
I encourage you to do a little experiment the next time you are picking out your look for work, drinks with friends, or even going out on a date- if you think more about what the look says about who you are, I guarantee your confidence and mood will skyrocket.