*While clothes don't make the man or woman, they definitely can be a factor in your confidence and outlook on any given day. * Everyone has days where the sun doesn't seem to shine as brightly and small disappointments feel much bigger. If you're able to stop and recognize a particularly tough day when it begins, you may be able to improve your outlook by choosing the right clothing.
Recognize When Your Mood Needs Lifting
Usually, that sense of dullness isn't the outcome of any major catastrophe; instead, it floods over us when a few minor problems trigger a chain reaction of emotion. Sometimes sadness or the inability to manage stress can be a direct result of sleep deprivation, according to recent research. If you know you're starting the day with a sleep deficit, or if the world just seems thorny and problematic from the minute you open your eyes, you can switch to a new emotional channel by conscious "mood dressing."
What We Wear Affects our Self-Perception
Research at University of Queensland in Australia finds that women attach emotion to clothing. If you were wearing a certain outfit when you got fired or your partner broke up with you, you'll probably find reasons not to wear it again. Conversely, if you had certain clothes on when you achieved something important or received personal recognition, you'll attach the positive emotions to those garments. Psychologists at University of Hertfordshire found that 96% of women "believed that what they wear affects how confident they feel." The researchers suggest that when you feel low-energy or sad, it's helpful to dress in clothing that you associate with happiness.
How to Get a Boost from Your Wardrobe
Rather than letting a sad or tired day drop you into a fashion slump and create a feedback loop of defeat, give yourself a little boost by choosing clothing that you associate with feeling confident. While the researchers in England found that depressed women chose jeans more often than dresses, they acknowledged that some women specifically named jeans as part of their "feel good" outfit. This contradiction illustrates that no one type of fashion assures you a boost in mood. Each woman develops her own individual relationship with the contents of her closet. The women in the study tended to feel their best in bright-colored, figure-enhancing clothing -- but if you received a fantastic job offer while wearing a dark, loosely fitting dress, your associations with that event would probably overcome any standardized set of guidelines. It's clear that, for women, clothing becomes identified with one's own self. (Researchers haven't done equivalent studies on men.) Knowing this, you can use clothing as a straightforward tool to lift your spirits and brighten a gloomy day. Think of the stories your wardrobe holds, and tap into those stories to draw out your most energized, confident self. Photo Credit: thephotographymuse via Flickr.