Lately, I have read quite a few articles about how dressing up can lift our moods, but can it really or are we clutching at straws to alleviate our lockdown anxiety?
As my own moods have gone downhill during lockdown, so have my outfits; they went from fairly well put together during lockdown #1 to slightly more athleisure wear-inspired (ok, I kept my workout gear on all day some days) in lockdown #2, before ending up frequently involving sweat pants in lockdown #3.
I started wondering if there was a connection and decided to test the following:
Can #dressupfridays and the so-called Everyday Exuberance trend genuinely make us happier?
Since the beginning of January, I have made a conscious effort to put on a beautiful dress at least once a week while being stuck at home. Some weeks, I time it with virtual drinks/catch ups with friends and family, other weeks I dress up for ‘takeaway evening’ or even the supermarket run.
Here are some observations:
- Putting on a gorgeous dress instantly makes you feel more attractive than when you were trapped in joggers. I probably wouldn’t put it as harshly as Karl Lagerfeld, but he was somewhat right when he said that “Sweatpants are a sign of defeat. You lost control of your life, so you bought some sweatpants”. The sweatpants, Netflix, sofa combo every day does feel like we have given up on ourselves and all add to the sense of hopelessness (albeit comfy hopelessness). I do love joggers on the occasional Sunday during normal times, but I always feel more attractive in a dress. And whether I put it on for myself or someone else, doesn’t matter; it’s difficult not to smile every time you get a look of yourself in the mirror and see a fabulous outfit.
- Choosing bold prints and colours will give you an extra energy boost. My personal favourite is something with red, signalling excitement, strength, love and energy according to colour psychology studies .Yellow also appeals to me, although rather incompatible with my skin tone, with it’s promises of creativity, warmth, happiness and cheer. I have always been the typical Scandinavian style wise, choosing black & grey over colours, but have started to wear more red lately. Wearing a bold colour makes for a welcome change to the neutral colours I have usually succumbed to, and I actually do feel more energised and positive when wearing red.
- Creating new outfits with items you wouldn’t normally wear together, let alone leave the house in, but kinda like, is also a great mood lifter. With no chance of anyone randomly popping by for coffee, now is a great time to be brave and have a laugh. Go all in on the Everyday Exuberance trend, combining bright colours, bold prints, interesting shapes, fringes etc in a new, fun way. It’s also a brilliant theme for a Zoom night, by the way.
Our personal style is such a big part of our identity. Our clothes help project who we are both to ourselves and our surroundings. I would argue that by constantly dressing down (assuming most of us don’t normally wear joggers on a daily basis), we are inadvertently lowering our happiness levels. Add the stay-at-home order, and it’s easy to see why so many of us struggle with minor (or major) depressions.
Getting dressed up in beautiful dresses, whether they are old favourites or new purchases in anticipation of future events, CAN actually make you happier by propelling you back to your normal self. And if you go even further, adding some Everyday Exuberance to your outfits, you may discover a new side of yourself.
Personally, I see #dressupfriday as a bit of a dress rehearsal before the world opens again to something resembling ‘post-war’ times and 2022 onwards become the new roaring twenties with audacious outfits, cocktail parties and dancing.
Bottom-line, what we wear truly matters in terms of our moods; clothes genuinely can make us feel happier :-)
PS: For extra feel-good vibes, choose fashion that’s made with respect for the people who made it and the planet.