Style and Psychology: Can What We Wear Affect Our Mental Health?
What if we told you that the way we clothe ourselves affects the attitude of each day?
Is getting dressed a burden? What is your thought process as you prepare for the day? Do you feel ready, motivated, or apathetic towards the day once you are dressed?
Many factors surround the answers to those questions. For starters, what we wear does in fact affect our mental health.
There has been some research on the relation between the way a person dresses and their perception of the day in general (Check out: How fashion impacts our mental wellbeing by Deutsche Welle and an article published by the Association for Psychological Science When Clothing Style Influences Cognitive Style). Turns out, there are positive and negative psychological effects in how we approach the day that can be drawn back to either our intentionality or our apathy with style.
The more we intentionally lean into our creativity with ordinary daily tasks, we come alive.
Veronica suggests, “Act like you’re playing dress up,” in which the pressure is off. Make time for it—probably not when you are running late for work—but it is worth setting aside time to just create. The more we give space to create, the more we allow ourselves the room to breathe and rest in who we are.
We want to dress wholistically…take off those itchy size tags that prevent creativity and demand unrealistic standards.
Pictures and social media might tell you a pencil skirt is supposed to look and fit a certain way—but that does not mean you have to wear it in that standardized way. This goes for all pieces—but to be fair—some are more versatile which make it easier to be creative.
We want to have permission to create—even within a dress code. Follow the guidelines the company or event gives you, but also make the outfit your own. Whether wearing your favorite earrings, a black shirt that has some texture, or wearing a color that excites you—make the most of the room in those guidelines to be creative.
Depending on your temperament, motivation for styling a look might be spurred by a movie you just saw, or perhaps you already have an idea and want to lay out your outfit the night before. Sometimes, you might just need a candle with a podcast to make that time in your closet a more peaceful experience.
We want to have freedom to grow—by choosing to befriend changing seasons of life and your ever-evolving style. We are not “messing up” or going against our personal style when we are suddenly attracted to a piece or color we would have not worn in past years. Our clothing serves as a reflection of our state in life. It will naturally change over time when we allow ourselves to be sensitive to the maturing, healing, and transitioning in our hearts. We often respond creatively when something new has affected our hearts, from the music and books we prefer to the kinds of projects that suddenly intrigue us. We see this in our clothing choices as well if we pay attention.
Little children are the best examples of this. They naturally desire to reflect their new-found love of dogs or princesses in what they wear and how they play. Our preferences change quickly when we are younger because we are undergoing growth at a higher dosage daily. As we get older, things plateau for longer periods of time and we no longer undergo change at the rapid speed as those earlier years.
You are still free to create, play, and reflect. The process does not have to just be tolerable—make it enjoyable. Personal style is not a performance. Allow it to become a genuine reflection of your personality and season.
May we look deeper into those ordinary moments of getting ready—breathing and receiving with childlike wonder—and we just might learn to simply be.