Dr. Seuss said, “Why fit in when you were born to stand
out.” As you can see, I think my socks
speak for themselves or do they? If my socks could talk what would they say?
How might they describe themselves? Do my sock choices have anything to do with
my personality and/or mood? This leads me to wonder about the connection
between mood and fashion. Professionally,
I can see how mood and fashion are connected. For example, during a depressive
episode, hygiene and appearance might become neglected, but when symptoms remit, grooming and image are
improved. Personally, I know when I look good, I feel good and vice versa.
It was found through a reader’s poll via Health.com (2004)
that our clothes can impact how we see things and that how we feel can
determine what we wear. So, when you’re feeling down, one way to feel better is
to put on something that makes you feel and look good. Even if you lack the
desire to get out of those drabby sweat outfits, I would encourage you to dress
in something that you like and that makes you feel good. Even if you don’t have
any place to go, dressing in something that you like and that makes you feel
good can have a positive impact on your mood. Not only can this boost your
mood, but also the color choice in what you wear can make a difference. For
example, blue is calming, red can make us feel sexy, green is restorative, and
bright colors like hot pink, canary yellow and yellow orange, are considered
happy colors (Natural Health, 2004).
Nolan, Dai, and Stanley (1995) found that those with
depression were more drawn to black and brown colors, which may help explain
why many people who are depressed are more drawn to these colors. Some of this
can be explained by the change in seasons. During the colder months, what
colors do you see most? Typically, we often see black, brown, and grey colors.
Have I told you I really dislike the winter months; wearing these colors for
months on end would make anyone feel down. However, last season, retail had changed this
up by mixing in a lot of color because color can improve our mood and when
we’re feeling happier we shop more. On the flip side, being down and depressed
can also be a catalyst for shopping.
Retailers and many others say, when in doubt go shopping! I
can identify with this saying and I’m sure you can too. You may have also heard
of the words, “retail therapy.” Ah, now I got your attention! Essentially,
retail therapy is a behavior of purchasing gifts for oneself or others with the
goal of improving ones mood. Ataly & Maloy (2011) found that retail therapy
has a positive impact on mood. That is the good news; however, if you’re
finding yourself participating in retail therapy often, and your bank account
and your partner are very unhappy, it may be beneficial to consult with a
licensed mental health practitioner to understand what is driving this
behavior. Your bank account and your relationship may thank you later.
Recently, I read a few articles that made me think about the
relationship between mood and fashion. According to Health Magazine, in February 2013, Indiana was ranked #2 as one of
the top 10 most depressing states. Then, in April 2013, the IndyStar.com, reported that Indiana was
ranked as the tenth worst-dressed city in the nation. Although we can’t say here that one thing
causes another, we can say that it’s obvious that the connection between psychology
of mood and fashion exists (Funtes & Quiroga, 2009)
So, what does this all mean? This means that we need to be
aware of how we’re feeling, especially if we’re feeling depressed. When we feel
depressed, we care less how we look. So, when you’re feeling down, wear
something that makes you look and feel good! If you can add some color,
particularly brighter color to your outfit of the day even better; we know that
this can help improve one’s mood. If you’re skeptical, give it a whirl the next
time that you’re feeling down and knock someone’s socks off!
Disclaimer: Depression is a serious condition and if you’re experiencing a depressed mood
and/or a loss of interest for two weeks or longer, consult a licensed mental
I can very much relate to what you are saying. I woke up yesterday feeling bleck; the weather is really starting to take its toll on Hoosiers at this time of the year. I felt exhausted, unmotivated, uninspired. However, I decided to run yesterday after I got out of school, and what a world of difference it made!! My energy and mood feel lifted today. Also, I have recently started showering in the evenings before bed, and just throwing my hair up in a bun to go to work the next day (I work in a very isolated setting, and do not work directly with the public). However, this morning I decided to get up and dry my hair. There could be a connection with the physical activity I had yesterday, and my mood today. A woman always feels better when her hair is did = ) Dr. Grant, you are the best!!