The psychological impact of wearing clothes that make you feel good

In and out of lockdown, up and down the tiers of restrictions. It’s amazing how exhausting our lives are right now, even though we are home-bound so often. And with winter’s icy breath and shorter days upon us, it’s no wonder we are struggling to stay motivated and happy.

 

Thankfully, there is a remarkably simple way to make your day feel just a bit brighter while you are at home – ditch your pyjamas and sweatpants and put on the right outfit. Here’s why it makes a difference and how you can feel great with very little effort. 

Can certain clothes really improve my mood?

In a word, yes. You will have heard women say that they feel better in a nice dress with a slick of lipstick. The same principle applies to men, too. Think back to a time when you felt like your most confident, happy self. Now, think about what you were wearing? We bet it was a bit fancier than your gardening get-up!

And there’s science to back it up – the way our clothes affect our behavior, attitudes, mood and confidence is called “Enclothed Cognition“. This is because we give our clothes a symbolic meaning. For example, because we associate a tuxedo with formal events, when we wear one, we are likely to feel polished, stand taller and use manners and language we reserve for special occasions. All of our airs and graces, however, fall away the moment we put on an old t-shirt and a pair of flip flops.

The colour of your clothes also has an impact. There are cultural factors at play here as colours mean different things in different countries, but on the whole we reserve sombre colours like navy, black and grey for professional or formal occasions, or for winter when our mood is affected by weather-induced misery. On the other hand, we associate brighter, lighter colours with happiness, energy and summer holidays.

Don’t underestimate fabric, either. You only have to think about a scratchy woollen jumper for it to put you in a bad mood, while a freshly ironed pure cotton shirt will have you pepped up for work mode instantly.

What should I wear to perk up my days at home?

We know that when you’re at home, the last thing you feel like doing is dressing up. We aren’t suggesting wearing a suit on the sofa (unless you really want to), but a little effort can go a long way. Paying attention to colour, texture, fit and quality will help you pull together an outfit that will lift your spirits without restricting your comfort.

Colour


The colours that make you happiest are a personal choice, and we are the first to espouse the benefits of navy, black and grey. But, if your standard palette of neutrals is leaving you feeling a little, well, neutral, it might be time to splash out on something bright.

Even just lightening the hues you usually wear from navy to a sky or royal blue, or from burgundy to a stronger red can make a big difference. We love this orange moss stitch merino sweater or this James Dean green roll neck for an instant mood pick-me-up.

Texture


Fabric choice is key here. Even in darker colours, you can’t help but feel great in soft, luxurious fabrics like cashmere, merino wool, flannel and cotton.

Garments that are made of 100% pure, natural fibres are soft, breathe well and move with your body so they are far more comfortable than their synthetic or mixed synthetic counterparts.

You can also add a spring in your step by mixing up the textures in your outfit. Try a different type of knit – like our moss stich merino wool jumpers with jeans, or mix a simpler smooth merino wool jumper with casual cord trousers.

Fit


As comfortable as they are, baggy cuts will bring down your energy level and make you want to hide in bed. Clothes that are too tight have a way of being relegated to the back of the wardrobe, get pulled out occasionally when we feel optimistic and are put away again after a few hours of wear. We suggest getting rid of any clothes that don’t fit before they take any more joy from your life.

Instead, choose pieces that are well-fitted but not tight. That means that shoulder seams are in the right place on your shirt, t-shirts and jumpers, and your trousers and jeans are hemmed to the correct length and don’t cut in at the waist. Even if you’ve chosen a high-quality garment in beautiful fabric, if it is too loose or too tight, you won’t feel your best.

Quality


Although it may only be your dog that sees you at home, and you’re just wearing a plain white t-shirt, you will definitely notice the difference if you’ve invested in a good quality t-shirt versus a £5 version from a high-street retailer.

We just love the feeling of brand-new clothes that have been constructed well using quality fabrics – they are guaranteed to give you an instant uplift. When cared for well, quality pieces retain that beautiful sense of newness and look good for longer than their cheaper friends.

Putting it all together

The easiest way to ensure your outfit has a positive impact on your mood is to have all the pieces you need on hand. If it’s difficult to pull together a mood-enhancing outfit on a day at home, you simply won’t do it.

Start by creating a capsule wardrobe of sorts, that includes jeans, jumpers, t-shirts and soft cotton trousers and shirts, all in high-quality fabrics, that can be mixed and matched each day. Don’t forget to include a few pops of colour to keep things light-hearted.

We can make choosing your pieces completely painless with our personalised wardrobe service. After an initial consultation, we measure you and select a complete wardrobe of clothing to suit your lifestyle.

Now, go and put on your nicest jeans and jumper and ignore the strange looks your dog is giving you.