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Look Good, Feel Good, Play Good: The Connection Between Appearance & Mindset

Updated: Jan 12, 2022

How getting dressed impacts mental health:

Your morning routine should always include getting dressed in the morning. Doing so allows you to start your day off with an accomplishment. Sure, getting changed probably seems insignificant, but putting clothes on is an accomplishment you get to check right off your to-do list right from the get-go. Meaning: it’s a task you can complete within a matter of minutes of waking up.

Getting dressed is an important part of mental hygiene and should never be overlooked. It sets your day up for success and can lead to increased mood, productivity, motivation, and optimism.

But does it matter what you’re changing into when you get dressed each morning?

Clothing and Mindset

Does appearance really matter? Do the clothes really make the person? You may rarely think about it, but what you’re wearing today might have been a direct expression of how you felt when you selected your outfit this morning.

Maybe you didn’t care, or you were feeling down when you were getting dressed. But on a day you do care or you have something special to dress up for, you take extra time to look your best.

Think about these ideas about how clothing reflects your mood:

1. Consider a trip to the hospital. As soon as you put on that baggy hospital gown, you feel vulnerable, unsure of yourself, and defenseless. Your physical symptoms may even worsen. Who feels fantastic wearing a hospital gown? No one I’ve ever heard of!

2. Think back to the last time you wore some new workout wear.

Did you feel like you had your best workout ever when you were dressed in your new active wear? Or maybe you felt a whole new level of motivation to start your work out!

  • You likely felt more serious about what you were doing and gave your best effort.

  • Maybe you believed you were looking pretty fit that day and that you were on your way to your strongest body yet.

3. Research supports the connection between clothes and feelings. One researcher had some of her students put on Superman T-shirts and then take a survey about how they felt about themselves. Those wearing the Superman shirts reported they were more likable and even physically stronger than those not wearing the Superman shirts.

4. When you dress up to go to a wedding or fancy dinner, you feel elegant. For most of us, putting on our “Sunday best” brings out our best manners and makes us feel confident about our looks.

  • The better you think you look, the better you feel about yourself. That’s surely a vote for looking your best whenever you can.

5. Women struggling with depression wear a lot of the same clothing. A recent study found that rather than looking at their entire wardrobes, women struggling with depression selected clothing from just ten percent of all the apparel in their closets. According to additional research, women who were feeling down in the dumps just grabbed their old blue jeans and threw them on.

  • So, when you’re repeatedly slipping in to those old, comfortable jeans, reflect on how you’re really feeling.

6. Think back to when you wore something you disliked. If you’ve ever thought your pants were too tight, your behind looked too large, or the bright colors showcased your flaws, you likely experienced negative feelings rather than positive ones about your clothing. How you feel about your outfit can negatively affect your day.

7. Now, consider how you feel when you wear your favorite clothes. Maybe it’s that off-the-shoulder blouse with the white pants. Or the navy polka dot dress with the red heels. You feel fantastic when you wear clothes you love.

  • Ever hear the phrase “dress for the job you want, not the job you have”? This is so applicable! In the specific scenario of getting dressed for a job you want, you will likely be more productive at your current job which will boost work performance. It will help build your confidence and eventually, who knows? Maybe you’ll be able to step into that job you’ve only ever dreamed about!

As it turns out, your feelings are closely connected with the clothes you wear. When you have a wardrobe that’s appealing to you, you’ll live a happier, more confident life. Consider going through your closet today and donating those outfits that seem to bring you down. Who knows, those same clothes might lift the spirits of someone else!


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