Clothing and Your Feelings: Is There a Connection?


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 the outfit this morning.  Maybe you didn’t care or 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.

Ponder these ideas about how clothing reflects your feelings:

  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.


  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?
  • You likely felt more serious about what you were doing and gave your best effort.
  • Maybe you believed you were looking pretty buff that day and that you were on your way to your strongest body yet.


  1. 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 likeable and even physically stronger than those not wearing the Superman shirts.


  2. 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.


  1. Women who are depressed focus on wearing the same clothing. A recent study found that rather than looking at their entire wardrobes, women with depression selected clothing from just ten percent of all the apparel in their closets.


  2. If you find yourself wearing your jeans often, you may be depressed. According to additional research, women who were feeling down in the dumps just grabbed their jeans and put them on.
  • So, when you’re repeatedly slipping in to those old, comfortable jeans, examine how you’re really feeling.


  1. 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.
  2. Now, consider how you feel when you wear your favorite clothes. Maybe it’s that light blue shirt with the gray pants. Or the red polka dot dress with the white scarf and navy heels. You feel fantastic when you wear clothes you love.

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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