Updated: Oct 5
Clothing is often described as our chosen second skin. Makes sense right?!
Therefore, we shouldn’t underestimate the influence of clothing. There is a real interconnected relationship between our clothing, mind, and body. As a result, clothing can influence our mental health both in positive and negative ways.
The well known lab coat experiment by Adam and Galinsky (2012) on enclothed cognition supports this idea, demonstrating the psychological and behavioural consequences of wearing a white lab coat (an item synonymousness with carefulness and attentiveness) on sustained and selective attention.
On a positive note, we can choose to enhance or conceal an aspect of ourselves in order to boost our self esteem. This can not only impact our mood, but also our body language and social interactions. We can also use clothing as a means of in-group/out-group differentiation. The most obvious example that comes to mind is the wearing of a team uniform or logo.
On the flip side, I am sure we have all experienced a time when we left the house unhappy or uncomfortable with what we were wearing, and it has had an impact on our mood and our behaviour.
Let's consider the current situation we find ourselves in, and this idea of “mood boosting” clothing. We may be feeling a little lonely or a disconnected at the moment. This is understandable given our current physical distancing circumstances. Therefore, we may want to try to feel like we have people around and to feel more sociable. To achieve this we may seek out those clothes that resemble comfort, like a knitted jumper, or better yet a hand-me-down, or a heirloom peice that connects us to a particular person or story.
I know that I personally have go-to items of clothing that I rely on to “boost” my mood. I have a floral printed skirt that I made that I have been gravitating towards lately as it is made from fabric my mum gave me during my last trip home to Australia. So wearing this particular skirt connects me to my family back home.
I would love to know what your “mood boosting” items of clothing (or shoes) are, and why you think they help you feel better. Do you associate them with a particular memory, or person maybe?
Leave me a comment or let me know via my 'Contact' page.