Health

Want to feel happier? Ditch the sweatpants

Given the "investment" so many of us make on our wardrobes. . . This just might actually be validating news: according to a new study, the clothes that you put on every morning can have a strong impact on your mood.

bare feet, shoes, heels

Masterfile

Given the “investment” so many of us make on our wardrobes — guilty, I feel like such a cliché
but I really do have a weakness for a cute pair of booties. . . This just might actually be validating news: according to a new study, the clothes that you put on every morning can have a strong impact on your mood.

Professor Karen Pine, co-author of Flex: Do something different (a book about how to maximize all facets of your personality), has found that there’s a strong correlation between your mood and what you wear. Pine asked 100 women what they are most likely to wear when depressed and the answer: jeans (which is weird, because I know a number of women who wear jeans every day, rain or shine, dismissal or promotion, breakup or newly betrothed). Women who are depressed are purportedly also more likely to wear a baggy top and less likely to wear a favourite dress, shoes or hat. This is starting to paint a picture — depressed woman slobbing around in old jeans, a shapeless sweatshirt and perhaps some ice cream-related accessories. Cathy comic, anyone?

I joke but I also take the point. What we wear can both be a product of how we feel or have an impact on how we feel. As someone who works from home, I can attest to the importance of taking a shower and actually putting on decent clothes — even if the only person who’s going to see you is the UPS guy. When I’m wearing real clothes and my hair is cooperating and I look even vaguely adult and professional, I tend to be more productive than when I’m lying on the couch with an old t-shirt on. There’s something to be said for dressing for the part — and there’s definitely something to be said for doing whatever works.

Pine’s study found that “happy clothes” were “well-cut, figure-enhancing, and made from bright and beautiful fabrics.” She says that people who are unhappy or depressed often lose interest in their appearance, which can make them feel even worse. So maybe it’s worth taking a moment to consider which clothes you have in your cupboard that make you feel really good about yourself? The clothes don’t make the woman, but a better mood can help you make it through the day.