The day I met my husband, I wasn’t feeling great. In fact, I didn’t want to go anywhere at all, let alone meet the love of my life. That afternoon I was wearing frumpy sweatpants, un-brushed hair randomly gathered in a ponytail, and a pair of Ugg boots that my big toe had pushed a large hole through. I’d recently been laid off from my job, was worried about paying my bills, and still quietly moping over a break-up that had happened over a year prior. I felt like a mess, an unlovable mess. Why should I even bother “going out?” I mean, what was the point?
My roommate of several years came into my bedroom and demanded that I get up. She saw my sadness and said, “You look awful, no wonder you feel so horrible. Go take a shower and leave the rest to me.” I came back to find a simple, but elegant, black dress (which was hers) next to a pair of red heels that I’d forgotten I owned, and a hairdryer, curling iron, and makeup laid out on my bureau. She smiled and said, “We all have our low spells, girl, but I have a secret: a fresh hairstyle and a good pair of shoes can turn any situation around.”
I reluctantly sat down and watched as she blew out my hair and carefully wrapped it around the warm iron. As she proceeded, I couldn’t help but notice my mood was shifting. By the time I slid my feet into the bright red stilettos, I felt like a different person. I didn’t feel frumpy anymore. Heck, I felt hot!
I’d long understood that the way we dress affects the impression we make on others, but up until that moment I didn’t realize how it affected my own well-being. Many applied psychology studies have proven that everything about a person’s clothing, from color to fit, affects one on a psychological level. I was proof that changing one’s appearance could shift one’s mood.
My girlfriend’s secret worked. I oozed confidence the evening I met my husband, and we’re now approaching 10 years of marriage. Her trick was simple but powerful—she reminded me of my self-worth and beauty. I still have days I don’t feel 100%. On those days, I head to my medicine cabinet, a.k.a. my closet, and prescribe myself an outfit that looks the way I want to feel. It’s not always easy, but as I step into my shoes, I intentionally step into a more positive and loving mindset. Intentions are meaningful, and our clothing can be used deliberately, whenever we choose.
Using fashion in a positive manner is an act of loving oneself. It is the responsibility of all of us to take care of our physical vessels, to keep them in good repair and running well. I dress the way I want to feel, everyday, no matter if anyone will see me or not. And I do my best to be the kind of friend who shows up with a curling iron and a pair of shoes when someone I care about is feeling blue. A little love can go long way. What does your outfit say about your mood today?