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Style Yourself Happy: How to use clothing to boost your mood

happy style | happy outfit ideas | pink and polka dots | kate spade purse black and white | never skip brunch by cara newhart #style #fitness #neverskipbrunch

Can you dress yourself happy? Style is absolutely a tool for empowerment and today we're diving into how your clothing choices can affect your mood and why you should be intentional about them. Now, I'm a huge proponent of the idea that happiness is a choice and I don't believe that the material fact of the correct clothing is all it takes to make you happy, but there is something powerful about clothing choices when it comes to how we feel and view ourselves — and it's something we can all benefit from tapping into.

I've been honored to be able to inspire so many women to be bolder with their style and find confidence through what they choose to wear. I've used colors and prints as my catalyst for empowerment through style, but there is a much deeper phenomenon going on when it comes to how the clothes we choose to wear affect our moods, overall confidence, and even health.

Quite literally dressed for success

Did you know that 96% of women in one study believed that what they wear affects how confident they feel? (source) It's not that hard to understand why: our clothing is the physical way we choose to present ourselves to the world — whether strangers on the street or our friends and colleagues.

Style is extremely powerful in terms of influencing how we feel about ourselves or our capabilities.

Researchers from the University of Queensland found that more often than not, we dress how we’d like to feel or how we’d like others to think we’re feeling. Style is extremely powerful in terms of influencing how we feel about ourselves or our capabilities. We use our style to communicate how we're feeling to others and as women, our style is also usually fairly dependent on our mood — which is why you might throw on a bold lipstick if you're feeling confident or fun.

Another study published on the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology’s website found that wearing a piece of clothing can actually affect your cognitive processes when wearing a garment that has a strong cultural association with it. (source)

happy style | happy outfit ideas | pink and polka dots | kate spade purse black and white | never skip brunch by cara newhart #style #fitness #neverskipbrunch
happy style | happy outfit ideas | pink and polka dots | kate spade purse black and white | never skip brunch by cara newhart #style #fitness #neverskipbrunch

Enclothed cognition

The whole phenomenon has a scientific name —“enclothed cognition” — which refers to how the clothes you choose to wear reflecting and affecting your mood, health, and confidence. Enclothed cognition “involves the co-occurrence of two independent factors — the symbolic meaning of the clothes and the physical experience of wearing them.” (source)  Professor Karen J Pine broke this idea down a little more in her book when she writes that:

When we put on a piece of clothing we cannot help but adopt some of the characteristics associated with it, even if we are unaware of it.❞   - Professor Karen J Pine, in Mind What You Wear

Wonder woman probably could have kicked a** in her pajamas, but instead she chose a pretty dang empowering outfit that helped her both look and feel powerful. You may not need armour, but you can still put on an outfit that is functional in terms of what you need to go out in the world and fight for your dreams.

 

 happy style | happy outfit ideas | pink and polka dots | kate spade purse black and white | never skip brunch by cara newhart #style #fitness #neverskipbrunch
 happy style | happy outfit ideas | pink and polka dots | kate spade purse black and white | never skip brunch by cara newhart #style #fitness #neverskipbrunch
 happy style | happy outfit ideas | pink and polka dots | kate spade purse black and white | never skip brunch by cara newhart #style #fitness #neverskipbrunch

Dress how you'd like to feel

So how does enclothed cognition affect your day-to-day style choices? First, it teaches us that your closet is not frivolous — it has power to help you feel confident and unlock the actual best version of yourself. It also means that the style choices you make should not only be intentional, but can be leveraged as a tool to boost your mood or confidence even on the days when you're not feeling it.

 Your closet is not frivolous — it has power to help you feel confident and unlock the actual best version of yourself.

It's a total fake-it-til-you make it scenario, but it really works. When you take time to dress the part, it can actually encourage your mood and confidence level which then can give you that extra motivation to become who you're dressed to be. I'm not saying you can totally dress your way to success, but I am saying its a real-life tool that you might be missing out on if you're just dressing based on trends or based on what you think people want to see.

There can be so much intentionality behind an outfit that goes way deeper than just putting together a cute look. I think it's more than time for us as women to talk about the deeper phenomenon of what style is vs. just the surface level of what is cute or on sale.  I love that stuff too and it's key to share those secrets & recs, but going a little deeper is a simple but amazingly empowering thing.  

 happy style | happy outfit ideas | pink and polka dots | kate spade purse black and white | never skip brunch by cara newhart #style #fitness #neverskipbrunch
 happy style | happy outfit ideas | pink and polka dots | kate spade purse black and white | never skip brunch by cara newhart #style #fitness #neverskipbrunch

     

Style yourself happy

My go-to for garments that can help boost my mood and confidence are pieces with color or a fun print. If you know anything about my style, you're well aware that I'm a color and prints enthusiast and I LOVE a pop of color or fun print. Not only are colors and prints a central part of my personal style, they're a really big passion for me in terms of using style as a tool to empower other women. I'm constantly getting direct messages about certain outfits from women talking about how they wish they could pull off a certain color or pattern.

Bold colors and prints are often the most obvious first step for becoming more daring with your style, and they can be such a great tool for stretching yourself out of your comfort zone and trying new pieces you wouldn't normally opt for. That process of bravely trying something new or being just a little more adventurous goes hand in hand with the science-backed idea that clothing can be used to empower or influence your mood.

Colors & patterns are your closet's best tools to helping you build an outfit that gives you confidence and a positive outlook.

Color is just so expressive which is why I'm all about using it to convey my mood or help get me into a cheerful mindset. Pink would have to be my go-to hue since a light pink can help me convey elegance and a bright and bold pink is a perfect pick for when I'm feeling sassy or confident. Patterns are also perfect visual communicators. Something about a polka dot pattern just always looks fun and lighthearted while a floral pattern can feel cheerful and sophisticated. 

Next time you're flipping through your closet to choose your outfit, reach for pieces with intentionality and use your unique personal style as a tool to help you show up powerfully as yourself in your day to day.

 happy style | happy outfit ideas | pink and polka dots | kate spade purse black and white | never skip brunch by cara newhart #style #fitness #neverskipbrunch
 photography by  jenna sparks

 

Have some advice for using style to empower? How do your own  style choices affect your mood? Leave a comment below, or use #NeverSkipBrunch

P.S. This post may contain affiliate linking. While these links don’t cost extra for you to use, a percentage of all sales made through these links will help fund future Never Skip Brunch content. 

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 happy style | happy outfit ideas | pink and polka dots | kate spade purse black and white | never skip brunch by cara newhart #style #fitness #neverskipbrunch
 happy style | happy outfit ideas | pink and polka dots | kate spade purse black and white | never skip brunch by cara newhart #style #fitness #neverskipbrunch
 happy style | happy outfit ideas | pink and polka dots | kate spade purse black and white | never skip brunch by cara newhart #style #fitness #neverskipbrunch
 happy style | happy outfit ideas | pink and polka dots | kate spade purse black and white | never skip brunch by cara newhart #style #fitness #neverskipbrunch
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NEVER SKIP BRUNCH by Cara Newhart

I'm Cara, the designer & Chief Creative Enthusiast behind Never Skip Brunch. I'm a color & prints obsessed DIY queen who's here to help you create a beautifully lived-in life through home design advice and chic DIY tutorials

Comments

  1. PeculiarPorter says

    I totally agree with this! You have to dress the way you want to feel. I never wear leggings unless I’m going to the gym because I feel so unproductive if I lounge around in them.

    Xo Logan

  2. Kait Elizabeth says

    I think one of my fav things about fashion is the psychology behind it. I remember on What Not to Wear Stacy and Clinton throwing out old clothes that were literal representations of self doubt, break ups, self hate and so much more! Did you see this this article article? While I don’t fully agree with it there is definitely a reason most of the time we chose what we were. I know I can completely change my mood by wearing my fav dress- even if I’m just goign grocery shopping! Hugs, Kait

  3. kileen says

    Love, love, love this post babe!! I totally believe in this 100% and I think our outfits make such a difference with how we feel. And your outfit is SO cute, love the pattern and texture!

    Kileen

  4. Sharon Wu says

    i couldn’t agree more with you babe. i’ve always believed that if you dress for success you will feel more confident and in turn everything in life is better haha 🙂

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