Wear those blues away

Monday morning, look in mirror, should not have looked in mirror. Cereal. COFFEE. Check: Facebook, email, Twitter…Gareth Cliff you twit. Must put on fabric to keep out pneumonia. Open wardrobe: meh. Leggings? Too baggy. Cardigan? I hate that cardigan! What possessed me to buy that?! Jeans. The red skinnies, sweater with nautical stripes, Doc Martins. Please let me just get to 10am without killing a child on the train or swearing in front of a Rabbi.

Friday evening. Bridget Bardot eyeliner, check. Leather jacket, check. Watch out world, Willow tree is coming for you.

It happens to us all. You wake up one blissful Saturday, feeling like you could change the universe with your sunny disposition. Leaping out of bed with a joy cry; you thrust open your closet, don that sheer white blouse that makes your 34 A bra size an instant 34 C, add your favourite velvet Russian hat and smile at the results: you look fabulous, your life is perfect, nothing can touch you. Not even your uncle’s farts can get you down- you’re Mary Poppins on E.

Then you wake up on the morning of a briefing you’ve been stressing over, your hair resembling that of a deadlocked Rasta, having not slept a wink and you despise your clothes. Everything looks frumpy, out of date, and creased. You shove yourself into whatever the cat hasn’t slept on, drag a comb through your hair and face the day with a scowl and a miserable pair of ageing takkies.

So it’s no surprise that, according to a study done by Professor Karen Pine, co-author of Flex: Do Something Different) and psychologists at the University of Herfordshire, our mood strongly influences our choice of clothing. So much so that it is suggested we wear things associated with happiness even when feeling low. as many of the women in the study felt they could adjust their mood according to what they were wearing. “This finding shows that clothing doesn’t just influence others, it reflects and influences the wearer’s mood too. Many of the women in this study felt they could alter their mood by changing what they wore. This demonstrates the psychological power of clothing and how the right choices could influence a person’s happiness.”-(Professor Pine.)

Out of the 100 women questioned in the study, more than half said they are more likely to wear jeans when feeling down and 57% said they wear baggy tops when depressed more than when not. The research also revealed that women wear their favourite dresses more when they are happy. (62%)

It’s particularly interesting that jeans are the item most worn when feeling down because, as Professor Pine mentioned; jeans aren’t for all of us. Mostly, they’re for the willowy and elf-like and they certainly don’t cater for the vertically challenged. I almost always have to ask my mom to take up the hem and often my legs feel out of sorts because my knee is located where some netball player’s calf is. A lot of women squeeze themselves into an ill-fitting, badly made pair of jeans, which look even worse when coupled with that ghastly white-wash effect that magnify ones thighs x100. Those are enough to make anyone reach for the antidepressants if you weren’t already.

Obviously jeans go with a lot of things and there’s nothing better than when you find the right fit. But, they can also help hide you from the world when you feel as if driving to work is the only thing you’re going to achieve that day. That’s probably why I only wear my leopard-print shorts when I’m feeling vaguely confident and extrovertish. “Yes, hello fellow human being” says my red bandana. “Keep walking mate” gripes my grey cardigan through gritted teeth.

But in all seriousness, do clothes really have that strong an influence on our moods? If Vincent Van Gogh had ditched the blue blazer for a polka-dot bow tie would he have kept his ear and his life for longer? If Sylvia Plath had worn more pink would she have put cupcakes into the oven instead of her head? Unlikely. Some people simply are depressed and something tells me there probably isn’t enough couture in the world to change that.

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