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Do You Wear Your Clothing or Your Emotions on Your Sleeve?

Do the clothes you wear really make you, you? We may rarely think about it, but what you put on today might have been a direct expression of how you felt when you put on the outfit this morning. Maybe you didn’t really care or you were feeling down when you were getting dressed. However, on a day that you do care or thatyou have something special to dress up for, you probably put a little more umph into to looking your best or expressing the positive feelings you have. This idea is called embodied cognition, which means that our perception, intuitions, and overall understanding of things around us are not only determined by our mental state and capacity but also by our experiences in the physical world.

I didn’t realize this myself until recently, but I definitely have the tendency to wear my emotions on my sleeve, literally. On days when I’ve felt stressed, overwhelmed, depressed, anxious, or uninterested, I would throw on the bare basics with no thought. Also, at least one piece of my getup would be black! Unconsciously, I was trying to cover up as to not draw attention to myself when I felt terribly. I am a naturally expressive person so in some way, shape, or form, my feelings will seep out somewhere!

I know this may seem irrelevant but it’s important that we acknowledge how we feel before we get dressed and walk out the door. Why, you ask? Because you are a walking billboard for yourself! In conversations with colleagues and friends, I found that I sometimes came across as looking unprepared, seemingly having low confidence, or like I wanted to disappear in the crowd. Wow! Because I allowed my feelings to dictate my presentation, I advertised my brand (myself) in a way that counters the reputation and perception I’m trying to build for success.

I will blog about the ins and outs of having a personal brand later but what’s important to note now is your clothing may do more talking than you ever intend for it to do. Our goal in life should be to do our best and be our best in all endeavors. We need to translate this into our presentation as we relate, connect to, and do business for other people.

Consider these ideas about how clothing reflects your feelings:

  • Consider a trip to the hospital. As soon as you put on that baggy hospital gown, you feel vulnerable, unsure of yourself, and defenseless. Your physical symptoms may even worsen. Who feels good wearing a hospital gown? No one…

  • When you dress up to go to a wedding or fancy dinner, you feel classy or elegant. For most of us, putting on our “Sunday best” brings out our best manners and makes us feel confident about our looks. The better you think you look, the better you feel about yourself. That’s surely an argument for putting your best foot forward when getting dressed to go out into the world.

  • Think back to when you wore something you didn’t like. If you’ve ever thought your pants were too tight, your butt looked too wide, or the bright colors highlighted your problem areas, you likely carried negative feelings rather than positive ones about your clothing. How you feel about your outfit can negatively affect your day and your performance.

  • Now, consider how you feel when you wear your favorite clothes. You feel great when you wear clothes you love and studies show that you perform better at an optimal level.

As it turns out, your feelings are closely connected with the clothes you wear. When you have a wardrobe that’s appealing to you, you’ll present yourself more confidently. Consider going through your closet today and donating those outfits that seem to bring you down. Who knows, those same clothes might lift the spirits of someone else! Of course, dress in ways that express your attributes, accentuate your body type, and are appropriate for the occasion.

Did you Know?

Taking pride in the neatness of how we dress helps us to develop responsible habits?

Caring for your appearance by keeping track of details such as ironing, dry cleaning, hemming, cutting unraveling fabric, etc., reinforces habits of attention to detail and planning ahead which are great skills needed to be successful.

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