GETTING OFF THE COUCH & OUT THE DOOR

 
 Image by Carlotta Moye for Sussan 

Image by Carlotta Moye for Sussan 

Ever since I was a little kid, I always felt that the family couch would take me to a magical place that provided me with the ultimate “cocooning” experience. Back then it was a cream leather lounge, that looked like it had come off the set of Dynasty, plucked from Alexis Carrington’s (Joan Collins) palatial home. Being on the couch would insulate me from the real world, spread horizontally, snuggled up for no other reason than possibly not wanting to face the reality of having to deal with breaking up with a boyfriend, credit card debt, or the realisation that I may need to move out of home soon. Now-days, thanks to always-on, wireless internet, and bigger, better TVs that give you access to everything in the world, in real-time, cocooning (or being a couch potato maybe?) is entering a whole new evolutionary stage. We are staying home more, watching movies and TV shows delivered via the Internet, (Uber) eating in and transforming our apartments and houses into a shelter from daily social contacts. We’ve become 'digital zombies' due to the isolating elements of pervasive mobile technology. We can socialise from behind a mobile screen, in our sweat pants and very dirty hair. And I'm not going to lie, I kind of like it.

There’s something calming about hanging out alone, or with your partner, or family, all day long on the lounge. It’s become a place that is more acceptable to be for long periods of time. But what happens when you need to peel yourself off the lounge and head out into the elements when you really, really don't want to? We all have those days when making an effort is an effort. And getting dressed is like climbing a mountain. But what happens when you really want to hide while having to be seen?

Science says that the clothes we wear affect our behaviour, attitudes, personality, mood, confidence, and even the way we interact with others. And there is actually an official term for it - 'Enclothed Cognition'. This means, what your clothes are saying to you, not about you. The same may be true of you. When your partner tells you, "Get dressed up, you will feel much better!", after a lousy day, sick day, or the day you feel like a failure, there is some real truth to this. Clinical psychologist, Dr. Baumgartner, explains, "When you dress in a certain way, it helps shift your internal self. We see that when we do makeovers, and even actors say that putting on a costume facilitates expression of character. That's just as true for everyday life." Enclothed cognition gives scientific proof to the idea that you should dress not how you feel, but how you want to feel. Which clothes make you feel powerful? Sexy? Happy? In control? Successful? The clothes you choose are not only sending a message to those around you, but also to you, yourself.

Here’s a few ways to 'cheat dress' which can get you off the couch and out into the real world - like it or not, these types of days can be weekly or monthly occurrences, so we just have power through it.

Dressing is the armour to survive the reality of everyday life.
— BILL CUNNINGHAM

1. GYMING: A trend I’m yet to 100% embrace is wearing active wear all day long, especially when there is no intent to, in fact, exercise. However, wearing, or at least carrying, them with you can make it more likely that you will actually exercise. This is because it acts as a reminder to make healthy choices and reduces the chance of making an excuse to change your mind. Something to remember, wearing sweat pants in everyday life is currently a major fashion statement...so make the most of it!

2. SUITED: A blazer is a piece I rely on to transform any outfit. And wearing structured clothing puts us in the right frame of mind to do business. Wearing powerful clothing makes us feel more confident and even increases hormones needed for displaying authority. This, helps us become better negotiators and think about things in a more abstract way.

3. COLOUR CODE: Feeling low, grumpy, upset or sad? While our mental state most definitely affects the way we dress, the reverse is also true. What we wear could affect how we cope on these days. Research says that the quickest fix for a bad day is to wear brightly coloured clothing providing a mini pick me up. But, on the flip side, wearing all black I find can be extremely comforting. As the 'all black' allows me to not stand out while looking pulled together and chic. Maybe try both colour codes and test which one works for you.

4. WHAT’S UNDERNEATH: I have a client that puts more effort into her underwear than her outerwear. Her little secret, amazingly, is that her underwear affects the way she feels on the outside. Hidden clothes can exert a powerful influence on our self perception and confidence levels. It can make us feel self assured, more powerful and confident.

5. BEHIND THE LENSE: Walking out of the house without make up I find rather liberating. But, hiding behind large, black sunglasses makes it not only a distraction from people noticing your black circles under your eyes, but a chic statement. Also, there are some people that like to wear 'fake' reading glasses when their vision is perfect. Glasses can completely transform you, like presenting an alternate version of yourself.

In conclusion, I guess the reality is that we all have these moments and rather than dragging ourselves through the day just to see the light at the end (the couch), we can trick ourselves into a solution. The first step is to recognise that feeling bad sometimes is part of the evolution of life, and each one of us goes through different tests which are unique and challenging. If we use dressing to help us cope, then we are one step closer to a brighter day.

Small changes in how you dress, can make a big impact to how you feel about yourself.
— Tash

This article is copyright and may not be used without the express written permission of Where Did Your Style Go. 

The Dressing Guide 

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