July 16, 2012

Fashion for the Mentally Unstable: Mind Over Matter

Don't you love when life just feels so meaningless you stop doing the things you used to enjoy? And by "love" I mean feel completely ambivalent about. I'll be honest: I'm mentally unstable. Like many people with depressive anxiety, I get listless, unable to focus, and freaked out by every tiny thing that goes wrong. I get angry with myself for being angry/sad about everything. I lose sight of the little things that usually brighten my day.

This is a perpetual cycle. Over and over, throughout my life, I've had episodes where I felt like nothing was worthwhile, that my efforts were wasted and nothing truly lasting would come of my existence. Eventually, I would get tired of feeling like a slug and continue my "futile" efforts at fitting into a society that doesn't seem to have a place for me.

So what's this have to do with fashion?

Human beings are incredibly flexible creatures. This quality has allowed us to thrive in a continually changing world, from the genetic bottleneck almost 100,000 years ago to the societal pressures of capitalism. Thanks to the amazing ability of our brains' neurons to strengthen, weaken and change their connections, (neuroplasticity), we CAN change how we process and react to stimuli by consciously changing our behaviour.


I'm sure you've heard of colour affecting your mood. It turns out that cognitive psychologists have long been interested in how fashion both affects and reflects our mental state. I'm more interested in altering or enhancing my mood through my fashion choices, so let me share some of my techniques for getting the biggest boost from my clothing.

*Please note, due to the individual nature of your mind and background, you may experience different results*

1) Dress for how you want to feel. If, on a good day, you love wearing bright colours, or a sleek silhouette, or a favourite piece jewelry, do that on a bad day, too! Something as simple as wearing your favourite bracelet with your bad-day uniform will help.

2) Dress for who you want to be. Tell your story with your outfit! You can be anyone you want on any given day. Lay pieces out on your bed and mix and match until it looks right, then try it on. If something's not right, add and subtract until you know it's the story you want to tell. This exercise does take practice, so set aside at least an hour for outfit selection before going out, or even spend a Saturday doing nothing but playing dress-up!

3) Dress like you're the awesome-sauce on an awesome taco. Yes, really! You're so awesome that awesome people are awed by your awesome. Fake it 'til you make it, baby!

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed this. I'm depressed and this cheered me up.