Sometimes you wake up and the day just doesn't seem to work. You got up on the wrong side of the bed and there's already a perma-scowl forming on your face. For times like those, you need fast and easy style tips for when you're feeling your worst. A mood is a delicate thing and sometimes the smallest tweak could change the day around. Maybe a project you've been working on hasn't turned out the way you wanted it, or maybe someone hurt your feelings and you haven't quite been able to shake the sting. Whatever the reason, you've woken up with a black cloud over your head and you're determined to wear your pajamas and robe all day.
I'm here to tell you to back away from the terrycloth (although robes are pretty fabulous); you have other options out there to explore if you want to take a chance by trying something new to improve your mood. By having a few clever mood-boosting styling tips in your back pocket, you'll become better prepared to fight your sulk. Here are seven styling tips for when you're feeling your worst, because we all need a pick me up every now and then.
1. Fight The Urge: Get Out of Pajamas
While the urge to screw the world and just stay in your jammies all day is tempting, you might feel a lot better if you put on actual clothes. It's the same reason why you feel less stressed if you make the bed, or feel more productive if you put on work clothes even if you're working from home. According to Dr. Karen Pine, professor of psychology at the University of Hertfordshire and fashion psychologist, "When we put on an item of clothing it is common for the wearer to adopt the characteristics associated with that garment. A lot of clothing has symbolic meaning for us, whether it’s ‘professional work attire’ or ‘relaxing weekend wear,’ so when we put it on we prime the brain to behave in ways consistent with that meaning."
In other words, if you're ready to wear lazy pajamas all day, you're likely to adopt that lazy, slow-moving mood. Put on something snazzy and you'll begin to feel a bigger pep in your step.
2. Put On Something Fancier Than Normal
Alright, so you're grumpy. You want to shake your fists at no one in particular and put your head down on the desk. For moments like those, perk up your mood by putting on something fancier than normal. Bust out that tulle skirt, take out the cashmere sweater, or put on some strappy heels. By letting yourself dabble with the nicer side of your closet, you're trying to adopt the mood of the fancier clothes. It's kind of like smiling even though you're sad: The act of doing it moves your body towards a happier direction.
According to Lindsay Abrams, health writer at The Atlantic, in a study that used chopsticks to manipulate the facial muscles of 169 participants into a smile, "The participants who were instructed to smile recovered from the stressful activities with lower heart rates than participants who held neutral expressions." Which means: Fake it until you make it. Force a better mood on yourself with pretty articles of clothing; it'll wear off on you.
3. Put On Your Most Favorite Thing You Own
Reaching for your most favorite thing in your wardrobe is the equivalent of wrapping a blanket around your shoulders: It'll give you all the cozy and happy feels. Whether that's your most ancient pair of jeans, your mother's ring from the '70s, or the fanciest dress you have in your closet, go for it. Since it gives you pleasure, it'll perk up your mood. It's kind of like tossing your budget out the window and indulging in a $6 cup of fancy coffee.
For example, whenever I'm feeling low I put on my favorite white sheer skirt. It's so frivolous and feminine that it makes it hard to stay grumpy throughout the afternoon.
4. Go For Comfort
When you're mad, you're less patient, and when you're less patient, you're not really going to stand for scratchy fabrics or slightly tight waistlines. Take obstacles out of your path by opting for the comfier pieces in your wardrobe. According to psychologist Dr. Vince Berger, "If you are angry, sad, anxious, or depressed you will have less patience and tolerance for everything and everybody." So do yourself a favor: Opt for that loose dresses or comfy pair of boyfriend jeans. That'll be one less trigger for your mood to spiral.
5. Put On Perfume
If you're not stepping outside of the house, this is even more cause to put a spritz on or two. Why? Because it'll be all about doing it for yourself and yourself only. You're indulging in something pretty just because it pleases you, and that in turn will signal the happy and indulging centers in your brain because it's frivolous and doting.
For example, when I've had a long night of catching up on projects, the first thing I want to do in the morning is break my alarm clock like a cartoon character with a hammer, and then sleep until noon with a dark mood. On days like those, I make sure to put on a spiffier outfit than usual and then reach for one of my more expensive perfumes, because it tricks my brain into thinking everything is going peachy that day. I have a clean sweater on, I'm taking extra steps to make myself feel pretty — what could possibly be wrong? My mood slowly starts to adopt that feeling.
6. Put On Bright Lipstick
A pop of color goes a long way. Psychology studies have shown that color can stimulate the brain and can energize, empower, and bring happiness. How's that for a mood changer? According to Milena Damjanov of Health , "These two stimulating colors [red and violet] boost your energy level by causing your body to pump out more adrenaline," said Leslie Harrington, a founder of LH Color, a color-consulting and research firm in Old Greenwich, Conn.
Toss away that dark mood by swiping on a bright red or an electric pink. Every time you catch your reflection, you'll get a little peppier.
7. Add Some Color To Your Cheeks
You know when you glance at the mirror and you look sallow and tired, you instantly get angrier? It's like your mood is reflected back at you; you're reminded how worn out or fed up you are. To fight that possibility, take some time that morning to add a little glow to your skin. Pamper it with your best cream, brush bronzer along your cheekbones and the bridge of your nose, and dab highlighter underneath your eyes and by the bow of your lips.
I do this every time I had to pull an all-nighter to tidy up a project. The next day I want to snap the head off of any person that dares to talk to me before noon, but looking dewy and springy always makes me hard pressed to remember that I was feeling burnt out.
Style is a great way to be creative, but it can also be used as a mood enhancer and since we all have bad days every now and then, why not give it a shot?