Dressing Up for Mental Health
Nearly a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re reflecting on how our everyday lives and routines have shifted—for better or worse. Many of us enjoy the new flexibility of working from home, while also recognizing that our everyday boundaries have shifted and swerved to accommodate each business (and personal) pivot. Even the most put-together among us have taken up a lower-maintenance appearance, downgrading our hair and makeup routines and trading our previous wardrobe staples for day-after-day sweatpants. Studies show that our mental health is also on the decline, and that it’s not just a coincidence.
Minding your mental health is just as important as caring for your physical health. Some psychologists believe that the way you dress has the power to influence your mental health and productivity, even when you’re not leaving the house. Major mental health organizations like the National Alliance on Mental Illness recommend keeping your “getting ready” routines intact as a way to set yourself up for a more mentally stable day.
When we take time in the morning to shower and put on clean clothes we tend to feel more put-together, confident, and ready to take on the day. And this can help us show up better in life and be more focused, even from the comfort of the couch. Even the act of getting dressed is directly tied to your mental health, playing a role in your mood throughout the day and leading to further productivity, optimism, motivation, and an overall improved mood.
Tracy Thomas, an emotional scientist, psychologist and interventionist, calls putting effort into our appearance, even if it’s just the tiniest bit, “one of the most important things people can do for their emotional, mental and psychological health.” She compares daily grooming rituals to “celebrating life” and believes such celebrations are especially important right now, when people are spending more time dwelling on the negative. Thomas says, “If you’re dazzling and sparkling, even if it’s just putting on a necklace with your tracksuit, you actually will feel more dazzling and sparking in life.”
An easy way to feel dazzling and sparkling without getting overwhelmed? Pairing a romantic top from our Enchanté Collection with a comfortable pair of jeans or leggings. Styles like the Jillian Blouse and the Genevieve Blouse have beautiful details built in, so there’s no need to fuss over jewelry or lots of makeup to get ready for the day. You’ll instantly feel more polished than you would in a sweatshirt, and (bonus!) you’ll be ready for your next impromptu work-from-home video chat.
The behavioral act of getting dressed can have a significantly positive impact on our mood, confidence and behaviors, according to Sheva Assar, a licensed clinical psychologist in Orange County, California. She believes the act of getting dressed up first thing in the morning may “increase our motivation to do other things throughout the day, to experience more energy and to want to do more things... It gets us out of the cycle of staying in that place of inaction.”
Assar suggests that people not only consider the aesthetics, but how each look corresponds with their agenda for the day, and plan accordingly. Given that many people are working from home, those with multiple appointments might want to change up their look to draw boundaries that help separate one activity from the next.
“If we’re wearing athleisure when working out, going to brunch, outside and when working, it could potentially impact our ability to transition into work mode when we’re wanting to focus on work. So what we’re wearing helps us in making those transitions,” Assar said.
One of our favorite go-to workwear pieces is the Brianna Blazer. Like other items in our Andiamo Collection, it’s made in our Luxe Linen, striking the perfect balance between professional and comfortable. It was designed to be mixed-and-matched with other pieces in the collection, so you can style it with matching Lenore Pants for a feminine twist on suiting—or layer over a sleeveless blouse with your favorite jeans and low-profile footwear. Either way, you’ll feel buttoned up for the day and ready to take on whatever task is next on your list.
Even those who don’t have work or other clearly defined activities to break up their day will find it harder to feel productive and confident without some sort of morning grooming ritual. Just as getting dressed up on a regular basis can elevate our mood and influence our behaviors, dressing down too often can create similar long-term negative effects.
“Human beings really need the aesthetics of life to be good in order to have an elevated mood,” Thomas says, adding that those who underdress regularly can become “less and less productive because you’re not really celebrating your life.”
At CobbleStone, we’re dedicated to supporting your lifestyle at all times of day, which is where our Dolce Collection comes in. Originally designed for lounging, this collection offers gorgeous separates cut in our Sumptuous Silk, so you’ll feel just as luxurious as you look. What’s more, these items are incredibly versatile, so you can dress the same Lena Pants down for bedtime or up for your next date night. By creating different looks for each occasion, you’ll be celebrating your life in style, and boosting your mental health at the same time.