Can your clothing affect your mood?

Most of us would probably agree that there is a relationship between what we wear, our emotions and moods. Even if you don’t notice the subtle fashion attributed mood changes there is no denying that too long in a pair of stilettos will make anyone cranky. Psychological research conducted by researchers at the University of Huddersfield quantified, formalised and explored the causal relationships between clothing style, preference, personality factors, emotions and mood with some interesting results.

The Study

For the study 27 female undergraduate students were given eight outfits. These outfits were casual, formal or evening wear with different fits, colours, brands, and fabrics chosen to make the wearers feel the emotions traditionally associated with these types of clothing

  •  formal and (tailored, uniformed, disciplined and utilitarian values associated with formal clothes);
  • casual, (unrestricted, undisciplined and relaxed values associated with casual wear);
  • evening wear, (social enhancement, revealing, diverse and expressive values associated with evening wear).

The students baseline moods were taken prior to trying on the outfits and studies were conducted as they tried on the outfits.

The Results

This specific study had a small sample size so no large-scale break-throughs were made. The results indicated strong relationships between mood and significant relationships between three out of five personality factors and clothing style preference; mood was a significant predictor of preference, whilst personality was moderate.

Here are some fun little facts from the study that you can use to inspire your daily dressing ritual:

  • If you want to feel inspired and important don your best gown. Study outfit 6 (a red silk evening dress) was an inspiring favourite by all participants correlating with prior research that suggested that being well dressed led to greater sociability, power and worth
  • The personality trait or mood that we as wearers want to communicate through our clothing will affect our behaviours. So it’s a good idea to consider this fact when deciding what to wear in the morning
  • The evening casual style outfit (fitted black dress 1960’s style with white stripes) trialled by participants helped to improve and sustain agreeableness and a positive mood. You can use this in your own closet by checking your closet for a classic but dressy little black dress and harnessing it’s feel-good powers.
  • Embrace the casual if you want to get things done! Casual outfits made the study participants feel more active. Which led to the cracker info in the quote box from a study in 1905 stating that causal clothes lead us to animal spirit freedoms!

casual clothes enhanced a sense of freedom and animal spirit

How do clothes affect your mood? Is there a LBD in your life that makes you smile? Perhaps you get angry when you wear black? Share your thoughts below.