What’s the secret to being confident? While some people believe it’s the size of their wallet or having a “can-do” positive attitude, the latest research believes the secret to feeling mentally great starts in your wardrobe.
According to Mind, 1 in 6 people report experiencing a common mental health problem like anxiety and depression every single week. Worryingly, 1 in 5 people has suicidal thoughts off the back of these feelings and 1 in 15 attempt suicide.
It’s a problem which has worsened in recent years as the pressures of appearances mount and the world of social media keyboard warriors continues to rise.
However, something that is creating a lot of buzz in recent years is fashion. In particular, how it can positively impact our self-esteem and long-term mental health.
You are what you dress
We already know that what we wear affects other people’s impressions of us. But according to Professor Karen Pine from the University of Hertfordshire, putting on nice clothing can make us feel confident in all sorts of situations too.
In a study conducted for her book, Mind What You Wear, she got students to wear a superman t-shirt. To her surprise, she found that not only did it make them more confident, but it made them think they were physically stronger as well.
The author of Heaven and Hell: The Psychology of the Emotions, Neel Burton also believes that wearing clean clothes can make you feel good about yourself. This means swapping a crumpled t-shirt for a fresh, ironed one.
While it may seem like an odd concept, there’s a lot of logic in these findings. For men, it only takes one dodgy wardrobe malfunction to get an earful from your mates down the pub or to blow a date with someone you’re really into.
The modern world is full of high expectations and tends to single out those who don’t conform to the status quo.
How to dress in a way that improves your mental wellbeing
The high pressures of fitting in don’t mean you have to stop wearing colourful patterns which capture your bubbly personality. It’s a case of wearing something that makes you feel comfortable, happy and positive. Every day when you open up your wardrobe, think of it as an opportunity to start your day off on the right note. To take control of how you feel.
Think about the smaller things and the rest will fall into place. This includes finding a pair of shoes that fit well and look good, picking a nice watch, ironing your shirts and even colour coordinating your belt with the rest of your outfit.
Taking care of every last detail will make you look more “put together” and help you act that way throughout the day.
One of the hardest parts of dressing well and addressing your mental health is knowing where to start. If you don’t class yourself as a fashionista, don’t be afraid to ask your pals for advice.
It’s better to swallow your pride and seek counsel than do it on your own and being the butt of the joke on a night out with the boys. You’ll be surprised by how willing your mate will be to lend a hand. After all, you’re effectively telling them that you like their style – which is a pretty big compliment!
Or if you’re not ready to discuss your fashion choices with a friend, take a look at our previous blogs. We have a huge array of style tips to help you feel a million dollars.
The final thing to remember is that your fashion choices don’t have to cause other mental strains, such as financial issues. Granted, there’s nothing more exciting than putting on a fresh item of clothing or pair of shoes, but that isn’t sustainable nor affordable.
As a starting point, use some of our best money-saving men’s style hacks. This includes taking care of what you have, making a plan, using the websites we listed to find bargains and spend more on investment pieces which are versatile with multiple looks and keep their quality for longer.
But above all, have some fun with it. Being mentally happy starts with feeling good about yourself. So, always take your time choosing clothing that makes you feel confident and it’ll give you a positive platform to tackle any challenge you face over the next 24 hours.