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Dress to express for your Mental Health

The psychology behind clothing style

A collaboration from Clara Oyanguren and Sofia Quadra


Last week, students participated in the school’s mental health campaign, “Dress to Express your mental health.” During the week, students dressed in a way that showed their own, unique style for each day that had a theme related to Mental health. The themes for each day were as follows:


(Photo credit: CSA Counseling dept)


The dress-down week allowed students to express themselves and opened up many conversations about mental health. Clothes and creativity are major ways in which we communicate. It’s one of the ways we can express to the world what we’re feeling and our thoughts with little need for verbal communication. With all of the stereotypes, misconceptions, skepticism, and judgment around it, mental health is a challenging topic that many find difficult and hard to talk about. So, what better way to express ourselves than through what we wear.


The daily theme was linked to a mental health statement, which was a daily reminder to take care of ourselves. Listen to Music, appreciate nature, exercise, and write and talk about your feelings. All of which are crucial to our mental well-being.

Photo Credit: Clara Oyanguren


There is scientific evidence that shows that clothing has a physiological effect on our wellness and mental well-being. According to Sheva Assam, a licensed clinical psychologist, the act of getting dressed can have a significantly positive impact on our mood, confidence, and behaviors (HuffPost). It is fascinating to think that just by wearing something you like, your chances of having a positive attitude throughout the day increases! Tracy Thomas, an emotional scientist stated, “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 sparkling in life” (HuffPost). So, don’t forget to enjoy those unique and original details when dressing up or simply dressing for everyday life!


Moreover, researchers from Northwestern University conducted a study in 2012 where they found that wearing specific articles of clothing had an effect on the individual’s psychology and performance and claimed that clothes have a symbolic meaning as they influenced our psychological state. This phenomenon is known as “enclothed cognition” (Dittrich, 2019). For instance, a lab coat is associated with “intelligence and scientific thinking”. According to researchers, wearing a lab coat seems to have a positive effect on a person’s performance. Generally speaking, this study shows that the figurative meaning behind different fashion articles has quantifiable and significant effects on our mental state (Dittrich, 2019).


What do you think about it? Do you think we are what we wear?

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