If Nobody Sees You Does it Matter What You Wear?


If you’re not planning on leaving the house.  You don’t have anybody visiting.  You aren’t planning on seeing anyone.

Does it really matter what you wear?

This is the topic that Jill Chivers of 16 Style Types and I discuss in this video.

Does it Really  Matter What You Wear When You’re Alone? 

If it Does Matter How Does it Matter?

For Jill, even if nobody sees her, she likes to be co-ordinated as it makes her feel good (just as she likes her home organised and stylishly decorated, even when she’s not having visitors.

The answer to this will be an internal one.  It can relate to how you feel about yourself, and how what you wear impacts on your mood.

I know for me, if I don’t dress in a way that makes me feel a modicum of stylishness, even if it’s a very casual outfit, I find that every time I catch a glimpse of myself in a mirror (such as going to the bathroom) I will get a negative, depressing feeling that then lowers my overall mood.  So even if I’m planning on seeing nobody, I will still dress in a way that makes me feel better about myself (and in an outfit I’d happy to be caught in, should I accidentally bump into someone).

Work at home leggings outfit
Here is an example of one of my Work-at-home comfortable leggings outfits

There may also be a psychological readying for you if you dress as if you are planning on going somewhere or doing something important  – even if you’re just working or spending time at home.  For both Jill and I, getting dressed for work, even when that work is at home, gets us mentally ready for a full and productive day, that I don’t feel, should I stay in my PJs all day (even though I could).

This all relates to the field of Enclothed Cognition, a field of social science that is showing just how much what we wear influences how we feel.  So I’m sure that my dressing up for a day of work, at home alone, has a positive psychological effect on me and the work I produce.  Even something as simple as wearing colour or a pattern can bring you joy.


Dr Karen Pine’s research has found that when we are depressed, we tend to dress in non-special clothes (such as saggy baggy old jeans), we keep our “best” outfits, for when we are feeling good – even though these clothes would actually make us feel better.

I’ve also noticed when shopping with clients, that when they put on an outfit that is a few steps above what they are used to, for example, the male client who was always wearing tracksuits because he worked from home and nobody would see him, when we went shopping for a suit, as he looked at himself in the mirror, I saw his whole body language change, suddenly I could see his posture straighten up and he became more confident.  He was surprised as he noticed this change too and commented to me that he had not realised that what he wore affected him at all until he saw the physical change in himself.

There are some days that you just may not have the energy to think about putting together a stylish outfit, this is where having some stylish “go-to” outfits at the ready, so you don’t have to think about them, but you know that they work and won’t drain you of any mental energy.

Of course, this totally relates to you, your feelings, your emotions, your psychology.  For some who are unlike Jill or me, what they wear doesn’t seem to matter as much, for others it has a dramatic impact on the quality of their day.  If you’re suffering from image burn out – here are 4 tips to help you look stylish without it taking too much brainpower!

I always love getting emails or Facebook comments from people who tell me that looking stylish, even when dealing with stressful events in their life (such as a loved one sick and dying, a health scare of their own or some other event that would really bring you down) how looking stylish has helped them cope with these events and made a positive impact on their psyche.

Grooming Counts

When people have been diagnosed with depression they tend not to pay much attention to their grooming.  In fact, poor grooming is often a sign of a poor mental state, and one of the indicators of someone’s mental health improving is them paying more attention to their grooming.  Read here about why grooming matters so much. 

What I’d love to know is your experiences around this topic?  Does what you wear change how you feel?  Is wearing a more stylish outfit something that changes your mood and self-esteem?


How to Create a Stylish Outfit? What Are Your Criteria that Makes it Great?

Linking Up to: Not Dressed as LambStyle with a SmileThursday Fashion FilesAgeless StyleVisible Monday 


I'm not sure if it's for you but how would you feel if you learned all about the colours and styles of clothing that suit your individual personality, shape and style? Just imagine what it would be like when you can open your wardrobe and pull together fabulous outfits that make you look and feel amazing every day? If you'd like to stop wasting money on the wrong clothes and accessories plus join an amazing bunch of very special women also on their style journey - then my 7 Steps to Style program is right for you. Find out more here.

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  • Thanks, I needed to hear this today. I’ve been in a rut of leggings and ponytails… needed some motivation to get dressed for the day. Getting dressed also helps me get my “dirty work” done right away – before I get cleaned up and dressed. (I enjoy the thought you put into your posts – so much more than just clothes.)

    • Thanks Kelli – I know what you mean – it helps me exercise first thing and then get dressed into proper clothes! Or do some housework now then get into nicer clothing – great point!

    • Love this Sharon – great quote! It’s true – I like to “be prepared” as the boy scouts motto goes! Then I can take immediate action if necessary (even if that just means leaving the house!)

  • My appearance has never made me feel any better nor did it make me any more popular. I just found out most of the guys who are interested in me is due to my large bust. I guess only one of them was interested in me the person as I blew it with him as when I met him I was already in love with my first love Justin and while he was single I had no interest in any other men. I lost interest in what little makeup I wore in the past (just a little foundation or concealer to even out my skin tone as I hate feeling like I’m wearing a mask) after Lee’s and my younger son Thomas died of SIDS. I’d rather spend that money on my hobbies that keep me from overthinking about my loss. I do keep up on proper skin and hair care. I have thick and wavy hair and I wear it in a mostly natural state (I do comb it to get smaller waves as it naturally wants to go into larger ones). My hair is my favorite physical feature. It has started to grey but I love mine since they shine even when the dark brown doesn’t so I have no plans to dye it. My style is simple, minimalist, and somewhat Bohemian which isn’t popular. I’m V shaped but my shoulders are only slightly larger than my hips. My bust is seven cup sizes too large for the rest of my body. I only fit higher rise junior sized leggings (don’t have enough butt or hip for ladies sizes) but my thick thighs (all my body parts start out wider and naturally taper to being narrower) often will burst the inner thigh seams so I mostly wear fit and flare dresses or a fitted top with a long straight for flared skirt. My thighs though don’t cause chafing when I wear dresses and skirts. There’s a fifteen inch difference between my bust and waist but only a six inch difference between my waist and hips which is why I prefer fitted tops with looser bottoms. Otherwise I end up looking boxy as the fabric will just hang down from my bust. I look best in clear warm colors and pastels. I though tend to gravitate toward blue and green since that is my favorite color combination lately. Dark brown and dark blue have always been my favorite colors. Light to olive green reminds me of Thomas’ eye color. I’m also picky about fabrics as some synthetic ones irritate my skin. I tend to look for stretchy fabrics for my tops since when I fit to my bust they will slip off my shoulders and they can only take in clothing so much. I have metal allergies so I don’t wear a lot of jewelry. In the Fall and Winter I prefer my pajamas or robes since to save on our electric bill we only primarily heat the bedrooms. In the Spring and Summer I will hang around the house in usually just my bra and underwear. Lee and our older son Daniel often run around the house in naked or just in their boxers that time of the year. They also go shirtless outside but with shorts on. I’m tempted to throw off my clothing except for my bra and underwear but that would be illegal. Maybe I should get a bikini set so it would be okay to do so. To me the coverage is no different. Actually my bras are more full coverage than a bikini top as I love wireless ones that have very thick straps. They are easy on and easy off and the most comfortable I’ve ever worn. Also they are more forgiving when my size changes (usually I gain a cup size every other year no matter what I do as it’s happened when I lost weight, when my weight remained stable, and naturally when I gained weight) and I haven’t missed wires trying to stab me. My favorite one is the Breast Nest which gives no lift but also there’s no sweat. It’s the only bra I don’t have to apply a moisture absorbing powder under or wear a sweat wicking liner with. That is the one area I will get heat rashes every time. It’s straps are the thickest and it’s racer back is also very thick. Daniel will interrupt Lee and I so quick is best. Comfort is KING to me. My shoes tend to be on the ugly side as I prefer roomy toe boxes, minimal padding, and low drop. I think walking normally is better than limping or crawling which happens when I wear uncomfortable shoes.

  • Love your nobody-sees- you video! Thanks for sharing this. Yes! Getting out of nightwear marks a new day and gets me in a proactive frame of mind. I feel better about myself and life in general when I am wearing clothes around the house that have some charm. When I throw on any old thing, I feel like any old thing. Of course. this is very time when someone will call to the door and find me standing there like a wreck! The Law of Attraction is not always a friend.. My biggest challenge now is finding casual clothes that are neither dinky nor dowdy. Time to bring out the sewing-machine and make my own, I think!

  • This is an interesting topic. For me personally, it depends.

    When I was working in my career, I most definitely felt better when I was well groomed and dressed. Now that I’m retired from my Information Technology career and have realized my dream of living on my own horse farm I find that’s harder to accomplish, much to my chagrin.

    When you spend all the hours you have (or maybe that should read, have the energy for) working on a farm (cleaning stalls, maintaining the fencing and buildings, mowing vegetation, spraying weeds) at some point styling hair, wearing make-up and racking your brain for stylish outfits seems like a ‘zero sum’ game. As soon as I walk outdoors and the wind grabs my hair, there goes any styling efforts! Lol

    I grew up having ‘good’ clothes and ‘play’ clothes and to a large extent still think I look at my wardrobe thru that lens. I find now that it’s difficult to drum up the enthusiasm to make the effort knowing that my hair and clothes will smell like a dirty stall floor as soon as I do that daily stall cleaning! On the days when I get a chance to get off the farm for some reason, I love how I feel with hair styled, makeup applied and a sharp outfit, but in my day-to-day life it’s not worthwhile to me to spend that kind of time on it, that could be my INTJ personality expressing itself. 🙂

    Now, having said all that, I do understand that my situation isn’t one that most women can relate to. My mom (who’s 89) still applies make-up and styles her hair everyday, even if her only plans are to clean the house. When I asked her why she does make-up everyday when she’s not even leaving the house, she told me that she does it for herself, that she just feels better when she does.

  • It’s very difficult for me to find comfortable clothes to be at home. I only find pajamas or tracksuits in stores.
    I don’t feel good when I wear my home clothes. Can you give us ideas?
    Thank you very much for your blog. It is a pleasure to read it.

  • As a caregiver for my DH (has dementia, etc.), what I wear on a daily basis doesn’t affect me that much, being stylish doesn’t matter that much to me. For me I usually wear yoga pants or jeans, then a tee shirt. But I do make sure clothes are always clean (that matters), and I shower daily (that matters too). With curly hair, I don’t do much, but I still make sure its “done” in usually a light braid or pony tail, but something that keeps it contained. I do know that does make a difference for me. I may not be beautiful, but I at least feel presentable. I know I could answer the door, go out wherever (other than nice dining) and be presentable, even if on the plainer end of what most people may wear. Wearing makeup is not high on my priority list, but I do make sure I take care of what are for me essential, getting my hair color and cut done, clothes that fit decently (though comfort does matter).

    It may not seem as if I do much compared to others, but we do need to have something “style” wise that matters. I know if my clothes are dirty, don’t fit, torn or otherwise unacceptable it does matter to me.

    Thank you for this article. I think as work evolves (more work from home, more caregivers, etc.) people will and do need to think more about this. Its great being comfortable, but sloppy I think tends to make us sloppy, less willing to care. And I think that’s something we need to be careful of – not caring. And if looking sloppy, leaves us acting sloppy, then what we wear should matter, even if nobody sees us.

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