293: Inside Out and Outside In Style

I called my blog Inside Out Style because I’ve found when you align your outside with your personality – who you are on the inside –  you feel your most comfortable and confident.  That said, not every day do we feel like the best version of ourselves which led me to think about Outside In style (and Inside Out style in a different context which I’m discussing here.

Let me ask you a question

Do you use your clothing to enhance your mood or to illustrate it?  Do you know how to use your clothing to change your mood?



Enclothed Cognition

“What you wear directly influences how think, feel and believe.  It’s a phenomenon we call enclothed cognition.” Mojo Adams, PhD, Management Professor, NorthWestern University USA, it’s a phenomenon that has been termed Enclothed Cognition.

Clothes invade the body and brain putting the wearer into a different psychological state.  For example, formal clothes make you feel more authoritative and powerful whilst athletic clothes make you more likely to exercise.

Bright clothes make you feel more joyful and dark clothing can make you feel less vibrant.

What is great, when you start to understand this, is that you can use clothing like a magic wand to change how you feel each day, depending on what you want.

You can use your clothing to control your emotions

There are two ways you can do this:

  1. Mood Illustration Dressing – Inside Out Style
  2. Mood Enhancement Dressing – Outside In Style

Mood Illustration Dressing – Inside Out Style

Let’s look first at Mood Illustration Dressing – the Inside Out version of deciding on what you’re going to wear.

You can illustrate how you’re feeling by dressing to suit the mood you’re in.  Feeling alive and vibrant, wear bright colours, and fun patterns in fabrics that move with your body.

Feeling powerful and strong, dressed in more structured clothing such as a blazer or crisp shirt with tailored pants that heighten your feeling of being in charge.

Feeling down and depressed, well you’re most likely to reach for your worst-fitting jeans and sloppiest top, why do you do this?  Because you’re not feeling “good” enough to wear your “good” clothes, so you are dressing to illustrate how bad you’re feeling on the inside.  

Mood illustration dressing is great when your mood is good, but it’s not so good when your mood is down or depressed.  It’s at these times rather than reaching for the clothing to illustrate your mood, you should use Mood Enhancement Dressing – the Outside In version of style.

Mood Enhancement Dressing – Outside In Style

Cognitive behaviour therapy is a psychological tool you can use to improve your mood and change your behaviours.  In essence, you become how you behave when you keep on practising that behaviour.

Outside In dressing is a way of altering your mood or psychological state.  If you’re feeling down then don’t reach for the sloppy, frumpy (or as we in  Australia call them, the daggy) clothes, instead, reach for something that will enhance your mood.

Think about how you’d like to be feeling:

  • Powerful
  • Happier
  • Energetic
  • Romantic
  • Sophisticated
  • Approachable
  • Fun
  • Relaxed
  • Insert the emotion or mood you want to feel here

This list is endless, you choose how you want to feel ideally then dress in a way that helps you achieve this feeling.  Use Mood Enhancement dressing as a tool to help assist you in deciding what to wear each day or for any occasion.

Inside Out and Outside In Style - Mood Illustration and Mood Enhancement Dressing

If I want to feel more vibrant and energetic, I might do something like put on a warm bright colour like red or hot pink as it helps to lift my mood and bring more joy.

\I’ve seen how impactful dressing in an outfit that makes you feel good can be, when I shop with clients and we hit on a fabulous outfit I see their whole body posture change, they stand up straighter, shoulders go backwards and you can see they are liking what they see reflected in the mirror and it’s making them feel great.

When You Wake Up

Assess your mood. How are you feeling?  Do you want to illustrate your great mood, or do you want to enhance your mood and make yourself feel better than you are currently feeling?

I know from my own experience, that if I’m feeling down, that mood illustration dressing (dressing in sloppy clothes) won’t help me, and in fact, it can make me feel worse over the day as I catch sight of myself in the bathroom mirror.  Whilst if I take a little care, and dress in an outfit that I know is stylish, I will start to feel better.   Sometimes when you’re down it can be hard to think about what the ingredients are in a stylish outfit – which is why it’s so useful to have some “go to outfits” or your own personalised style formula or guidelines for putting one together (want to know how to do this?  Check out my Outfit Masterclass).

Even if nobody will see you except yourself in the mirror – getting dressed in something that makes you feel even a little more stylish can help enhance your mood.

Mood Reinforcement Dressing

Why not keep on reinforcing a great mood, or particular feeling, by dressing in outfits that give you that feeling each day!  Once you figure out what is working for you, that makes you feel and look fabulous in the way that you want, then dressing that way repeatedly will help to reinforce that mood, and will help to create new behaviours and more positive feelings in yourself as you are using this Cognitive Behaviour Therapy technique to create some new habits as you use style as a form of self-care. When you get dressed up in stylish outfits every day, you actually become that person, as research shows that it gives you more confidence and improves your self-esteem.


Style as an Act of Self Care

As you can now see, you can use your style as an act of daily self care, to help improve your mood, or reinforce your mood, so you do feel more confident every day.

What are you going to wear tomorrow?  If you’re unsure of what to wear and what will help you feel better, do join me in my 7 Steps to Style program, which gives you the foundational style education you never got anywhere else, plus it includes my Evolve Your Style program that will get you out of your style rut and into more stylish outfits every day, and has been described as life-changing as it really does help to enhance your mood every day for a month (reinforcing a better mood).  I can’t wait to get to know you!


If Nobody Sees You Does it Matter What You Wear?


Why Style isn’t Shallow and Why Improving Your Style Gives You Greater Confidence

What 2 Things You Should Wear to Bring More Joy Into Your Life

If You’d Like to Define Your Style and Discover Your Colours

If you’re sick of wasting money on clothes that don’t work and you know there is a better way, then join my 7 Steps to Style program and get the right information for you and your style.

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