Mental Health

Dressing when down

As opposed to dressing down!

The hardest time for me to get dressed is when the “black dog” (as Winston Churchill amongst others has described it) has hit. On those days it is hard enough to motivate myself to get up, let alone try to come up with an outfit to wear. The best way to describe it is feeling like you have a really bad case of the flu. It’s so hard to do anything, let alone decide what to wear (I have googled “what to wear when depressed” but shockingly there’s very little out there!)

For these days I have a uniform of sorts. It makes life easier for me as I don’t have to put much thought into it, and I can at least get out the house and go for a walk. If I am having a bad time I always try and go for a walk just to clear my head and because it has been shown that just 30 minutes spent walking can help with your mood. In the summer it is easier as I will just pull on any colourful summer dress but when it is horrible out like it is at the moment then it has to be a bit more thought out in advance. So all of the clothes must follow this set of rules –

Nothing black or grey 

I always find that the colour of my clothes (and hair!) have an affect on my mood. So if I feel bad I will be drawn to dark clothes and then I feel worse! So even if I’m in pyjamas they will be LOUD!!

Nothing uncomfortable

It is so easy to just sit around in pyjamas and a dressing gown when I’m down. They are comfortable and it’s less effort than getting dressed. And so I need to make sure that the clothes I have for these occasions are comfortable too. I have a few pairs of wide legged floaty trousers for warmer weather to wear with a vest top or t shirt but as it’s cold I have either my Oasis jeans or high waisted trousers from Primark which I can wear with a nice comfy top and a pair of heels. Fluffy jumpers come in handy with this as I can stroke them and focus on that as a calming exercise (like a stress ball but softer and fluffier!)

Cover the legs

Either with trousers or tights. The simple reason for this is that when I find getting up in the morning an issue, you know that I’m not making the effort of shaving my legs! So for example, a dress like the above with tights works a treat.

Only one change of outfit allowed 

I have a great ability to zoom in one very single little flaw that I have. One of my friends has told me it’s because I focus in on details that other people don’t see. My counsellor thinks I just am extremely self critical. And my mother? She just thinks I am crackers! This is also why I don’t like to post photos with my face visible in pictures – I always think I look drunk!

This rule only came into practice after one especially bad morning when I lived in London. I rang my mum crying down the phone because I couldn’t bring myself to leave my flat. The reason? Nothing looked right! Bearing in mind it wasn’t like I was off to Vogue or something, I was off to an all boys school! But still I couldn’t bring myself to pick a damn outfit! So with my entire wardrobe covering my bed I had a total meltdown! I was still 60 minutes early to work, but that’s because I’ve always been obsessed with being late so am ridiculously early to everything!

So now it doesn’t matter if I hate outfit number one and two. I’m going out in it whether I like it or not. You’ll be surprised to hear, I’m sure, that the world doesn’t end and noone points and laughs at me…

Coat and shoes

If all else fails and you have to go out but can’t work up the energy to pull something together then I will pull on a fabulous coat and shoes as noone knows what horrors lurk beneath. This came in handily recently when I bumped (literally, he walked right into me!) into an ex. Thank god for the Manolos and Collectif coat as he couldn’t see that I had on just a ratty pair of leggings and a t shirt!


Yes there are days when even this doesn’t work but I have much less of those since I implemented these rules. Now I know not everyone has depression but a “uniform” of sorts is always helpful when you are even just feeling a bit blah.

Does any item of clothing make you automatically feel happier when you pull it on?!




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