When we were growing up, our mother would tell us to get up and get dressed you’ll feel better. My grandmother would say put some makeup on or run the vacuum cleaner when someone had spent too much time being sick or down. It seems rather rough today at a time when mental health appears to be soring. When we were growing up, depression wasn’t something you talked about, and it wasn’t as common as today. So, why have we seen an increase in mental health? Where did the outbreak of depression originate, and is it possible to address it without medication? Perhaps in some situations but not all. For the moments when a change in attire could improve our moods, why not give it a try?
In the protocol arena, how you dress and good posture says a lot about a person. Statics show that people who dress well carry themselves differently and are treated differently. They are viewed as successful and confident. It does take some confidence today to dress well because many people are not dressing up as much as possible. We have become an extremely casual society rarely requiring a dress code. So here is the question. Is there a connection between our very relaxed apparel and the spike in depression? I think there is. I don’t have any letters after my name to indicate that I have been educated in my theory. My concept is based purely on experience and observation. How can a person feel excellent about themselves after wearing a sweatshirt and yoga pants for three weeks?
Sloppy casual rarely presents a favorable image if it is observed too often. There is a time and a place for all kinds of casual, but it is not for every occasion.
If you are experiencing the winter blues or tired of being down, try something new and kick up your outfit. Make some extra time for makeup, doing your hair, perhaps putting on a jacket and a pair of nice loafers. Hold the door for your wife or treat someone special, well dressed. See how it feels and if your frame of mind improves. What can it hurt?
We dress our children up for church every week to make sure they still remember how it feels to look nice. They like the attention, and I notice their backbones always seem a little straighter when they feel good about themselves. It makes them feel special.
So the next time you are feeling a little down about something, hit the back of your closet where your dress up clothes live and slide something special on. It just might be what you need for an attitude adjustment.
Colleen Harding is a certified etiquette and protocol instructor and the founder of the Cleveland School of Etiquette and Corporate Protocol. Programs and packages available for children and businesses.