“Diary” doesn’t have to be fancy — a paper notebook, an app, or a note-taking feature on your phone will do. Think about how you feel when you’re wearing a particular outfit, and notice specific emotions that arise or the overall mood of the day. Did that blazer make you feel like a powerhouse during a work presentation? Does that flowy dress you wear to the beach show your free-spirited nature? On the other hand, can a pair of jeans make you feel uncomfortable and insecure? These are all valid feelings that can be exploited. Also, jot down any positive feedback you’ve received from other people about your clothes — and how it makes you feel. Reviewing your notes can help you spot trends in the types of clothes that bring you joy (and help you figure out what you should donate).
2. Choose a color that excites you.
If you don’t know where to start, think about the colors you’re drawn to. “Everyone has a color or two they like,” says Dr. Johnson. According to Dr. Johnson, if you’re stumped, you can look at color psychology, which is somewhat common. For example, Baker-Miller Pink, which has a bubblegum shade, has a calming effect 6. Want to feel more alive? Try orange tones, which research shows are both exciting and fun7. For a happy vibe, try yellow7, which is associated with warmth and cheer.
All that being said, the context is that Dr. Benkendorf said that color matters. In addition to current trends, your memories, family traditions, and personal beliefs can also influence your perceptions of color8. So even though research suggests certain pinks may be calming, if you associate it with bad memories, you might find the shade offensive. In this case, avoid it!
3. Try textures.
Wearing your favorite old-school cotton tee feels as inviting as a hug—and for a reason. The tactile effect of the clothing texture can give you a special feeling. For example, soft fabrics like flannel can make you feel good 9 while silk can make you feel sexy9. Try wearing clothes made of different materials and pay attention to how they feel. Doing this can help you choose the right texture to match your desired mood.
The visual and auditory effects of the material will also affect how you feel. For example, studies have shown that, visually, satin gives a sophisticated feel. In contrast, opaque fabrics tend to look sporty. Clothes that rustle softly, like taffeta, can feel classy 9.
Whatever you are Fabric choice, feel comfortable is very important. If a particular item feels itchy or stiff on your skin, you probably aren’t feeling well, says Dr. Benkendorf.
4. Capture your personality with accessories or underwear.
Research 10 shows that when deciding how to use, you may be trying to balance two competing forces you want to present yourself: The desire to fit into a social group and to be recognized as an individual needs, explains Dr. Johnson. For example, if you wear a uniform or a suit to work, you may struggle to balance the two. Clothing without your personality may not foster any strong positive emotions, but you can invigorate accessories like colorful handkerchiefs or bold necklaces.