I Started Wearing This 1 Thing Every Day to Improve My Mood, and I'm Never Looking Back
I'm only slightly embarrassed to admit that Lydia Deetz from Beetlejuice and Avril Lavigne were my primary style icons in high school — which meant I was often covered head to toe in black. My goth/emo days aside, black has always been a color that I've felt comfortable putting on my body; it's flattering and professional. What I didn't realize until my second year of college was that I was wearing all of that black as a security blanket, and I was letting it hold me back.
I was using the color black to shield myself from the world, to avoid attention, and to blend in with my surroundings as much as possible, because I wasn't confident in myself or the way I looked. But as I became happier with myself, I no longer felt as comfortable dressing in dark colors all the time, because that didn't reflect my mood or the way I wanted to feel. I decided to step up my style game in the simplest and most effective way I could think of: by adding color.
While there was no singular "aha!" movie moment for me, I gradually realized that I needed to diversify my wardrobe, and that meant stepping into the dangerous world of reds, blues, yellows, and a whole color wheel of outfits that felt unfamiliar. Look, I get it. "What's the big deal? It's just a little color." For someone who was used to constantly hiding behind a safety net of darkness, it was scary to venture into the unknown and go out in a light-colored top that didn't camouflage my perceived flaws as well as a darker one might or to wear a color that I felt drew too much attention. It was a difficult adjustment to make, but piece by piece, I started to revamp my wardrobe, and I couldn't be happier that I did.
Starting with navy blues and dark purples, I slowly built myself up to wearing reds and light greens and eventually yellow — the brightest color of them all! Even if I was just throwing on a green shirt with a pair of black pants or wearing shoes that added some color to my ensemble for the day, I could feel the effect that simple change had on my mentality. In the same way my mood inspired me to change my wardrobe, the pops of color I started adding to my outfits improved my mood and made me more excited to leave the house, head to work, run errands, and just participate in the day. I didn't feel like hiding anymore.
Not enough research has been conducted on color psychology to make any hard and fast conclusions about which colors improve your mood more than others, such as yellow to feel happy or red to feel powerful. Still, colors undoubtedly have an effect on our emotions and how we perceive others and the world around us. So while wearing black made me feel serious and safe, softer colors made me feel calm and brighter colors made me feel more energetic. Placebo effect or not, mixing color into my wardrobe might be one of the best decisions I've ever made.
Don't get me wrong — I can likely still be spotted wearing some black every single day, because it goes with everything and it truly is a staple. But now I can say I'm not afraid to slip on a pair of red shoes or a baby-blue shirt before leaving the house, because life isn't a My Chemical Romance music video, and I'm glad I finally realized that.