Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about how to dress with confidence. There’s no question that my fashion choices shape my day and how I’m feeling, but is there a way that I can consciously try to improve my confidence and enhance my mood? To find out, I chatted with Dawnn Karen, a self-described “fashion psychologist” who makes connections between clothes and how they impact the way people feel. She has been quoted in articles for publications like The Cut and The New York Times, breaking down theories about fashion and explaining the hidden messages we can read based on the fashion choices of celebs like Meghan Markle and Mark Zuckerberg. But my question for her was simple: What are the most important things I can change about my outfits to improve my confidence? Ahead Karen is sharing exactly how to achieve this with three key rules to follow.
Choose your outfits according to how you're feeling
Instead of picking out what to wear based on a specific aesthetic or trend, Karen suggests tapping into your emotions to get dressed. She calls this “mood illustration”, which she describes as “dressing to perpetuate your current mood.” Instead of wearing something that will make you feel uncomfortable, she suggests athleisure or flats (as opposed to high heels) that you enjoy wearing.
On the other hand, if you wake up on the wrong side of the bed and want to improve your mood, she suggests “mood enhancement”. By choosing to wear a nice dress or bright colors, you can actively boost your positive thinking and amplify your confidence.
And finally, Karen suggests adding a “focal accessory”. She explains that this is “an accessory that holds psychological value of the past, present, and future,” or more simply an item “that means something to you.” Maybe it’s a special piece of jewelry that has been passed down for generations or maybe it’s something you purchased when you met a personal goal that makes you feel proud and powerful, but the idea is to wear an accessory that you have a strong positive connection to.