We’ll be experiencing this new normal for a while it appears and if we aren’t careful, we will have a new kind of Great Depression on our hands.
When I started my home-based business in 1994, I found that I had to get dressed–make that “dressed-up in business attire”– to take my work time seriously. Home-based was a new sector and there were adjustments to be made both from my personal work habits to the outsiders’ perspective of what it meant to not go into an office.
If I chose to stay in the sweatpants and old t-shirt I wore to walk the dog, then I found myself reticent to run necessary errands for fear that another businessperson would see me. “Are you off today?” they’d ask. “Are you home sick?” they’d assume from my lack of make-up. If I was sporting a pencil skirt and a blouse and saw a fellow Chamber of Commerce member, they’d say, “Busy today?” even if I was in line at the grocery store buying food for dinner.
Things have changed a great deal. I can fully complete my business tasks in yoga pants and a family reunion tee, but I won’t get on a video chat in that get-up for the most part. That is increasingly problematic in our current situation. In addition, I find that if I am sporting my Fabletics collection too many days in a row I can feel myself becoming increasingly turtle-like. A meeting to facilitate, a Zoom call, or even a lunch with my dad gets me out of my comfy shell.
Mentally Healthy is in Fashion
Depression affects a person’s choice in clothing. They choose baggy, comfortable clothes as the emotion affects the behavior. Before you become depressed as your habits change to hibernating and consuming Netflix like the last Girl Scout cookies in the cupboard, turn it around and let your behavior aid your emotions. Set some rules for yourself. Sticking to habits and routines are good for your mental health, as explained here in this article from Dr. Danielle Forshee. She says, “Routine helps us cope with change, it helps to create healthy habits, and more importantly, it helps to reduce stress levels.”
Here are my Wear You’ve Been® suggestions for some house arrest wardrobe rules that you can institute to keep your clothing in rotation and make yourself feel better as you do.
If you are lounging then put on “loungewear.” I think “loungewear” is a funny moniker for the pajama section in department stores, but these clothes are elevated. For starters, they match. They are the pajamas you’d wear on a group ski trip with people other than your family when you aren’t sure if everyone will see you in your nightclothes or not. The Old Navy sleep pants and husband’s t-shirt does not make the cut. Choose the clothes you wouldn’t want the baby to spit-up on. They are in the drawer somewhere, get them out! If nothing else wear one of those fancy bathrobes your mother gave you that you think you’ll take on vacation but never really have enough room in your carry-on.
Do not allow yourself to become one with your yoga pants unless you plan to exercise or meditate. Cleaning is okay too. Leggings and your husband’s t-shirt you used to sleep in would be great for cleaning the garage or washing the car.
After you have exercised, meditated or cleaned, put on some actual daytime clothing.
I do not recommend that you have to pile up the clothes to take to the drycleaner. Wash and wear clothing that you would go shopping in will suffice. Add a necklace and some earrings to feel like you can hop on a Zoom call and look coordinated and fresh.
By all means, put shoes on. The cleaning and organizing guru The FLY Lady recommends you put shoes on when you organize so chores like taking out the trash do not get relegated to do “later.” She calls it “Getting dressed to shoes,” and in fact it is her March Habit of the Month. This is so important! You need to feel like you can step outside to throw the ball for the dog or pick a lemon for your water. Soles on your feet give you permission to leave the house – and maintain social distance, of course. We all need to have a mindset that we still have the freedom to leave our homes, even if it’s just to buy toilet paper.
You may think this is frivolous, but isn’t your mental health worth changing your shirt? Stay safe and feel good while you do it.
As a PR consultant since 1994, Leslie Smith developed Wear You’ve Been® hangtags in 2008 to help women keep track of where they wore their fabulous clothing. Doing this can help them maximize their wardrobes.