A mental health specialist and fashionista has noticed the huge impact dressing up has had on her productivity and mental well-being during lockdown.

Bridget Drabbe, who specialises in mental health in children and young people, has spent lockdown conducting her own case study into the link between fashion and productivity.

The case study features the power of the seven-day outfit plan and, of course, like any other weekly plan it starts with the dreaded Monday, or as Bridget calls it “Get Motivated Monday”.

Get Motivated Monday

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Bridget believes, to start off on the right foot for the week ahead, planning out your outfits in advance can make you feel both accomplished and motivated.

Monday is always dedicated to adding a splash of colour: “I know that putting on a bright colour will make all the difference in enhancing my mood. Similarly, whenever I feel insecure about myself, I know that putting on a gorgeous outfit will immediately make me feel more confident,” she said.

Tuesday Tartan Day

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“Since flannel and tartan have come back into fashion, it is a great way to spice up some of your older clothing items.

"This year has divided people into two groups, those who see no point in buying new clothes, and those who cannot stop buying them. Regardless of which category you belong to, colours have a wonderful power to enhance moods and increase productivity.

“Certain colours have been associated with an increase in blood pleasure, eye strain and other physiological reactions. In simpler terms, some colours simply make you happier. So, either dust off your old tartan skirt or finally wear your new flannel coat because it will make you feel better,” added Bridget.

On Wednesday We Wear Funky Shoes

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“It is now the middle of the week and we’re all starting to get a little bit fed up, so Wednesday is dedicated to funky shoes day.

“Even if you’re not feeling it at all that day, you can get a glimpse of your beautiful shoes whilst you’re in a zoom meeting or teams lecture, and you can make yourself smile.

“And don’t forget that moods are infectious and radiating positive energy will increase someone else’s mood too. I’d like to think that when I walk down to the shops in heels, sequins and faux fur, I’m making someone else smile as well, even if they’re laughing at me,” Bridget laughed.

Thursday Dress To Impress

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“Thursday is the day to make sure you are dressing up to impress, it is the day you wear that special outfit you only take out for job interviews,” said Bridget.

“I have spent my career focusing on Positive Psychology, observing the ways in which we can increase the mental wellbeing of young people. However, only within the last few years has Fashion Psychology been considered as a genuine source of increasing individuals’ wellbeing.

"Ever since, an overwhelming amount of research has determined the positive influence of fashion to negotiate selfhood and manage moods,” she added.

Friday Fancy Belt Day 

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Bridget says: “Personally, I have always believed in the power that fashion has to increase moods, because I experience it myself daily. When I wake up already in a bad mood, which happened so much more this past year than ever before, I felt like putting on an outfit that makes me feel good and instantly boosted my mood.”

Saturday Me Time 

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“Saturday is your time to unwind and do something fun. Have a date night at home, make a fancy dinner and watch your favourite movie.

“If you’re living alone plan a zoom and get all your friends to dress up even just to sit in your living room, or watch a movie and eat your favourite dessert,” said Bridget.

Sunday Fun Day 

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Bridget says you should definitely take the weekend to relax and wear your comfiest clothes. Sunday, in the seven-day plan, is dedicated to reading and catching up on your favourite TV shows.

“Of course, I also have days where I just need to sit in my sweats and enjoy some self-care in my comfy clothes.

Bridget added: “The most significant part to me is the importance of smiling, just the act itself can send a signal to your brain to release dopamine, serotonin and endorphins, which are the neurotransmitters that make us feel happy!

"So even if you’re laughing at your leggings and heels outfit, you are contributing to enhancing your own mental health.”

Marie Bedel, a recovery worker at a mental health charity, agrees with Bridget’s findings stating that: “Getting dressed is part of a ritual. Step by step my body follows the same order every morning and night. It brings my mind to the right place at the right time. How I dress prepares for what lies ahead.

“Work clothes bring on productivity and professionalism, yoga clothes invite the soul and relaxation, and sweatpants bring in self-care and rest. It sets the tone my mind and body will follow and armours me with the confidence required for what is to come.”