The look/feel connection

NS November 19th, 2010

I read Heather’s post on appearances and how much they matter with interest. But as I read the comments, I became more and more disturbed (and a bit sad, to be honest) by the number of women saying that how they look seems to have a direct impact on how they feel. Talk of the psychological effect that looking ‘together’ or ‘stylish’ has compared to the way looking ‘plain’ or ‘grubby’ has, it is evident that many women, even subconsciously, equate how others perceive them with what kind of mood they will be in and, subsequently, their self-esteem.

I don’t pretend that I don’t sometimes feel the same. There’s been many a day where I hadn’t showered before the school run and made sure to slap a hat and sunglasses on and days where how I looked did put me in a better mood.

But thinking about it, I wonder if it isn’t the other way around? Maybe I wasn’t in a great mood and had gotten little sleep on the day I decided to hit the snooze button twice instead of getting up to take a shower and put on a clean top. My looks were only reflecting how I felt about myself or my life at that time — tired, frazzled, grumpy and time-starved. On the days where I got out of bed early, had a shower, applied a bit of makeup and wore something besides food-encrusted pyjamas for the school run, I had probably awoken in a good mood and with enough sleep to give me the energy to do so.

If we truly believe that the link between how we look and how we feel is psychological, maybe it’s time for some reverse psychology.

2 Responses to “The look/feel connection”

  1. Expat Mum says:

    At the end of the day, a lot of what people do is for other people. Why do some people buy flash cars or big fancy houses? It’s often not because they really need to drive 140mph or to have 7 bedrooms, but to say “This is what I can now afford. Haven’t I done well.” Similarly, although a lot of women dress for the approval of other women (rather than for the oggles of men) perhaps it’s not so much so that women can admire the actual clothes, but so that you can look like you have your act together and aren’t really having a nervous breakdown. That in turn, might buoy you up and actually stop you from falling apart?
    Expat Mum´s last blog ..Are We Having Fun YetMy ComLuv Profile

  2. Heather says:

    It’s interesting how much appearance effects our mood isn’t it? And I think you may be on to something, the days I’m feeling happy and bouncy are probably the days i straighten my hair and put something nice on.

    I think Expat mum is spot on when she says women dress to show other women how well together they are. also which tribe they belong to as well, which social group. It was certainly interesting watching it all as an outsider when I was back in Britain knowing that I used to be part of it, and didn’t even realise it at the time. and i’m sure if I lived there for very long I would be again, i’m not sure i could stop myself being sucked back into it. i probably wouldn’t even realise it was happening.