Reader Request: Spirit-lifting Clothing

feel-good-clothing_with text

Lovely Dana e-mailed me this request:

I love your post on “How to Dress Joyously.” Similarly, you could do a post on specific prints, styles, colors, or color combinations that lift your spirits.

Woo! Now here’s a question I’m tickled to tackle. As you’ve heard me say approximately 78 gazillion times, I believe that how we choose to dress can impact how we feel. The colors, textures, prints, and patterns we put on our bodies travel with us all day, so why not pick something that makes you smile whenever you glance into a mirror? Here are some of my personal spirit-lifting clothes, colors, and accessories.

Multicolored prints


All prints and patterns look lively and fun to me, but multicolored prints are my absolute favorites. My love for color is such that I sometimes feel like I can’t get enough, and saturated prints with loads of colors feed that need. That said, even subdued and dusty colors can look fabulous mixed together in a print.

Magenta and red


Red has long been my power color, and I feel strong and centered wearing it. But magenta runs a close second. Red can sometimes feel like a pretty bold statement, and some folks associate it with assertiveness and even anger. I feel like magenta is red’s more subdued, ladylike cousin. Both are year-round faves.

Anything that makes me feel like a badass


I’ve written about my conflicting feelings about badassery, but I just can’t resist tough boots, leather, studs, moto styling, and all other rock-and-roll influenced items. Even if I can’t kick actual ass, at least I can look like I shouldn’t be messed with. This stuff gets trotted out when I need to feel capable and strong, more than chipper and cheerful.



Predictable? Maybe. But stripes still make me endlessly happy. They’re so versatile, so crisp and clean, and they add a bit of pizzaz to just about any outfit. Vertical stripes still make me think of jail for some reason, but horizontals and diagonals excite me equally.



Dang, I sure do own a lot of rhinestones. And with good reason: Seeing the light glint off a faceted fake gem gives my mood an instant boost. My jewelry collection boasts sparkly bracelets, necklaces, brooches, and earrings, and when I’m down in the doldrums, clipping them on never fails to help.

How about you? What clothing or accessories do you don when your spirits need lifting? Any overlap with my list?

Originally posted 2013-12-04 06:07:33.

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14 Responses to “Reader Request: Spirit-lifting Clothing”

  1. SDC

    I am so glad you posted this! I am happiest in colors and prints. And as far as shiny things…I love, love, love them,

  2. Sonja

    Last Sunday I tried something new and styled my hair into a mohawk. I had a wide grin on my face every time I passed a mirror. I’m wearing it again today …

  3. melanie

    My spirit-boosting clothes are high heels. For me, they’re the right combination of badass — because in order to wear them, i have to stand up straight and move with assuredness (otherwise i look ridiculous and i’m falling all over myself) — feminine, and, dare i say it, vulnerable — some of those shoes really are precarious, and one of the things that often makes me feel like everything is just too much is having to hide my feelings of vulnerability in order to be competant, together, get stuff done, and take care of people. Heels are visible signs of all of that.

    Sonja, on the subject of hair, I recently died my hair a deep violet, and it makes me grin every time i look in the mirror đŸ™‚

  4. bubu

    I’m with you on a lot of these — leather boots when I need to feel (or actually do) some ass-kicking. Cool brights like magenta as well as bright blues cheer me up. I have developed a weakness for polka dots, which I am trying desperately to keep in check so I do not lose all professional credibility – but my polka dot Kate Spade tote, as well as my polka dot pajamas give me endless smiles.

    • Jackie

      bubu, I’m with you–all I’m attracted to these days are polka-dots! I’ve got three polka-dot dresses and one skirt, and I know I’ll be adding more…..

  5. Brenna

    I had one of my employees tell me last week that I was looking very grey. And I realized that almost my entire winter wardrobe was black, grey, brown and subdued. And I seriously need to get some color into my closet. This helps!

  6. Eileen

    -Kelly green
    -Stacked, thick high heels
    -Shirts with a wrap/twist detail
    -Substantial belts
    -Camisoles with a combo of lace/silk

  7. Kristen

    For me, I think it’s more about textures. Anything silky makes me feel glamorous. Sheers are always fun, and so is lace (unless it’s cheap, scratchy stuff).

    Sentimental things are good, too – most often, that means jewelry. For those with hand-me-downs from a loved one, or outfits inspired by a loved one, this idea applies, too.

    Finally, I rarely get to experience this one, but I feel so good about myself if my bra and underwear match.

    • f.

      Yeah, I’m all about this. My cashmere sweater is just plain black, but so cozy! And I obsess over owning a few silk items, too.

  8. Shaye

    Color-wise, anything in the mint/aqua/turquoise/cobalt family, or the coral/orange/rust/burgundy family. These play together beautifully, either individually or in combination, and both look great with my fair complexion and red hair.

    I also almost don’t even feel like myself anymore if I’m not wearing a silk scarf!

  9. Ann

    Spirit lifting clothes, this is a good idea for a post especially since it’s so dark and cold now. These are all great outfits! I love the red and magenta tones.

    blue hue wonderland