If you live in the northern hemi – and especially if you live in the northern reaches of the northern hemi – you know that winter is like a marathon. Enduring cold temps and oppressive darkness for several months before December even arrives, then entering the true long haul at the beginning of January. The holidays are over, spring seems eons away, and there’s not much between here and there but loooooong stretches of grouchy shivering.
And this, my friends, is when most of us tend to start pulling out the same black slacks and gray sweater every single day. We feel sluggish and uninspired, cold and resentful, and we don’t want to invest any energy into … well, anything. But CERTAINLY not anything as frivolous as style. Eating heavy casseroles and watching “Pride and Prejudice” marathons, OK, but anything that taps our creativity can seem overwhelming.
But now may be the most important time of the year to keep your style spirits up! SAD is a very real thing, and what better way to fend it off than by dressing yourself in items that inspire energy and joy for wearer and observer alike?
- COLOR: I am a devotee of black and have a habit of snapping up any and everything funky and midnight-hued that comes across my radar. But while I’ll happily don chiaroscuro ensembles through the beginning of January, it’s around this time that I start tinkering with color-centric outfit guidelines. No more than one colorless outfit per week. Aim for outfits that have at LEAST two bright, non-neutral colors and colorful shoes should be worn as often as possible.
- SHINE: Rhinestones, hammered silver, sequins, bright chains, faceted gems, and all things sparkly are ideal for this time of year. Anything that catches and reflects light will help its wearer feel lighter and more energetic.
- SOUND: Jangling bangles will prevent their wearer from falling into a wintry stupor. Musical corduroy pants give you a cheerful little soundtrack when you walk. Rustling petticoats or stiff silk skirts make you aware of your outfit, your posture, your lovely physical self. Choose something that talks back when you choose your daily wear.
- TEXTURE: Layering is an art form, and incorporating texture into a heavily layered winter ensemble can seem daunting. But just a splash of floral or geometric pattern here and there – on a scarf or blouse or pair of tights – adds the illusion of movement to an outfit. A tweedy blazer or vest gives flat cottons dimension, and a ruffled shirt lends depth to any outfit.
- SMELL: Say what? Oh yes, smell can play a part in perking you up when you dress for the doldrums of winter. A scented lip gloss, spritz of your favorite perfume, fragranced hand lotion, or deliciously pungent hair product will keep you alert and engaged.
And that covers all of the senses minus taste, because munching on your wool sweaters might cause them to shrink and felt. But seriously, folks, do your utmost to dress energetically during dark, cold times of the year and you’ll be amazed at the difference in how you feel.