By Rebecca Smith 14 Jan, 2018
Tomorrow — January 15th — is officially the most depressing day of 2018. But I shall be wearing an orange dress with my gold boots on Blue Monday, and expect to be very happy.
Even though I know that the equation used to back the theory of Blue Monday is a marketing ploy, I’ll be surrounding myself with sunny orange hues to deflect any doom and gloom, just in case. Many people will hook into the hype — and hashtags — of Blue Monday and will feel depressed; they will talk themselves into a gloomy mood regardless. As a wearingwellbeing expert, I don’t subscribe to any one colour being the answer to universal mental health problems; our clothes do have the capacity to impact on our wellbeing, but each and everyone one of us will have different ways to wear wellbeing. We need to do a bit of work on our own wardrobe choices to find the connections that spark our emotions. But there is such a thing as a placebo-effect, even with clothes; if we believe that wearing orange to work on Monday 15th will help to get us through a dull day then it will. It’s the intention that counts. When we decide that a particular garment makes us happy, and when we look in the mirror and smile, we are already setting ourselves up for a good day. The improved chances of our smiling at others on the tube, and getting smiles in return, will be beneficial to our wellbeing before we even hit our desks; the odds of a co-worker commenting on that orange skirt a further lift to our spirits. And we can back up our quirky orange dress with evidence that it is good for us. It might not even be necessary to have visible orange clothes; orange underwear could well be enough.
A sneak-peak through my husband’s drawers unearthed orange socks, pants, tee-shirts and two orangish shirts. And I have an alternative outfit tomorrow should I decide I don’t want to wear a dress; I have tangerine-coloured trousers, a pumpkin-hue blouse, a vermilion print jacket and an orange body to wear under everything else (I am an Essex girl after all!)
So why might orange be the answer? This is the evidence I have found to support my theory:
- Orange is the complementary colour to blue on the colour wheel.
- It promotes optimism, inner strength, creativity, self-expression and happiness, opening minds to new ideas and perspectives.
- Orange stimulates feelings of communication and sociability; it enhances emotional health and encourages cheerfulness and a sense of well-being.
- It revitalises the physical and the spiritual body, and enlivens emotions.
- Orange is said to treat depression by increasing alertness and concentration, and by decreasing feelings of dread.
- Orange can increase oxygen levels in the blood and stimulate brain’s activity.
I will be happy to take this reason enough to wear orange on Monday. You could just as easily decide that wearing blue is more your thing and you are destined to be happy in colour matching your outfit to the prevailing mood of the day; if blue’s your hue, then go ahead. But if you’re wavering and want to give my theory a test, I’d like to make it easy for you. I know not everyone will think that orange suits them, or that they have anything in their existing wardrobe that counts as orange, but what if we stretched the definition of the exact colour a little? Could gold be a sort of orange? No one needs a reason to add a bit of glimmer any day of the year. What about certain shades of deep peach? Come on, admit it — you have something pinky-peach and silky at the bottom of the cupboard. Or that warm bright red? The jumper that you brought in bad light so isn’t lipstick red, but more like tomato-chilli sauce. How about tan tones? Conker bright leather boots are very seventies. In fact, the whole orange palate makes me feel nostalgia for the 1970’s and I feel the need for a rust corduroy trouser suit with a stripped tank top and stacked tan sandals; that is an outfit that would make me very happy. But back on track, my point is if we decide to call those kind of variants orange then the confirmation bias that exists in all of us should be enough for them to take on magical hues that will help us to zip through Blue Monday unscathed.
And if you’re really struggling to find anything in your wardrobe, there seems to be quite a lot of orange garments in charity shops; I did a little recce in my local Save the Children and came across all manner of interesting gems, coming away with an orange sweatshirt — four pounds well spent I’d say. And if you shop on the high street there are orange clothes everywhere, as it was one of the big colours all over last September’s Fashion Weeks. Even Primark has men’s pants in this shade right now, in perhaps the most unlikely sartorial tribute to the president of the free world anyone has ever seen.
Please note: I have no expert knowledge of the psychology of colour; I’m never one to say what anyone should wear; I don’t expect anyone to take my sartorial advice. I am not offering answers to depression as a mental health condition or suggesting that wearing any particular clothes act as an anti-depressant. Wear whatever makes you feel good and if you are depressed please seek professional advice.
Originally published at http://wearingwellbeing.com/wear-orange-to-banish-blue-monday on January 14, 2018.