The concept is simple: When you’re in love with yourself, a special someone or even life, you tend to dress better.
Experts say people in love often dress with more flair, energy and color. They walk with pride and smile more.
As much as Valentine’s Day is about dressing for that special date, it’s also a day to celebrate feeling love, particularly self-love, and dressing based on that feeling.
“Dressing yourself is a form of self-care and self-love,” said Jennifer Baumgartner, a clinical psychologist, wardrobe consultant and author of “You Are What You Wear: What Your Clothes Reveal About You” (Da Capo Lifelong Books, $16). “Getting dressed is a mindful process that reflects how you feel. What you wear is often completely motivated by what’s in your head.”
Baumgartner regularly helps clients update their wardrobes by taking inventory of their closets. The first task, she said, is getting people to accept their body (and clothes that fit their figure).
She said many women pressure themselves to look a certain way, which can impede self-acceptance. For them, Baumgartner puts them on a “media diet” to restrict their exposure to images that can hurt their self-esteem, such as fashion magazines with images of ultra-thin, leggy models.
“I tell them to not look at anything that sends the message, ‘You’re not good enough.’ Until you strengthen that confidence, you have to walk away from all those negative messages that say you’re too fat, too short, too this or that. You have to fix that filter.”
Next, she encourages women to pamper themselves with clothes they love.
“When you’re in chaos, you may choose an outfit that’s looks chaotic. When you feel love on the inside, it works the same way. Clothing is really a bridge between the inside and outside,” she said.
Gretchen Rubin, author of the best-selling book “The Happiness Project” and a popular blog at www.happiness-project.com, said feeling good about yourself can help with overall happiness and translate to what you wear.
“Running shoes add to my happiness,” said Rubin, who favors yoga pants and running gear to most any fashion trend.
“It’s not about fashion, it’s about getting exercise and feeling good,” she said. “You have to find what makes you happy. If you feel you look good, you probably feel more composure. It’s not like you’re in control because you have great shoes on. But there is something to it when you feel good inside and look good on the outside; you can feel like you’re ready to face the world.”
So, can dressing like you’re in love open yourself to a new love?
Definitely, said designer Carolina Herrera.
“Love is a very important thing in life for everyone, but you should make an effort and dress well every day so you can find the right love.”
Houston designer and “Project Runway” winner Chloe Dao, who married her longtime beau last summer, says how you dress can affect relationships.
“We all go through periods when we get lazy, but when you feel love you dress with purpose,” Dao said.
“You have more of a chance to stay in love when you dress like you’re in love. Really, how long can you be mad at someone when they are dressed really well and they look good? It helps on many levels.”