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Can having nothing to wear cause anxiety?

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  • We ask a celebrity psychologist to explain all

    We all have those moments of stress in the morning where we rush out the door in an outfit we don’t like, because we spent too long deciding what to wear. We know there are benefits in streamlining our wardrobe and planning outfits in advance, but more often than not, life takes over and these fall down the list of priorities.

    But can such situations end up having more serious consequences, like negative thoughts and anxiety? We decided to find out with the help of Jo Hemmings, Behavioural, Media and Celebrity Psychologist and Dating Coach.

    It turns out, there is such a thing as too much choice, whether it comes to Netflix shows, takeaway choices and yes, clothes.

    ‘When we are too overwhelmed by options, it’s known as the ‘paradox of choice’. Whether it’s which TV channel to watch, who to date, what cereal to buy or what to wear when we get up in the morning, this abundance had been shown, through many studies, to cause us anxiety, Jo explains.

    ‘It’s the ‘more is less’ theory, that when we are faced with too much choice, our already-overloaded brains simply get stressed and it leaves us feeling more concerned about choosing an outfit, than liberated by the variety. In fact a fairly minimal, capsule type wardrobe is probably the ideal to make us more satisfied and less anxious.’

    So how do we get to a stage where we can Marie Kondo our wardrobes (and our brains)? Jo has a few tips to help you clear out.

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    ‘If you are an over-enhusiastic clothes shopper – my sin being shoes – there are a number of ways, you can feel a lot less stressed when choosing an outfit to wear in the morning. Organise your wardrobe, by colour/type of clothes. So, for example, all trousers on one side, skirts in the middle, dresses to the right. And then within those sections, sort them by colour, so that the array of clothes, tricks our brain into thinking that the choice is less overwhelming. Putting away off-season clothes will also help,’ she says.

    And you know when we said earlier that you should spend time planning your outfits in advance? Well you really should start doing it now.

    Jo recommends, ‘It sounds obvious, but choosing your outfit the evening before, will help when you’re feeling rushed in the morning. Put out what you intend to wear, from underwear to shoes and the rest of your outfit, before you go to bed. And don’t allow yourself to change your mind!

    ‘Move anything you haven’t worn for a year into the garage/spare room/loft. If you remember it or miss it, get it back out again. If not, give yourself another season and either sell on eBay, give it to charity or bin it! By doing this two step process, it softens the pain of taking something you just-might-wear-agin from your wardrobe and getting rid of it immediately.’

    That’s one way to get rid of old clothes and give you peace of mind, and we’re all for it.

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