How to Dress When You Feel Melancholic

As the temperatures dip, it’s easy to fall into a state of autumnal melancholy. When you’re hard-hit by the blues, putting together a cute outfit might seem like the last thing on your to-do list. But melancholy is no reason to abandon your sartorial instincts! After all, we don’t just dress to impress, but to feel comfortable, confident and (ultimately) happier.

Melancholy invites two broad style options: 1. Stay with the darkness and go for sombre, severe styles, or 2. Look for a pick-me-up through exuberant colors and snazzy patterns.

Which style to go for depends on what kind of person you are, of course – for every individual who wants to thrash it out of their system through heavy metal, there’s someone looking for the right primary color to save the day. Either way, focusing on your wardrobe isn’t just an interesting distraction – it helps us confront the blues in style.

The following are two looks curated especially for the melancholic fashionista!

Paint It Black – My Outsides Should Match My Insides

Typically, dressing in a melancholic way involves plenty of Gothic touches. That doesn’t mean you have to go full Goth. There are many subtle ways to signal your gloom, from twists on a monochrome palette to unexpected textures and deconstructed silhouettes. I’ve put together a wardrobe that’s dark, moody and, yes, cathartic, but also totally wearable.

Peter Pan Collar Knit Top, Mini Pleather Skirt, Double-Breasted Cape, Lace-Up Platform Short Boots
Studded Faux Leather Shoulder Bag, Layered Chain Bracelet, Waterproof Temporary Tattoo

• Tuck a simple black knitted top with a demure Peter Pan collar into a daring pleather mini with an asymmetrical hem. The deceptively sweet top will counterbalance the toughness of your skirt.

• Throw on a black cape when the weather gets cooler. It provides ease of movement while amping up the drama – perfect if you want to wallow in darkness for a little while without sacrificing comfort. Sombre and structural, it instantly transforms a look from casual to sophisticated.

• Toughen up your ensemble with a pair of utilitarian black boots. Make sure the heel is comfortable. The last thing you want when you’re feeling down is to stumble!

• It’s no time for candy-colored clutches! Instead, reach for this pleather shoulder bag decorated with a single silver skull for Gothic flair.

• Cement your look with a piece of silver jewelry. Chains may seem cliché, but they’re second to none in giving an outfit a subtly Gothic kick. This layered design doubles the drama by adding cross and bell charms to a chain bracelet.

• If you’re in the mood for something extra, wear a temporary tattoo, perhaps of black-and-white geometrics or an encouraging script like “This too shall pass.”

Tip: Incorporate a pop of color into your Gothic outfit, like a red brooch, a smudge of plum eye shadow or bold lips. Allover black can get boring easily – and you’re sad, not boring! It’s also to remind yourself that dark moods don’t last forever.

Color Me Happy – My Outsides Can Change My Insides

Dopamine dressing is a widely touted concept which suggests that our fashion choices can influence our moods. Feel-good colors, playful patterns and bling are great mood-boosters. A word of warning though: don’t overdo it. If your outfit tips over into euphoric, it can leave you feeling even sadder than before. There’s no need to dress in head-to-toe yellow if you feel bad. Ground your outfit with a wardrobe staple like a comfortable skirt, and build up your joy through accessories. Here’s a fashion fix-it that will hopefully bring you out of the doldrums.

Rainbow Striped Wool Blend Sweater, Denim Mini Skirt, Rainbow-Print Platform Sneakers
Fruit Dangle Earrings, Rhinestone Lettering Hair Clip, Print Canvas Tote Bag

• For a dose of happiness, snuggle up in a rainbow-colored striped sweater! Florals, polka dots and other fun patterns such as art deco prints work equally well.

• Instead of a bright-colored bottom, go for a comfortable denim mini, preferably in a straight cut. This will neutralize the brighter and sparklier elements of your top.

• When life doesn’t give you cotton candy and rainbows, make your own! These off-white platform sneakers decorated with a rainbow pattern at the sides will make you smile, while still being low-key enough for everyday wear.

• Who doesn’t love fun earrings? Clip these peach-shaped dangle earrings on for some much-needed sunshine.

• Little things go a long way in uplifting your mood, especially shiny, sparkly things. A rhinestone hairclip is a sure mood-booster and provides a chic finish to any look. This one comes with “Queen” lettering to remind yourself that you’re the boss of your own show.

• In keeping with the casual weekend vibes of this outfit, reach for a canvas tote printed with watercolor peaches. Girlish and whimsical, this is a gentle reminder that the world is still full of lovely and pretty things.

A Final Word…

Saved by a sweater? Accessorizing as self-care? You might roll your eyes, but if I may say so, clothes can have certain therapeutic effects. Whenever you fall into a state of melancholy, remember that hoodies and sweatpants aren’t your only choices. Be bold and brave as you root through your wardrobe. Whether you end up with a black velvet cape or a pink neon cardigan, you deserve to be happy and stylish.