Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Strike a Pose!

So term began last week here at Hell MIT Hell. And I once again realised one of the reasons I love living off campus: getting to wear normal clothes.

I'll admit, my fresher and sophomore years I wore the standard nerd-girl outfits of baggy black "witty"/nerdy shirt and some kind of well-worn pant or ill-fitted skirt. But then I took a year off (to build this beauty) and discovered the world of fitted clothing that didn't come from woot or thinkgeek (not that I don't love them).

There's definitely something freeing and exciting about getting to wear clothing that makes you look good. Beyond the fact that looking good makes you feel good. The act of taking more then two seconds to get dressed in the morning wakes me up a lot better then caffeine ever did. And taking two seconds to brush my hair makes it much more manageable to deal with and keeps it in much better condition (which is always an issue with hair that's as curly and fine as mine).

But despite my "looking pretty => feeling pretty" mentality I definitely got lazy over this summer. I started out in pretty sun dresses and cute top/pant combos and as I spent more time in the machine shop (especially after my ankle injury--unrelated to the machine shop work) I found myself falling back into the baggy pants and t-shirts due to a combination of not wanting to get my clothes dirty and because I felt like shit and didn't care if I looked like it too.

But after 3 days of "blending in" to the t-shirted masses I'm really reevaluating this "laziness" of mine. How much more time does it take in the morning to put on something that makes you feel good versus something that makes you feel crappy? I decided to attempt a mini-experiment this weekend when I was blessed cursed with a sudden illness (damn freshers, bringing disease with them).

My question: Will dressing nicely (and not lounging about in pajamas or "comfy clothes") while I stew in my own diseased juices make me feel better?

My hypothesis: If I continue to get dressed during my illness then I will feel better during and possibly get better quicker.

My Test Plan: Get up and get dressed every day of the illness. I can sit at my "desk" (*cough*piece of plywood on the floor*cough*) or the couch in the living room or even back in bed. Periodically examine how I feel.

Data Acquisition: It's very difficult to test this hypothesis as it's pretty damn qualitative. I will try to compare it to previous illness, but since no illness is the same I'm sure the results will be in accurate and unrepeatable. Soooo…. I'm just gonna go with how I feel after the weekend! (yeah, science!fail)

Data Analysis: I feel better! Both Saturday and Sunday I got up and got dressed in sundresses that don't wrinkle too bad. Sat around, stared at walls, occasionally ate food. Listened to AirTraffic Control for about 10 hours. The data is possible skewed by a 2 year expired alka-seltzer tab I took, but I'm going to say tentatively plausible hypothesis.

Conclusion: This was the least-horrible weekend illness I've ever head. Which is awesome since it started off pretty bad. But this was soooo not conclusively due to the clothing; maybe I just had a really mild illness for once instead of death. I think I will need to continue this experiment. In a broader form over a larger array of days filled with illness/health.

I must develop an experimental procedure! To the bat cave!


  1. +1 for science!

    I actually find the worse I feel, the nicer I dress.

  2. It is amazing how much better nice clothes can make you feel. For a long time I believed that, because I was overweight, I should cover myself with as much cloth as humanly possible. This lead to some rather unflattering burqa-esque ensembles made out of long skirts and over-sized shirts. After being nominated for What Not To Wear (I kid you not) I had a wonderful, fashion-minded friend go through my closet, watch me try on everything I owned and threw out everything that wasn't flattering. She then went shopping with me for a few new pieces (my closet was decimated) that flattered my figure and made me feel attractive.

    Since I've been sick I have also been sitting around in a t-shirt and underwear. After reading this I think I'm going to go shower, put on some real clothes and see if that will help with the remnants of the PAX pox a bit.

  3. ^5 to Nakki! I, too, recently realized that I was wearing ill-fitting, unflattering clothing more often than not - and it absolutely made me feel even worse about myself. Also, when I moved to Seattle I took the time to purge my closet, meaning I got rid of about 85% of my wardrobe.

    Now I'm trying this new thing called "not wearing jeans and t-shirts" all the time, experimenting with different styles, accessories, and trying to be more open minded about trying new things.

    Bringing friends helps! I had two super successful shopping trips with Eep and Nomad, and another with a friend who I think is Seattle's Stacy London (from What Not to Wear) that really made me feel amazing.

  4. I have always found that your attitude has a very real and pretty powerful affect on how you feel (physically). If you dress well, smile and generally "act" happy, chances are you are going to feel better. When I was going through chemo, I always smiled at the nurses. I always tried to strike up casual conversations with them. My theory was that the more normal I acted, the more normal I would feel. For the most part, it really worked. I feel it was a large part in helping me get through chemo as well as I did.

  5. I used to feel quite uncomfortable when I dressed up, I much prefered jeans and oversized tshirts. But then I realized it was a combination of ill-fitting "nice" clothes / poor fabrics and the feeling of being more exposed (omg, everyone will see how fat I am!)

    I had some friends go through my wardrobe with me and tossed out a ton of clothes (well, taken for donation), then we went shopping. I now have nicer clothes that fit properly and are quite comfortable - now my biggest worry is spilling something on my good clothes :-)