Anna Jackson: How to get joy out of what you wear

6 MIN READ | by Notes Motley on Jan 25, 2021
6 MIN READ | by Notes Motley on Jan 25, 2021

Stylists are curators, creatives and fashion seers. They help celebrities and us normal fashion-loving folk make sense of the endless array of choice. Put simply, they’re geniuses – which is why we’re keen to share their wisdom with the Motley crew. 

Kicking off our stylist series is colour expert and stylist Anna Jackson, also known as @alwaysafashionparade on Instagram. With a background in psychology and marketing, Anna decided to become a professional stylist four years ago and hasn’t looked back. Here, Anna shows us how colourful clothes can bring joy, boost confidence and keep us smiling in grey lockdown days. 

Shop the featured Gold Solis Chain and Gold Kaa Bangle by Emily Robson.

I always wanted to work in fashion, but it never felt like a ‘proper’ job. 

I knew I didn’t want to be a designer, so I fell into advertising at the start of my career. I was quite good at it and enjoyed it, but felt a pull to something else. I went to a talk about careers in fashion where lots of intelligent, creative pros made the industry seem anything but silly or frivolous. In short, they spoke my language.

At 38, I wondered if I had left it too late. I sat down and realised how many working years I had ahead of me, so I just decided to go for it. Four years, one course and countless clients later, I’ve not looked back once. 

There’s science behind the joy we feel when we wear our favourite clothes. 

I studied psychology, so I’m big on how the brain works. The things we put on everyday change our mood, and colours play an important role. Blue often makes people feel calm, yellow can make you think of the sun (so you feel happy), and pink is the colour of fun! This sounds dramatic, but when I wear black I feel like I’ve been possessed by a dementor from Harry Potter. It takes over and brings me down, so if I wear it I pair with gold or white to counter balance it. 

That being said, everyone’s associations with colour are different. People have positive and negative memories associated with a colour that influences their relationship with it. It’s a personal choice, which is why people like wearing different things. 

We should dress for ourselves because people may like or dislike our style for their own reasons. 

Once you start thinking that way, you’re free to dress as outrageously as you want and turn your clothes into a release. 

Due to our associations, wearing colour activates different parts of our brain. Wearing colours we associate with happy memories gives us an injection of dopamine – we could all use more of that at the moment.  

A study proved how the clothes we wear influence how we think.

A scientific study by Hajo Adam and Adam D. Galinsky coined the term ‘enclothed cognition’. When participants put on a lab coat, they were able to focus on concentration tasks more than when they put on a painter’s coat, which made them more creative. 

There are general associations we have, and then our personal ones we layer on top. If you want to feel smart and professional for a job interview, you might put on a blazer and smart shoes; you become that ‘professional’ person, or if you wear active clothes you may instantly feel fitter!

Lockdown dressing doesn’t have to be boring or beige. 

I get requests from clients for good loungewear all the time now. I help people find comfy clothes that feel different to pyjamas. I call it ‘glamfort’ – the marriage between ‘Glamorous and Comfort’. Comfy bottoms and a colourful or bold top mean people can enjoy working from home, look good on Zoom and go to the shops without having to change. 

Unfortunately some things just aren’t worn anymore – I’ve got some heels I bought a year ago that I haven’t worn yet and I definitely used to buy a lot more handbags. Sequins and colour remind me of good times and parties, so I like working them into the lockdown loungewear. 

At the end of the day, it’s about what makes you happy. 

Does it spark joy? You know what makes you happy when you put it on, you can just feel it.

You have the power over what you put on every single day, so it’s up to you to get the joy out of it you can. Even if you’re having the worst day, dressing in things that make you happy definitely helps. 

Dress for the occasion, whatever it may be. 

It may seem like there aren’t many, but anything can be an occasion! 

I went camping over the summer and packed a capsule wardrobe that was functional and looked really cool, too. It may not have been a runway but as my Instagram suggests it’s always a fashion parade when you’re dressing for yourself. 

Wardrobe ‘must-haves’ are generally personal – but here are some that work for everyone.

I’d say everyone needs a stripey top, also known as a breton top, because it’s so versatile and goes well with every colour.

Another one is a warm coat that’s also fun, colourful or just a bit cool. People tend to take the joy out of practical clothes, but a coat is all you can see when you’re out during winter months so you may as well enjoy it! 

My last one would be a great pair of not-so-sporty trainers. Perfect for dressing down any outfit, whilst staying comfy.  

Above all else if you wear something that makes you smile you can’t go far wrong!

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