Blue Monday is a charming bit of pseudoscience that – like all the best fiction – has a kernel of truth in it.
It’s supposed to be “the most depressing day of the year”, calculated on an arcane (and meaningless) equation combining the climate, number of days since Christmas, debt levels, failing New Year’s Resolutions and other factors.
Of course, all these issues can certainly impact on mood, but combining them into a precise formula for determining the maximal point of feeling down is the purest nonsense.
That hectic day comes on a backdrop of having suffered a cold over the past few days and I reserve the right of my gender to complain bitterly about having been ill with a minor ailment. In fact, I felt so under the weather that I wore a few of my favourite items to work during the worst of it.
Coincidentally enough given today’s moniker, they happened to be predominantly blue. The top outfit has a navy worsted-flannel suit, paired with a pale pink shirt with white contrast collar, and a navy paisley tie. The lower look is of a navy pinstripe suit, contrasting grey flannel waistcoat, white shirt, and navy/silver block stripe tie.
Strange as it may be to some others who consider any tailored clothes to be constricting and ties as tantamount to nooses, I view these as “comfort clothes” if having to work. They are old favourites, familiar to wear, soft and silky to the touch, and reassuringly snug. They provide predictability and protection when feeling under the weather. I’m sure everyone has examples of such items in their own wardrobe, although I accept I may be an outlier in picking tailored items as examples!
Clothes can be an external & unconscious manifestation of inner mood. It is a stereotyped cliche (with all the benefits and failings of that class) that subdued colours can sometimes reveal a low mood and that bright or clashing colours are worn by those with elevated affect. But a more nuanced view would be that we can consciously choose outfits to enhance or counter our moods. We can also use them to bring long-gone memories back to life. Just as Proust’s famous madeleine involuntarily evoked a detailed memory, so can favourite items of clothing elicit past events. For instance, the tie in the first outfit was purchased in Tokyo and choosing to wear it inevitably reminds me of various happy aspects of that journey.
This association of clothes with memories can cut both ways. For the longest while, I disliked green shirts as I received some bad news twice while wearing the same green shirt. Superstitious nonsense of course, but it still took a conscious effort to break that association. In the end, any linkage can be overcome with active practice to break the reinforcement. Fortunately, for the items worn in recent days and featured above, the positive associations linger on, despite my coughing and nose-blowing while wearing them.
Here’s to Blue Monday!