Wedding Dress Wednesday

On Friday, March 13th, we all left the office and parted our ways for the weekend, fully expecting to reunite Monday morning with cheerful greetings to kick off another work week. (Of course, being that it was Friday the 13th, we should’ve expected something odd to happen)

That weekend, news and social media overwhelmed our phones, and we were suddenly encouraged to work from home. Besides the understandable anxiety surrounding the global pandemic, there was a lot of uncertainty and stress that came from the sudden changes.

Two weeks later, I realized how quickly we had adapted to a “new normal.” We adjusted to our new routines and life like this became strangely accepted (it just didn’t include traveling to the office or grocery store).

Fast-forward another couple of weeks and this “new normal” began to give us all cabin fever. Without client meetings or construction site visits to break up the week, or social gatherings, family meals and soccer practices to look forward to (or not look forward to), the days started to merge together and we lost track of time.

Now more than ever, creativity is needed as we think of different ways to keep our sanity, stay positive and remain productive from our homes.

Google “How to work from home” and you will be inundated with tons of tips and tricks. Full of puns and sarcasms, the most useful tips I found were from Kristi Rugg, Videographer and Visual Information Specialist at National Park Service. Click here to view.

One consistent piece of advice from all the blogs and articles has been to get out of your pajamas and into work clothes. Professor Cary Cooper, Occupational Psychologist at Manchester Business Schools, says, “Get dressed in the morning, make yourself feel like you’re going to work, but be comfortable.”

Northwestern University, H. Adam, A.D. Galinsky / Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, performed a study on, “Enclothed Cognition,” which is used to describe the systematic influence that clothes have on the wearer’s psychological processes (H. Adam, A.D. Galinsky, 2012).

I’m sure most of us are familiar with the popular, TLC reality television show, What Not to Wear, or the bestselling book, Dress for Success by John T. Molloy. These shows and books tend to focus on the perception and reaction of other’s based on your clothing/appearance. “The clothes we wear have power not only over others, but also over ourselves” (H. Adam, A.D. Galinsky, 2012).

And if that isn’t enough evidence that clothes hold power, let’s also think about whether wearing a firefighter uniform helps people act more courageously. Adam and Galinsky suggest, “Answering these kinds of questions would further elucidate how a seemingly trivial, yet ubiquitous item like an article of clothing can influence how we think, feel and act. Although the saying goes that clothes do not make the man, our results suggest that they do hold a strange power over their wearers.” (2012).

Furthermore, Peluchette, Karl, and Rust explain, “it is evident that attire plays a key role in individuals’ attitudes and beliefs regarding workplace outcomes. When [respondents] used their clothing to impress others, they experienced positive self-perceptions such as feeling dependable, competent, productive and friendly” (2006).

“What a strange power there is in clothing.” – Issac Bashevis Singer

As I pondered all of these concepts surrounding the power of clothing (and noticed that I was running out of yoga pants), I had an interesting thought: “What if I worked from home in my wedding dress?” Understanding that clothing can impact my overall state of mind, I sought to put on the outfit that I wore on one of the best days of my life.

Thus, the idea of #WeddingDressWednesday emerged.

Coworkers and friends jumped in on the fun challenge. I mean, who wouldn’t want to wear the one item that made them feel like a true star? In fact, your wedding dress might be one of the strongest symbolic articles of clothing you own and can intrinsically affect your self-image or emotions.

Imagine, all eyes on you and your beautiful dress; all the power, attention, super-woman emotions and before you know it, your production level skyrockets.

Courtney Ter-Velde, CPL design team member, was thrilled with how the challenge made her feel.

“Until Carly asked me if I wanted to participate, I hadn’t even looked at my wedding dress in almost seven years. In fact, I wasn’t even sure where it was,” she said. “When I finally found it, I was instantly transported to another time and place. A flash of memories lit my brain and all I could do was smile and laugh. Putting it on was comical on its own; a broken zipper, a torn bottom from dancing the night away, and time-soaked patterns of the deep purple cake frosting. However, it felt exciting to dress up for the day, something I know many of us have not done in weeks. It was also uplifting for me to be able to playful and reminisce on a very happy time.”

Thank you to every woman who participated with my challenge! I hope you felt like a star, brought out your inner playfulness, sparked creativity, and had fun with it!

On a personal note, when I put on my wedding dress, my posture instantly improved (mainly because I couldn’t breathe or move), and I smiled more than I had all day. However, what surprised me most was when my four-year-old daughter held my dress up to herself. For me, it served as the perfect reminder of the bright future we all have to look forward to. I can’t predict whether the next few months will be anything like the last but take my advice when you run out of yoga pants.We will all get through this together.

A Senior Interior Designer in our Charlotte office, Molly works with clients to develop functional and intentional designs that reflect as well as complement the architectural details of spaces. She possesses deep experience in a multitude of diverse project types, specializing in healthcare design.

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