Our clothes can affect our feelings and are an important part of our creative process and expression. The degree to which our clothing affects us can vary greatly but we’ve all experienced it. People from across the ages and cultures have experienced the affective and expressive nature of clothing. Most of us can remember playing dress-up games as children; we would put on our families and friends clothing simply for a laugh. As adults many of us enjoy wearing extraordinary clothes for special ceremonies, fancy dress events, halloween parties and so on. But even our everyday clothes can affect our feelings and moods.
We can harness the affective nature of our clothing by rehearsing or practising our speech or performance with clothes that make us feel more confident, intelligent, luminous, expansive, or whatever quality we wish to incorporate more of into our work. Think about your clothes and how each garment makes you feel. Perhaps you have a favourite t-shirt that instantly makes you feel more comfortable, relaxed and carefree. Perhaps when you put on glasses you feel more thoughtful, intelligent or wise. Perhaps you have on a pair of trainers that make you feel faster, more agile and light. Find and use whatever stirs you.
But don't stop there. Experimentation is essential. Go beyond safe or normal choices. Look for inspiration in the wardrobes of our friends and families - and shops of course. Thrift shops are excellent places to find affordable clothing for this purpose. You can also simply try clothes on in a shop, then let the effect sink in, and then recall that effect while rehearsing later on.
An equally powerful method of experimenting with different clothing choices is to use our imagination. Picture yourself in a variety of different clothes. The choices are limitless. It can be absolutely ridiculous or fantastical. Keep and open mind and note whatever stirs you. Develop details before moving on to another choice. What’s the colour, texture, pattern, feel of the fabric? How do you move in it? Pick your most stimulating choice and rehearse your speech or performance while sustaining the picture you have chosen in your imagination.
Practice often to let the effect slowly seep into your subconscious. Let it go and forget it completely during performance. Your work should unconsciously be permeated with a greater sense of your desired qualities.