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Mood-Lifting Buys to Banish the Blahs

Fun, lighthearted clothes and accessories to help you conquer the end-of-winter blues


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Photo Collage: AARP; (Source: Neiman Marcus; Athleta; Boden USA; Nordstrom; Keil James Patrick; Getty Images (2))

I don’t know about you, but at this time of year I often get the “blahs.” After the adrenaline rush of the holidays — and the relief that they are over! — I need something to look forward to or to cheer me up.

A vacation somewhere warm (or somewhere else) always beckons, but if you can’t afford to go away for one reason or another (family commitments, your work schedule, your finances) a little shopping therapy might help. I’m not suggesting that you be reckless with your money — but sometimes a single purchase can give you a little lift. It could be a silly T-shirt, a nail polish in a fun color, a pretty piece of jewelry. Another sure way to elevate your mood is to do something kind for someone else. Surprise a friend or family member with a little gift for no reason — just to let them know you love them or are thinking about them.

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So whether you are trying to boost your own mood or someone else’s, here are a few ideas:

Add a dash of color

spinner image MZ Wallace Metro Micro Quilted Crossbody Tote Bag in Red
MZ Wallace Metro Micro Quilted Crossbody Tote Bag in Red
Courtesy: Neiman Marcus

Don’t underestimate how much color can lift your mood! Slip on a bright sweater like the UV Protection Crewneck Cardigan in Blue $40, uniqlo.com), a pair of bold waterproof boots like the Bolinas Off Shore Boot in Calendula ($115, seavees.com) or a zippy accessory like the MZ Wallace Metro Micro Quilted Crossbody Tote Bag in Red ($195, neimanmarcus.com). Just one pop of a bright hue can enliven your outfit and your outlook.

Go for a laugh

spinner image Women’s Old Salt T-shirt
Old Salt T-shirt
Courtesy: Keil James Patrick

A touch of humor goes a long way too. A statement tee like the I Don’t Want To I’m Retired T-shirt in Pink ($9, etsy.com) and the spicy Old Salt T-shirt ($40, kieljamespatrick.com) or a playful carryall like the David Shrigley Went Shopping Tote Bag ($22, etsy.com) can signal that you don’t take yourself too seriously — and can open the door for conversation.

Opt for novelty

spinner image Eva Cashmere Crew Neck Sweater in Multi, Rainbow; Women’s Plus Size Cotton Drifter Crew Neck Sweater in Ivory Coastal Sailboat
(Left to right) Eva Cashmere Crew Neck Sweater in Multi, Rainbow; Women’s Plus Size Cotton Drifter Crew Neck Sweater in Ivory Coastal Sailboat
Courtesy: Boden USA; Lands' End

Maybe a lively patterned or graphic sweater will help float your boat? Grab the nautical-inspired Women’s Plus Size Cotton Drifter Crew Neck Sweater in Ivory Coastal Sailboat ($80, landsend.com), the ultra-sweet V-Neck Cardigan - Tipped Heart in Navy ($109, talbots.com) or the goes-with-everything Eva Cashmere Crew Neck Sweater in Multi, Rainbow ($158, bodenusa.com) to stave off any nip in the air. Wear one with jeans and cute kicks and you will instantly feel more lighthearted.

Cuddle up in something cozy

spinner image Athleta Tugga Jacket in Cream
Athleta Tugga Jacket in Cream
Courtesy: Athleta

Snuggly textures in the still-cool days before spring will make you feel all warm and fuzzy like your favorite teddy bear from childhood. Nestle into comfy coats like the Athleta Tugga Jacket in Cream ($95, athleta.gap.com), the Cozy Commuter Tote in Coco ($78, freepeople.com) or the UGG Gertrude Long Teddy Coat in Chestnut ($268, zappos.com). So yummy you may wish winter would last a little longer. Almost.

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Bring on the magic

spinner image Adornia 14K Yellow Gold Plated Evil Eye Stud Earrings in Yellow; Hoops + Chain LDN Smiley Huggies
(Left to right) Adornia 14K Yellow Gold Plated Evil Eye Stud Earrings in Yellow; Hoops + Chain LDN Smiley Huggies
Courtesy: Nordstrom; Wolf and Badger

Conjure some good karma with playful earrings like the Adornia 14K Yellow Gold Plated Evil Eye Stud Earrings in Yellow ($20, nordstromrack.com), the Hoops + Chain LDN Smiley Huggies ($62, wolfandbadger.com) or the Biddy Murphy Classic Irish Luck Shamrock Earrings for Women ($30, amazon.com). They will ward off evil spirits — or symbolize good luck.

Final words of wisdom

When I stopped working full-time as a fashion editor in my late 50s, I suddenly wasn’t so concerned with appearing chic or having clothes that were of-the-moment. Now, I care more about how they make me feel — rather than how they make me look. That’s just one of the gifts of growing older.

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