The Power of Dressing When You Feel Lousy:Your Style Sweet Spot

The Power of Dressing When You Feel Lousy:Your Style Sweet Spot

This week Pam and I are continuing our series on How to Hit Your Style Sweet Spot. We’re sharing how we dress when we feel lousy. It’s pretty easy to decide not to bother, when you feel unwell. But that’s just when attention to self-care, and your appearance, can make a big difference. For me, it’s not a make-believe scenario this week. To make a long story short, I had to start using my husband’s cane, right after Christmas, and now I’m back on crutches.

My hip has decided to let me down and taken my lower back with it. I’ve felt like quasi motto lately, and not been able to do much but lay on a heating pad.

I missed Style Sweet Spot last week because my kids and grandson were here. I didn’t want to take any time away from the fun! My family comes first and I don’t believe in multitasking.


And this week I couldn’t stand long enough to take photographs so I made a little video with my phone. I just love these technical challenges 🙂

I’m going to share what I do when I feel lousy, and why it’s important to me.


It would have been easy to lounge around in my robe all day. Shuffling down for tea between book chapters. But I felt more human wearing perfume, a little makeup and my favorite color. It didn’t make my hip or back less painful, but it did pick up my spirits. If I’d had to go out, or someone had face-timed me, I wouldn’t have felt embarrassed by how I looked.

Self care is some of the very best medicine.


Dressing When You Feel Lousy: Your Style Sweet Spot


Now let’s pop over to see what Pam Lutrell is wearing when she feels lousy.

We’ve had such a positive response to this new series, we are delighted to continue it into 2016!

Wishing you all a fabulous New Year. It’s going to be a great one!










This post may contain affiliate links which won’t change your price but will share some commission.


  1. Janet Majors
    January 8, 2016 / 4:04 pm

    You are the very definition of grace under fire Jennifer. Hope you are feeling better soon!



  2. January 7, 2016 / 2:19 pm

    🙂 Congratulations! Very good move! However, sometimes it just feels great to lounge around and to NOTHING.
    But I like your spirit.
    Hope you’re feeling better already and get well soon!
    All the best and have a very HAPPY day 🙂

  3. January 6, 2016 / 9:24 pm

    Bless your heart! I must admit, I would probably still be in my robe. This was a great reminder and motivator. By the way, you have the sweetest voice ever!

    • Jennifer
      January 6, 2016 / 10:54 pm

      Funny, I thought my voice sounded gruff!!

  4. January 6, 2016 / 4:35 pm

    Darling Friend, I had no idea you were soldiering through all this. All I can say is that you look wonderful. Sometimes looking slightly vulnerable can be adorable.

    Also, Mme Mère would be proud of you. I’ve had so many surgeries (all necessary) in my life, and I know the importance of putting on a little lipstick and perfume a.s.a.p. even while wearing those dreadful hospital gowns. It’s a total morale booster.

    I’ll call you next week to catch up.

    Cheers, M-T

    • Jennifer
      January 6, 2016 / 11:00 pm

      Yes let’s talk. You know where I’ll be :)! Xx

  5. Judy Heyman
    January 5, 2016 / 2:26 pm

    Hi Jennifer,

    Sorry you are having a bad time again with your hip I can totally relate. Really loved your video,thanks for doing this when you sure in pain. I have lots of first hand hip joint experience, had one replaced 12 years ago on the right side, now I need one on the left. Enjoyed hearing your voice and seeing your upbeat manner. Feel better soon.

    • Jennifer
      January 6, 2016 / 10:59 pm

      Thank you Judy. I’m glad you enjoyed it.

  6. Constance
    January 5, 2016 / 11:18 am

    Thank you so much for this post. It affirms that we all struggle with our various challenges and helped me realize again that I am not alone and don’t need to isolate myself. I constantly have to relearn this. Isolation seems to compound the depression associated with pain even though my inclination when ill, depressed, or in pain is to crawl into a hole. I will try the favorite color and perfume. I know I feel better when I look better.

    • Jennifer
      January 6, 2016 / 10:57 pm

      Constance you are never alone. This community is always here for each other. Also buy very soft clothes. It’s a pampering feeling you deserve. XX

  7. Jess
    January 5, 2016 / 8:06 am

    Hi Jennifer. Oh boy! It sounds painful.
    You are a trooper! You are right. I use to have a pair of green sweatpants that I would put on when I wasn’t feeling so great. My husband would ask me to get rid of them? so I did. ( Along with other items that were not that flattering.) That also gave me the option to ask him to get rid of some of his “ugly items”. He did, except for one pair of extremely old and beaten up pair of boat shoes. They are famous in our cul de sac because the are so ugly and have a hole in one of the toes. They are relegated to the garage! I hope you are on the mend.

    • Jennifer
      January 6, 2016 / 10:53 pm

      Oh Jess, my husband has clothes like that too! He has clothes from when we were dating back 39 years ago.

  8. Susie
    January 4, 2016 / 4:49 pm

    You look pretty even when you are in pain. I hope that your hip will feel better soon, or that your doctors can give you some sort of pain relief for it. Pain can cast a shadow over one’s life and make it very difficult to live life to the utmost, but you have some very good ideas here on how to make the best of the situation.

    Possibly you just overdid things during the holidays and your injured hip is needing some extra TLC for a while. I am sending healing thoughts your way, and hoping for the best for you.


    • Jennifer
      January 6, 2016 / 10:50 pm

      I’m also wondering if I over did it too! I hope that’s what it is.

  9. January 4, 2016 / 2:40 pm

    So sorry to hear that your hip is causing more issues. I do hope you start to feel better soon. This has been going on for far too long for you.

    Stay positive!


    • Jennifer
      January 6, 2016 / 10:49 pm

      I’m working on that positive attitude daily. Being negative doesn’t get me anywhere.

  10. Linda
    January 4, 2016 / 1:21 pm

    Oh Jennifer…I so hope you can get to the bottom of the hip problem and be repaired soon. Thank you for staying in touch, even when you’re obviously so uncomfortable. To us readers, you are a friend and an inspiration. Big (gentle!) hugs to your hurting self.

    • Jennifer
      January 6, 2016 / 10:48 pm

      Thank you Linda. That means a lot to me. ?

  11. January 4, 2016 / 12:05 pm

    My late, beautiful girlfriend used to do full makeup and good jewelry for chemo and has inspired me to up my game. I miss her already but every time I get dressed I think of her.

  12. January 4, 2016 / 11:36 am

    Jennifer so sad to hear you are dealing with this pain stuff and the back now. Are you planning on doing the surgery? I know it must be hard for you to be stuck on the couch when you are usually so busy. I hope Christmas was good with the family and the little guy! Sending you hugs and wishes to get well soon. Hoping 2016 is a good year for you. Love, Kim

    • Jennifer
      January 6, 2016 / 10:47 pm

      Christmas was fabulous! The worst of my hip pain started after.

  13. January 4, 2016 / 9:49 am

    Jennifer you are such an angel to be posting on this subject while you are in such distress.
    I cannot imagine the effort that it took and you are raising the bar to hit that style sweet spot even if as you say it is semi-sweet!
    I hope that your pain will ease soon…

    • Jennifer
      January 6, 2016 / 10:45 pm

      Thanks Leslie. The perfectionist in me didn’t like to post me in no makeup with wet hair. But it was part of the story.

  14. Rena McDaniel
    January 4, 2016 / 9:18 am

    I really hope that you start feeling better. I have a lot of problem with my bones and joints because I have RA and hip pain in unbearable. Wishing you peace and healing.

  15. January 4, 2016 / 9:13 am

    I so agree with you! Just taking a shower and putting on “real” clothes can make a huge difference when you’re feeling lousy. And long live Eileen Fisher!

  16. January 4, 2016 / 8:22 am

    Strong, important post for all of us. First I hope you feel better and keep feeling better and better. Anything we can do to raise our spirits on a day when pain is living with us dulls that sensation. Reading is such a good choice as the mind goes somewhere else and not to the pain. Please know how many of us think fondly of you and are sending warm smiles your way. Beth

    • Jennifer
      January 6, 2016 / 10:44 pm

      You’re a total darling Beth. Thank you. Yes reading is the ultimate escape. I’m doing lots of it these days.

  17. January 4, 2016 / 7:58 am

    What wise advice. I should do all of this more often, especially the perfume. I hope your hip movement improves and all pain subsides.

    • Jennifer
      January 6, 2016 / 10:42 pm


  18. Kathryn
    January 3, 2016 / 8:29 pm

    You have a wonderful style and smile!! I agree with making the effort part!! I struggled with back issues for years and lipstick and mascara always helped a wee bit with my attitude!!! Thank you for the post!! Kathryn

    • Jennifer
      January 6, 2016 / 10:42 pm

      You’re most welcome Kathryn. I wasn’t sure the post would make sense so I’m glad it helped.

  19. Elizabeth
    January 3, 2016 / 6:58 pm

    Bravo!! Even though you don’t feel well you look beautiful! You are an inspiration for someone (me) who spent the last two weeks in bed cuddling with my dogs and I wasn’t even sick!! Gotta love Christmas Vacation as a teacher!! Hope you feel better soon! xo

    • Jennifer
      January 6, 2016 / 10:40 pm

      Good for you relaxing and just thoroughly enjoying your vacation. What matters is that you felt good!

  20. Karen H.
    January 3, 2016 / 5:43 pm

    Happy new year Jennifer! Sending best wishes for a healthy and pain free 2016 (hip replacement). You were a sweetheart to do the video for us. You look great even tho I know you aren’t feeling it. I always feel so much better after a shower, some make-up, and run a a brush through my hair. Continue to take it easy, and keep that darling grandson close by to cheer you!. Xx Karen

    • Jennifer
      January 6, 2016 / 10:39 pm

      Thanks Karen. What’s a shame is I can’t pick him up. My hip isn’t strong enough. Talk about motivation to get a hip replacement!!

  21. January 3, 2016 / 4:01 pm

    Believe it or not, I no longer own a bathrobe. My robe has been replaced with cute pajama pants and/or yoga pants with comfy tops in the cool months and long t-shirt tank style sundresses in the warmer months. I always feel dressed for the house.

    What a year you have had with that hip! I am sure that I speak for most of us by saying much healing energy and prayers are directed your way. I am way behind in my visits, due to a busy Nov-Dec schedule at the clinic and much meal and party planning. I remember reading that you found a good doctor. Have I missed any updates on your proposed surgery?

    My 86 year old mother broke her hip in August, and is now recovered and pain free. I have a difficult time understanding why the docs are allowing you to live in so much pain.

    Love your spirit, the video, and the sweet spot series!

    • Jennifer
      January 6, 2016 / 10:37 pm

      Thanks Lynne. My Dr is on vacation, of course, right when it went south. Murphy’s Law. I see him next week and we’ll be talking turkey.

  22. January 3, 2016 / 3:28 pm

    Now this I can relate to! It can be a real struggle to stay motivated to look good when you’re hurt or ill. Ultimately it’s about self-respect, and the effort helps with sense of self-worth illness or injury can chip away. Brava, lady 😉


    • Jennifer
      January 6, 2016 / 10:34 pm

      You are the brave one! Your attitude and strength are very inspiring.

  23. January 3, 2016 / 1:31 pm

    Jennifer you are so strong, I know that because you DO make the effort to do a little extra even when feeling at your worst. For me it can be as simple as a bright lipstick and moisturizer. Color does a lot for our well being and just like sunshine, brightens our spirits. Thank you for this video and call me anytime!! When you get through all of this current situation, this it will be a great year ahead!

    Happy New Years and all the best in 2016!
    The Arts by Karena

    • Jennifer
      January 6, 2016 / 10:32 pm

      Thanks so much Karen. You’ve been through so much you know it’s true.

  24. January 3, 2016 / 11:43 am

    Oh gosh. Pain is so debilitating. I’m impressed you could write a blog post about how you feel, even. I hope you find a way through this really soon.

    • Jennifer
      January 6, 2016 / 10:31 pm

      Funny thing is talking was easier than writing. Thank you Lisa.

  25. Connie*
    January 3, 2016 / 10:27 am

    Oh Jennifer!! I am so sorry you are going through this because I know all too well! I think your attitude is amazing. In the past 5 years that I have been struggling with my health I have to admit that there have been many days that I schlumped around in my son’s cast off skater hoodies. I know. Such a lovely look! But the days that I pull it together and slap on some make-up and wear some color I really do feel a little bit better. My saving grace through all of this has been aromatherapy. I’ve spent quite a bit of time at the holistic pharmacy sniffing different essential oils until I found the scents that really spoke to me and made me feel happy. Now they are my go to when I’m feeling down. I am sincerely hoping you get this issue resolved very soon. If you have any questions about prolotherapy please feel free to contact me. It has saved me when surgery and PT let me down. All the best to you, Sweetie.

    • Jennifer
      January 6, 2016 / 10:30 pm

      I love aromatherapy. It is soooo soothing. I have a big collection of bottles in my bedside table. I think I’ll reach for the lavender right now!

  26. Emilie Pirrone
    January 3, 2016 / 9:57 am

    You obviously have the knack for fixing so much yourself. And you do is beautifully. Now, go get help for that hip. I did just that 1 year ago and have a brand new left hip done on the anterior method (Front incision). It requires the least cutting & an easier recovery. Do check with a PT person about using 20 minutes of cold pack every few hours. It reduces swelling and pain and is the method of choice for PT.

    • Jennifer
      January 6, 2016 / 10:28 pm

      I am icing too. It’s just not as comfortable :). It’s so encouraging to hear success stories about hip replacements. One is in my future.

  27. January 3, 2016 / 9:00 am

    I failed. I failed miserably! I’ve had fever and bronchitis for ten days. I only got out of m bathrobe to see the doctor. I have no makeup on, my bathrobe is clean I switch cute pajamas everyday. But no I would not do FaceTime with anyone!I just bought a soft sweatshirt from Orvis on sale thanks to Pam’s urging. Otherwise I look terrible.

    So sorry to hear about your continuing probelms with your hip. How painful and frustrating. What are you going to do about it. How do you do PT for a hip?

    Feel better and I’m glad you look so good!

    • Jennifer
      January 6, 2016 / 10:25 pm

      Oh Sandra I’m so sorry to hear you’re ill. That stinks. Fever is no picnic. I’m not sure I would have done a video if I was sick. I’m just in pain. Feel better soon!

  28. January 3, 2016 / 8:45 am

    Your message is so important! My mother-in-law won’t allow even a doctor to see her in the hospital in the mornings until she’s been up and has her makeup on. She wants to look good for them. Making an effort to get dressed and put on some make-up boosts not only our self esteem, but I always felt it was also a small gift and kindness and respect I can give to others in the house who live with me and see me. My heart goes out to you in your situation. Know that your positive spirit is inspiring.

    • Jennifer
      January 6, 2016 / 10:22 pm

      Thank you Kate. My mom was the same way. I remember seeing her put her blush on to be transferred by ambulance from one hospital to another. She always fixed herself up.

  29. leslie Haws
    January 3, 2016 / 8:40 am

    Bravo! Not sure I could do what you do (I barely feel like putting make up on when I am feeling well!). I do not have your gorgeous eyes or else I might consider it.I hope you are seriously thinking of surgery soon. Everyone at the lunch (Tish Jett booksigning in L.G.) was urging you to do the surgery. I know that surgery is scary…but what you are going through is not a picnic, I’m sure ☹. Thinking of you and sending good wishes?

    • Jennifer
      January 6, 2016 / 10:19 pm

      Thanks Leslie. I fully intend to get that hip when the insurance company approves it!

  30. January 3, 2016 / 8:36 am

    So sorry to hear you’ve suffered such a setback, Jennifer, but I’m impressed at how gorgeous you manage to look nonetheless, and, of course, impressed that you rallied to the extent of making a video for us. I hope that 2016, despite its disappointing start, begins to treat you better very quickly.

    • Jennifer
      January 6, 2016 / 10:17 pm

      Thanks! Making the video was actually a good distraction :). It kept me busy so I didn’t feel sorry for myself.

  31. January 3, 2016 / 8:27 am

    You sweet thing- making a video from bed – exposing your I don’t feel good but look how much better I feel and look with simple, comfy, soul and body caring efforts. You are so right about freshening up a little, the power of fragrance and color. I remember having a bad case of postpartum blues after my first baby and I was slugging around. My mother stopped in, took my two week old daughter into the kitchen for a bath and told me, like a mother firmly can to get myself into a shower, wash my hair, put on a little make-up/fragrance, get dressed. Lesson learned – it made a big difference. I’m wishing you pain relief soon.

    • Jennifer
      January 6, 2016 / 10:15 pm

      Mothers really do know best sometimes!!

  32. Cherrie Lucas
    January 3, 2016 / 8:16 am

    So sorry you’re feeling un-perky! I can identify……my back went south right before Thanksgiving, landing me in the hospital for a week while out of town! The outcome of it for me is peripheral nerve pain for which the meds make me feel like curling up and sleeping all day…I, too, have discovered that if I don’t give in to it by putting on make-up and wearing cute “at home wear”, my mood and outlook is so much better!!!!! Thank the Lord for crossword puzzles!!!!!!

    • Jennifer
      January 6, 2016 / 10:14 pm

      Oh no Cherrie. A hospital out of town. That’s the worse. I hope you’re feeling better now.

  33. January 3, 2016 / 8:06 am

    I hope you two continue. It’s a good idea. I’m sorry for all your physical issues, at the moment Jennifer, but your spirit is rockin’. Feel better soon.

    • Jennifer
      January 6, 2016 / 10:12 pm


  34. Donna
    January 3, 2016 / 7:28 am

    I’m sorry to hear that your hip is causing more trouble. So glad you had good times with your family. They deserve your full attention. A big thank you to you and Pam for collaborating on these posts. This one was very timely as I am getting over whatever cold/virus/flu/yucky visited our house. The effort to fix up a bit pays big dividends.

    • Jennifer
      January 6, 2016 / 10:11 pm

      I hope you’re feeling better Donna. It’s a rough time of year to be sick but taking a bit of time to fix ourselves up makes a big difference.

  35. January 3, 2016 / 7:07 am

    I am so sorry that you’ve been in pain. I love that you took the video to work around not being able to stand. I really hope you’ll get relieve from your hip pain soon!

    The points you make in your video are so true! I especially love what a difference our favorite scent can make; it takes no effort yet really can affect the way we feel. And a pretty, soft top in a color that makes us look our best does wonders, too!

    I hope 2016 is the year you get rid of your hip pain! Wishing you all the best for the new year!

    • Jennifer
      January 6, 2016 / 10:10 pm

      Thanks Andrea! I’m counting on it. Happy New Year!

  36. January 3, 2016 / 5:31 am

    Oh, Jennifer, I’m so sorry to hear you’re hip is playing up. Any news or developments on you getting a replacement??? My back ain’t great but it’s nothing to your situation.

    Actually, just wanted to say that what struck me about that little film is how beautiful your eyes are – really. They’re lovely. All the very best to you, and get well soon. Sending healing light to you from a very damp UK xxx

    • Jennifer
      January 6, 2016 / 10:08 pm

      Thank you so much Penny. My eyes are my favorite feature. That’s why I usually wear paler lipstick so the focus goes to my eyes. I’ve got a Dr appointment in 2 weeks so I’ll know better then.

  37. January 3, 2016 / 3:47 am

    Sometimes a shower, fixing our hair and a little perfume are all that matters. I hope for both of us and our readers, 2016 is a healthy new year!

    • Jennifer
      January 6, 2016 / 10:07 pm

      Yes!! Wishing you well with your surgery Friday!! It’s time to get healthy.

  38. Karen
    January 3, 2016 / 3:37 am

    Thank you for being so relatable and real! What a lift a little make up can give us even at the lowest times. And a shower! That is like magic when we feel rough around the edges. Great tip about wearing a color you like too, one that perks you up. I wouldn’t have thought of that, but can see where it would certainly lift my spirits.

    • Jennifer
      January 6, 2016 / 10:06 pm

      It does make such a difference Karen! I debated about the no-makeup wet hair piece, but then decided to relax and be honest!

  39. January 3, 2016 / 3:35 am

    I sympathise with the back. I have had a prolapsed disk now for a couple of years, luckily it is stable at the moment. If I feel tired or not so good I always try and put my make-up on and some comfy stylish clothes. It helps me to feel so much better.

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