Dressing for your Mental Health
Yesterday, I was reading a post on ABeautifulMess about style uniforms – and Elsie made a point that really interested me. She mentioned that she did an exercise where she documented her outfits for about two weeks to see what things made her feel confident and happy vs. meh.
Lately (and I’m sure it’s partially due to the season) I’ve been feeling pretty “meh” on my general appearance. Over the holiday season I didn't make the time to work out, I’ve gained some winter weight and I’ve been feeling hyper critical over my appearance. Basically, I think of every mean girl comment that could be made and I make it to myself.
It S U C K S.
That being said, I’ve been trying to focus on taking better care of myself – busting out at-home workouts when I can’t go to the gym, doing face masks and trying to eat less comfort food. I really love comfort food, you guys. You know, all the standard winter resolution fare. But when I read Elsie’s post, I started thinking about how part of my downtrodden mental state was directly tied in to my fashion choices. I work in an office environment five days a week, and that style vibe I’ve got down, but in my free time I was beginning to feel stumped, uninspired and self conscious. Even my go-to style uniforms weren't making me feel confident!
My go to confidence uniforms are usually short, but not tight, because I like to show off my legs without drawing a ton of attention to my upper chest area. In the winter though, I’ve got to add a sweater, some thick tights, a beanie, the list of layers goes on and on. Before I’d know it, I’d be looking in the mirror and seeing greasy bangs (thanks to my beanie), a round face with a weak chin and a stocky looking body (due to the mixing of chunky sweaters and a pea coat). It sucked – it felt like all my favorite items had come together to betray me.
I was in a funk. A funk where I would overthink my outfits and become convinced I looked more like a baked potato than a girl.
The thing is – I’m actually pretty happy with my appearance. I’m a healthy weight, I’ve got a great hair cut and a closet full of clothes that I love. I know I have no legitimate reason to feel like a fifteen-year-old girl going to her first dance, but hey – that’s life.
I started thinking more about what outfits make me feel good and less about how they’d look photographed. I started thinking about the items in my closet I loved and less about the visual tricks certain items played regarding my proportions. I reminded myself that it's winter - the time where being warm is always going to come before looking stylish. In the grand scheme of things, I began to remember that it doesn’t really matter what I wear because my goal is to go out and enjoy my time with my friends and loved ones.
It’s sort of weird, right? For a “style” post to end with the realization that – hey, clothes don’t really matter? I mean, I spend a solid amount of time curating my social media feeds to grow my blog reach. I put thought into my outfits and what sort of message they send, when in all actuality, they’re just clothes. They’re meant to be an extension of me – of my personality! They’re not supposed to completely run my life. They’re not supposed to wreck havoc on my self esteem.
Basically, I’m working on ironing out my self confidence issues – and I’m reminding myself that I wear my clothes, and I’m over letting them wear me.
Wall details (are those a thing? they should be.) - Mural23: Crystal City, Arlington, VA