It’s easy to assume that just because someone puts effort into how they look, they’re superficial and that they have the wrong priorities or they’re insecure because they need all this ‘stuff’.
But is that really true? Is caring about the way we look really that superficial?
I love styling my clothes and putting effort into how I dress.
But in the past, I was holding myself back for fear of appearing shallow, while at other times I overdressed and felt uncomfortable because of it. It took me a while to understand the mental part of getting ready but once I got it, it gave me more clarity about how to dress intentionally so that I’m able to feel both comfortable and inspired.
THE CORRELATION BETWEEN THE WAY WE DRESS AND THE WAY WE FEEL
The biggest reason we should pay attention to how we dress is because of its effect on how we feel.
There may be some people who say that they’re not bothered about the way they look and yes, there are some differences from person to person but mostly we all want to feel and look great. So wearing beautiful clothes can make a massive difference in how we feel whether we like to admit it or not.
As I was growing up, I was changing my style until I settled and found my comfortable sweet spot. But in the past I often overdressed – I wore high heels all the time even when I wasn’t comfortable or when it wasn’t that appropriate, while at other times I underdressed – I put on whatever I found in my closet and I felt just ‘okay’ about the way I looked.
In both situations, I didn’t feel quite right. I didn’t feel inspired or elegant until I discovered minimalism, which encouraged me to wear the best pieces that I have.
Because decluttering ‘forced’ me to be really honest with myself, I got rid of items that were dull and uninspiring. And surprisingly, those were the items I wore a lot of – in my head, they were a safe choice and I didn’t have to worry about ruining them. But at the same time, my nice things were just sitting in my closet waiting for those special moments when I would wear them but those moments rarely came.
So because of minimalism, I slowly started wearing the things that I loved more and more and that made me realise what a difference experience it can be when you get dressed and bring some self-awareness into the mix. Finally, I felt like myself: put together – yet comfortable and free.
DO A LITTLE TEST
If you want to understand yourself better and how your clothes make you feel, then test this out – start by picking three days.
On the first day, put the least amount of effort into how you look and then go about your day – observe how you feel, your posture, your body language and how you communicate with others. I recommend you write it all down so you can compare later.
Now on the second day, simply do your usual thing – wear the clothes you normally wear and notice as much as you can. Again, write it down for future reference.
For the last day, experiment and dress in a way that makes you feel amazing; not just good but amazing! Dress charmingly and appropriately, so you feel comfortable and beautiful. Now observe how you carry yourself throughout the day and see if there are any differences between the three different days.
This experiment can tell you a lot about your relationship between your attire and your thinking.
And the truth is, we all have different things we want to achieve with the way we dress – we either want to look and feel cute, professional, successful, attractive, approachable, fun, young, playful, cool, fashionable, smart etc. So once we start dressing in a way that truly aligns with our goals and we represent ourselves in the way we want to be seen, then we’re using the power of ‘dressing-up’ in a positive and constructive way.
CAN YOU TURN A BAD DAY INTO A GOOD ONE JUST BY DRESSING DIFFERENTLY?
I also noticed that paying attention to how I dressed and making an effort to ‘glam up’ on a bad day helped me turn it around or at very least made me feel a little bit better.
Sounds weird I know but hear me out:
When I was younger I wasn’t happy with the way I looked so I did my best to hide my body – I wore big jumpers and baggy pants whenever I could.
In my head, I had a plan: “When I get to be a certain size, I’m going to show my body but for now, I’ll hide myself”. I remember my mum encouraging me to dress up beautifully but I just brushed her off. I thought it wouldn’t make a difference.
But that stuck in my mind so after some time I started experimenting – I felt terrible anyway, so I had nothing to lose. I now purposefully started dressing attractively.
At first, I was uncomfortable but I kept changing things until I discovered that dresses and skirts made me feel beautiful and dressing in fitted items made me feel slimmer, which was the opposite of what I was doing!
So I used the power of dressing-up in such a way that it made me feel better, not worse.
Then years later, I truly tested this theory by using it to shift my mental state.
After moving to the UK and figuring my life out, I had days where I felt unmotivated and depressed. I wondered if I can again use the way I dress to feel inspired and energised.
I then created a mini-makeup routine so I felt glamorous and put-together plus I also wore a lovely outfit. That alone was enough to change my state of mind so I felt more ready to take on the day and the challenges that came my way.
*NOTE: I’m not saying makeup and clothes will solve all your problems and that it’s that simple. But I’m trying to say that they can help you if you use them as one of the tools on your way to feeling better. Plus I firmly believe that we must work on ourselves so we feel beautiful and confident on the inside, especially if we have bigger self-esteem issues. That is how I overcame my struggles: by working on myself and understanding why I felt that way in the first place.
DRESSING IS POWERFUL
My conclusion is that dressing can be powerful – we can gain confidence, feel empowered and sometimes we even start to treat ourselves differently.
And that doesn’t mean we have to do our makeup for hours, style every inch of our hair and outfit and be completely flawless. But if we genuinely present ourselves in a way that we love, that can make a huge difference in how we feel every day.
Dressing up every morning should become a ritual where we get both visually and mentally ready to have the best day possible.
This was my personal experience and I hope it sheds some light on your relationship with your clothing so you can feel even better. Let me know if you have any thoughts or questions and don’t forget to have fun – life is too short to wear boring clothes 😉