I’ve been on a bit of a high recently. The purely ethical sort, of course. I allowed myself to indulge in some shopping and ended up finding some new clothes that (I thought) I suited quite well. The reality of whether they’re actually nice or not is besides my point – it’s the feeling it generated that I want to talk about. Wearing the new clothes got me wondering why it cheered me up so much, and I came up with a few ideas that I want to test out here.
I think a big benefit of finding your look is the sense of identity it brings with it. I feel like identity is an ever-expanding issue these days, and whilst it’s vital that people figure out who they are, doing so inevitably creates a sense of confusion, disorientation. It only gets worse when it seems as if everybody expects you to have a perfect idea of who you are and what you want to do. I know I spent a long time struggling with this, trying to get a handle on who I am. I’m not there yet – at least I hope there’s more to it than what I have – but finding an outfit I felt I belonged in gave me an anchor of sorts. I finally found something I could grab and call a part of “me”.
Beyond sewing the smallest threads of a personal brand, discovering your look is a statement of your independence. Even if you consult your friends’ opinions or buy something on their recommendation, just the act of seeking out something on your own initiative showcases your individuality. It’s infinitely better when it works out, too. You become your own person in your own way on your own time; clothes shopping almost takes on a mystical vibe when you consider it, as if finding your look is a “rite of passage” into the world. Suddenly buying clothes becomes far more consequential, yet much better for it.
The benefits of these things are significant. By forging your own identity and striking out on your own (to any extent) to do so, you can begin to really improve your confidence. You won’t become a socialite overnight, of course, however certain social situations will start to become less intimidating. Daily interactions with my flatmates are less awkward, I feel more comfortable just chatting about random stuff and letting my mind roam freely. I suppose my conversation is less forced now, I’m not considering every syllable quite as much. It may not all be solely down to a change in dress sense, but from my experiences I find it must have had some influence.
Clothes cannot solve your social problems. A nice new jacket won’t wipe out your anxiety. Indeed, if you do suffer from mental health issues that are impacting your confidence and social skills, you should direct your efforts towards professional help rather than the seasonal sales. For the little problems in your life, however, a small reset like a new wardrobe can inject a bit of positivity and constructive energy into your day, excellent for when you need a pick-me-up. Though I find a good coffee can work just as well, if you’re keen to save money.