The Power of Clothes

For the most part lockdown has been a great time to be introspective and I am so fortunate to be comfortable during this time. However, if there is one thing that I truly miss, it is dressing up. Perhaps this may come off as vain and pathetic, but I think people tend to underestimate the power and value of clothes. Everyone engages in the daily activity of choosing what to wear as a basic form of self-expression. Herewith below, I will discuss why I originally fell in love with fashion. In addition to this I will also explain how my relationship with clothes has shifted during the lockdown period. 

Originally what intrigued me about fashion was that it served as an extension of my voice. I am a huge introvert with slight speech issues, but I found that by being bold and authentic through how I presented myself to the world, enabled me to express myself boldly - without having to say anything. Moreover, clothes gave me a sense of control and allowed me to dictate the way I wanted to present myself to the world. I am sure we have all heard of the saying “fake it till you make it,” and I definitely do think that clothes have the ability to lift your mood and boost your self-confidence.

However, as Stasia Savasuk explains so well in her TEDx Talk, there needs to be some “inside-out congruency." Reaching this level of congruence begins by critically identifying a certain essence or confidence that is unique to you. Notably, this is where you come to terms with who you are, what makes you feel like yourself, and even more so how to add value to your world. Thereafter you will decide on how your clothing choices will reflect and represent your inner-self. Nonetheless, this is not to say that one’s identify is stagnant. Each day we discover new things about ourselves, therefore our style will change as well. What we wear, or what we feel pressured to wear, should not dictate who we need to be as a person. When I was younger the pressure of keeping up with trends, led me to becoming confused about my identity. For this reason, I wasted so much money, simply because I was not investing in items that suited me and allowed me to feel good about myself.

However, after a while I realized that it is not the clothes that gives you a sense of identity, but rather the congruency between who you are as a person, and how you decide to present yourself. Only you can determine what makes you feel good, confident and more like yourself.

Furthermore my relationship with clothes has been a little weird during the lockdown period, owing to the fact that I cannot go out and present myself to the world. Since we are not going to campus or attending special events, it feels almost awkward or wrong to invest that extra ten minutes in the morning in order to decide what I am going to wear for the day. One may even ask, “what is the point?” For many years, we have become accustomed to saving certain clothes for a special occasion or for that day where we feel special enough to finally wear that new dress that has been hanging, for ages, in our cupboard.

However, we are in a time where we do not know when we will be able to go out again. Before it felt as if we always had to match the value of a particular item, but now I have realized that clothes only have value when we actually wear them. Maybe I’m thinking too deeply about it, but I do think we’ve wasted so much time in the past trying to decide whether a day is special enough to finally wear a particular outfit, or if we feel worthy enough to do so. I am not saying you should wear a ballgown to the next event, but do not feel like you need to earn a valid reason to wear your best clothes. You add value to the clothes by wearing them – a basic yet important function. 

Lastly, fashion and style have always been a creative outlet. Having a sense of style is a key aspect when it comes to fashion; it is a tool that allows for self-expression. Similarly, it gives us an opportunity to correct the wrong assumptions that people have made or may have about our character and personality. Since we are not going out and interacting with strangers on a daily basis, this component of presentation to the world has been removed, but not the creative aspect thereof. 

So, be bold and be brave – now is the time to explore a new style without judgement: search the depths of your cupboard and try on something old, something that you loved so much but thought is currently outdated, mix and match old and new trends, and find what works for you! As for me, I am lucky enough to have access to a sewing machine and have invested some of my time and effort in designing and sewing new garments that I love and that fit me well. Therefore, if you would like to sew, YouTube is an incredible source to learn the art of sewing and making simple alterations to your clothes. I urge you to not be discouraged during lockdown: challenge your inner creativity, you’ll be surprised by how much you can achieve with a simple needle and thread.