DOES FASHION MAKE US HAPPY OR SAD?
Some mornings getting motivated each day to dress for work can be a challenge, especially today. I am sick with a terrible chest infection, my head is pounding and would like to curl up in a bed with the covers over me. But my current state coincides with school holidays, which means there is no time for sickness, I have two very energetic boys to entertain whist juggling work.
I did contemplate heading to a work meeting in my ugg boots, track pants (not my cool ones, but the 'home only' ones), top knot and husbands hoodie - thinking I could make this my fashion take on comfort dressing. Then I realised my comfort clothes means my head is also in the comfort zone and not in work zone. I changed into leather pants, a Yeezy hoodie (you know Kim Kardashians husbands brand of very overpriced sweats) and Gucci trainers. While remaining semi comfortable it automatically lifted my spirits and got me into the zone of work and looking more the part of someone who can talk fashion with a client.
As I was driving to the meeting, I couldn't help but feel better. I asked myself “was my sickness in my head?”, “was having fresh air the antidote to my days of depression over feeling so sick?”, “or was the fact I got up, dressed and got out the door the solution?” (which I have spoken about in the past....read here if you missed it.) Is there something in the notion that fashion could make you feel healthy?
Well to be honest, fashion lately has not been making me feel healthy at all. In fact sometimes, even though I work in this industry I am a little fazed at what it has all become. Instead of wearing clothes to keep warm while showing your personality along the way, it has become actually a little depressing. I do preface this though with the fact that maybe I am getting older and grumpier, but never in my life have I been as confused by fashion as I am right now.
The main thing that saddens me is it feels like it isn't about the clothes anymore, but more about 'showing off' the clothes. I’m all for everyone being able to buy designer labels, but I don't agree with buying them for the 'photo opportunity' over the need or love of the item. It has actually been of late a turn off for me wearing certain brands (which I genuinely love and have loved for years) or pieces of clothing mainly due to the saturation of people only wearing them for perception. It is difficult for me to write this, as part of the success of my career was mainly about documenting my love of fashion and what I was buying and wearing. I always however was aware not to make my journey brash or bratty, been true about my personal style; it was always about the clothes...and not about me. If I couldn't afford it, I didn’t have it. And if I really had to have it I saved up for it, or asked mum to loan me the money.
So with some of this in mind I have created a few rules when it comes to buying something. I share this rulebook with my clients, as sometimes it is difficult to navigate through masses of "you need this" or "this person is wearing it so I need it too". You want clothes to make you feel good and not question yourself. Wearing clothes needs to be about confidence rather than cloning.
1. WHO INSPIRES YOU? It can be really good to look at other people for style inspiration, especially if you don't follow what the latest trends are or religiously read fashion magazines. Most people like to see how something looks on someone else before they can commit to wearing it. It could be a friend, a model, a style icon, celebrity or someone from social media. However nowadays you need to filter who is a positive and authentic influence versus who is a fabricated inspiration. With social media, you may notice sponsored images or brands seeding products, which sometimes can appear calculated and inorganic. Like it or hate it, it's the reality, but be just aware your favourite style inspirations may be only wearing products they aren't actually wearing because of their true style. Although there is nothing wrong with this, as business is business (and it is my business too), just be wise to what they are promoting, and buy into the inspiration only if you genuinely love it too. Also, if you think your style inspirations are editing their images to change their appearence, for your own sake and mental health, unfollow! It is not real - and if they have to edit every photo of themselves, then maybe they shouldn't be inspirational to you. You cannot Photoshop real life.
2. ALWAYS LOOK - You need to shop frequently rather than waiting to go shopping until you have to. I know this goes against everything I always say, but if you're looking for something specific, chances are; you're not going to find it. And in turn, you get stressed and end up buying things you don't need. It's honestly just the way the universe works! The key is to shop more often and not in bulk. Build your wardrobe and style, rather than buying into fades or brand trends because everyone else is. Eventually, you'll find what you've created is a very balanced wardrobe over time. Slow and steady wins the race
3. QUESTION THE LOVE - Buy what you love, not what you think you need. And just because everyone is wearing it, doesn't mean it’s right for you. If you are grappling with the “should-I-or-shouldn't-I “, just ask yourself one question: “Do I love this?” Feeling good wearing clothes also comes from within. And wearing pieces you genuinely love will automatically make you happy. There is something very satisfying about wearing a new jacket you have lusted over for weeks. The power over your own dressing style is very rewarding.
4. VISUALISATION - When deciding to make a purchase - picture it in your wardrobe. Think of all the ways it could be worn, and if you can see yourself wearing it. Make conscious decisions about your purchases, rather than emotion ones. And try to buy things that only you will notice you wear multiple times. Owning lots of printed clothes means they are more noticeable and you will feel deflated thinking you are always wearing the same thing. Think about ways to push the boundaries of dressing and let your style evolve. Don't hold yourself back by choosing the same things over and over again.
5. HAPPY SHOPPING - When you go shopping, be in the right frame of mind. Being in the 'comfort slob zone' is not the right mode for shopping, as you will make bad decisions. That's when you get yourself into "nothing looks good on me" territory, which we all know is never fun. There is no need to over dress, but your daily beauty routine and an easy-on, easy-off outfit will make the process a much more positive experience.
As much as I love fashion, I am very aware that most people don't. And I have so many clients that prior to meeting me found fashion very overwhelming, unfulfilling and an expensive process. I think social media used to make it exciting, and was very inspirational especially around finding emerging brands and seeing how 'real' people style their outfits. However as it becomes more and more commercialised we just need to be aware of our own fashion health.
Don't forget to make a comment below....I love reading your thoughts.
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