Fashion as Self-Care?
by Valentina Gyarfas
How do you deal with everyday stress? How do you take feedback in stride at work, or cope with a challenging assignment for school, or enter an uncomfortable conversation with a friend?Some people meditate, some walk their dogs, others grab coffee with their friends, crack open a book or visit their therapist. As we have heard over and over again, self-care is important when we are trying to lead balanced lives. Some people bake, some strap on their running shoes, visit their favorite online shopping website or catch up with a friend over the phone. Some people do a mix of these things here and there. However, there are some people who whip out that skirt that makes them feel invincible. Today, we focus on the them: those who use fashion as self-care.
Like eating well or leading an active lifestyle, dressing up can improve your day-to-day. It is another way to show your body that you appreciate it and that you deserve to look nice. Granted, some days are meant to be spent in your pajamas while watching Netflix and eating takeout, but other times opting for your nice pair of shoes will really add that pep to your step!
Psychologists have studied how you can actually “fake it ‘till you make it”. In many situations, tricking your body into doing something will actually lead you to feel the emotion. For example, instead of smiling because you feel happy, you are able to feel happy, because you’ve been faking a smile. To examine this theory, scientists created a study where half the participants were forced to smile while watching a cartoon and the other half were just asked to watch the cartoon. The group that had to fake the smiles genuinely found the cartoon more enjoyable when asked about it at the end. This is great news! It means that you can color the experience of your day differently if you chose to. In other words, instead of wearing nice outfits because you feel great, you can feel great because you brought out a great outfit. When we wear a nice piece of clothes there is a subtle shift inside us. You may carry yourself a bit differently and, dare I say, more confidently than you would while wearing an oh-so-comfortable pair of yoga pants and oversized t-shirt. If clothes and fashion speaks to you, like they do to us, then they can become a part of your self-care rituals and ensure that every day is made a bit better by owning your look.
We invite you to show yourself some extra love this week by putting extra thought into your wardrobe and then checking in on your emotions. Notice how your outfits make you feel and how they affect your sense of self-worth. You might have just found a new way to lift your spirits even more every day.