Look Good Feel Good
I have always liked clothes to some degree or another, excusing my early teens when I believed that caring about clothes made you shallow and “girly” and I adopted a defiant, showy “I don’t care what I look like” attitude.
By the time I was an adult I’d realised it kind of does, actually, in certain situations for multiple reasons. Obviously, your friends and loved ones wouldn’t give two hoots but first impressions, for example, can be quite powerful. We can be here all day arguing how wrong it is that people make immediate conclusions based on what we wear when we first meet them but I’m afraid folks that is simply how humans were programmed and we ALL do it. Even the most liberal, open minded, non-judgey, kindest person will make immediate conclusions based on what the person before them looks like. Most of the time, we’re not even aware we're doing it. Sometimes, of course, we actively participate in doing it!
I see no good in the denial of this – as I did when I was a teen – but rather acknowledge that this is in fact human nature and simply work on how much we allow this to affect how we are towards people. For example, whilst it is human nature to cast assumptions based on appearance and it’s not necessarily wrong per se because that’s just how we are, to treat someone as inferior based on their appearance is – I’m sure I don’t need to tell anyone – very very wrong.
Anyway, in the last five/six years or so clothes have taken on more significance for me. Both my body and mental health changed quite a bit. In regards to my mental health, I noticed that I tend to feel quite significantly better if I feel good in what I’m wearing (Im sure this is no revelation to some). When I noticed this, I started paying more attention to what I wore. For me to feel good in what I’m wearing I need my clothes to be
- flattering in fit and cut
- in colours I love/ are flattering (the right colour for that day can make ALL the difference to me!)
- made from decent-ish material. I don’t feel nice in unpleasant materials, they make my skin crawl.
I’m not going to lie, a big part in my heightened interest in clothes and high street fashions came about from a desire to distract from the physical changes that had happened to my body too. If I dressed to flatter my new-ish shape the best I can, people won’t notice it so much. If I could perfect my make-up... (I haven’t. At least not by today's standards. Everyone’s a professional MUA since YouTube and The Kardashians! Still, I’m pretty ok at doing what's good for me and that’s the main thing) perhaps people will see past the glasses I was now required to wear*. Perhaps if I really got everything down I might be able to hide the very subtle changes to my face which I was –and still am – convinced of. The dullness to my skin, the lack of spark in my eyes, the stiffness of my smile…Thanks for that, Depression!
So yes, I confess, it derived from a bit of an unhealthy place too. Still, there are worse “unhealthy” coping mechanisms to be had and this is relatively harmless except, perhaps, to my bank account.
I know as much as anyone with depression how very hard it can be to summon the motivation to be bothered with appearance.
- When you’re exhausted, emotionally drained, your body aches and your limbs feel heavy.
- When you can’t summon the will to splash your face with water or pick up that thing you dropped.
- When you can’t get out of bed.
- When you feel there’s no point.
Those low days. I get them too. Most weekdays I don’t bother with make-up and just slip on my big ass Jackie-O’s. It raises a few eyebrows in the winter especially but I currently prefer that to being out and about with bare face. Ideally of course I’d like to be comfortable enough with my face to go about my business without the need for make-up or sunglasses but all in good time… I’ll get there one day!
So, thinking about clothes and style and appearance is for the more Up days. When you feel able to. And whenever that is is great. Whatever works for you
I'm not trying to be fashion forward or uber up to date. I'm not particularly knowledgeable on the upcoming trends. I'm not super trendy. I'm not a stylist, buyer, fashion journalist or even one of those Instamums who almost magically whip together seemingly random pieces in to something mega cool and gorgeous.
No, alas, I am not any of those!
But I have developed a pretty good sense of what works for me over the years and – me being the fairly average 30+ year old Brit female that I am – I figure there must be more like me out there and what I’ve learnt might just help those others a little bit too.
I have a few small tips for the low days.
Oh and I have Oh-pinions! Look out for posts about my gripes with High Street fashion. (Swimwear anyone? I can’t be the only one surely…)
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