Grandad was onto something…
There’s no end to expressions and old adages about the value of dressing desirably or taking care of yourself. The line “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have" line is one example of a bit of wisdom you may have heard from a grandfather, and you most likely put it to the back of your mind, right? Don’t worry, many of us do.
But have we overlooked a major piece of wisdom in discarding such things? The attitude that such expressions try to inspire, is one of seeing our fashion choices as something that is an expression of self towards others, but also of an expression of self, and an affirmation of our own hopes and aspirations.
Despite previous generations being typically viewed by us as less capable of self-care and of providing mental well-being support to themselves or others, such nuggets of wisdom may have been a useful gift that we can utilise in a world where we increasingly desire to see our fashion choices reflect our political and spiritual ideologies. And more importantly, as tools to help us love ourselves a little bit more.
Old vibes, fresh eyes
So how do we approach looking at our fashion choices in a way that enables us to have a more positive relationship with ourselves?
Well to answer that question, we must first consider a few others; who do we want to be? And what do we want our choices to reflect about us? When asking ourselves these questions, focus on how you want to be viewed by yourself, rather than how you seek to be seen by others.
Accepting responsibility for your self-image and concept, and seeing yourself as the most important person to impress is the first step to reducing any social anxieties around personal image, and can be a powerful asset in the quest to having a little bit more mental stability.
Choose your adventure
Once you’ve begun to answer these questions, try and construct a picture of how you aspire to be in your head. It doesn't have to be specific, but what’s most important is that you identify the type of principles that this person has. Once you’ve done this, try and keep that version of you in your head, as you navigate your future fashion choices, as you’ll be allowing yourself to build up to that person. What is also essential to recognise, is that this concept can change, as you do throughout your life. What’s most important though, is that you have the aspiration of your ideal self.
As for your choices moving forward, consult on what products would best represent what you stand for. These days there truly is a product for each and every cause, if sustainability is an important value to your ideal self, then recycled, second hand or reusable products sound like a good idea! If your ideal self is set on helping others, then support products that are associated with charitable initiatives, such as TOMS, or Roma boots for example.
If uniqueness or knowledgeability is an important part of your ideal self’s fashion identity, then electing to support bespoke garments through sites like Etsy, or smaller local tailors and similar establishments would help in realising the version of you that you want.
The idea here is one of starting small, and creating a version of yourself that you’re proud of. Alleviating constant pressures from others by seeing yourself as the most important customer, and reminding yourself that you’re not a finished product, but a work in progress. After all, no one is truly a finished product - that would be boring!
Love takes practice
What we‘re doing is setting and recognising the goals that we have. Goals can be big or small, but our dreams and aspirations are a healthy way to motivate ourselves through a life that we all know can be difficult. After all, what more are we than what we do, have done, and aim to do?
How we approach our decision making in fashion can be a way forward for us to take care of our mental health, as our image and hard-earned money are incomparable tools for us to achieve goals, whether personal or collective. The relationship between fashion and ourselves is not one to be taken lightly, because feeling good about who we are, is the best foundation for going out into the world to do good things, achieve what we want to achieve for ourselves, but also for our communities.
The most important thing to take from all of this, however, is that life is very much about progress, and no one else can truly ever measure your progress but yourself. If we all were to take grandad’s advice perhaps the world would be a better place, but at the very least, we‘d all love ourselves a little more.