Many of us dress according to how we feel and it’s a way for us being in control of the state of mind that we seek as well as shaping how we want others to perceive us.
Although the fashion industry has a lot of issues such as lack of diversity, environmental degradation, fatphobia, and enough for many other articles, people understate fashion as a source of happiness. Fashion and mental health are linked and it brings me an extensive amount of happiness when I dress up and even when I dress down. I believe it’s a great coping mechanism for my mental well-being.
How? Firstly, I outfit prep. For everyday outfits I prep the night before, I check the weather forecast and organise my outfit, everything from top, trousers, shoes, bag, and even underwear. If I have plans such as night out with friends, I like to outfit prep at least 1 week in advance.
This might seem dramatic to some people, but I like to plan when I need to wash my hair, apply fake tan, do my nails as well as seeing what outfit options I have depending on how I am feeling on the day. Having a system that is so organised really helps me out in the long run. This helps me to feel in control as well as saving a lot of time on the day and stops me from getting stressed about what to wear for the day.
Second, I wear a lot of black clothing which is often associated with sadness and negativity. But black gives me a certain aura of confidence as I believe it makes me look thinner. I do often add printed tops to my outfit if I want to jazz up my look. This is often done with florals and animal prints but with dark backgrounds. But my go to print is polka dot as they make a stylish statement without being too standout and polka dot clothing can be worn across both casual and formal occasions.
Third, I don’t often follow the latest trends as they are forever changing and it’s hard to keep up, so I buy things because I love them. The only thing I’m currently ‘on-trend’ on are hair scrunchies, I currently have 42 different scrunchies. Scrunchies are known as a throw on solution but it serves a dual function in my life giving me so much joy: they’re a simple way to elevate my outfit and make it look dressier but most importantly keep my hair out of place.
Four, I buy most of my clothes online so that I can try on clothes in the comfort of my bedroom without the dressing room lighting and angled mirrors. I often buy clothes when there is a sale, I get a buzz when I manage to find something in the sale for a fraction of the retail price. I’ve pretty much bought my next winter wardrobe for just under £80. This includes a new coat, jumpers, winter boots and of course some fluffy hair scrunchies, I just love a bargain!
My wardrobe and fashion are one of my main coping mechanisms when it comes to my mental wellbeing. I like to dress to my mood and most of the time that is happy and upbeat and wearing clothes that I am comfortable in can positively affect my mental state. Also the clothes I wear signify how I want to be treated by the society which gives me acceptance for who I am and a peace of mind.
Is fashion the only thing that helps me with my mental wellbeing? No, not at all. I seek happiness when I’m taking photos for my media Instagram account @Bethsmedia_ and when I cook for the family as I get a buzz when I’ve successfully cooked a tasty meal that they can’t get enough off.
I am very privileged to have a tight network of supportive friends and family that help lift me up on the gloomy days, but putting effort and care into myself and my outfit can bring me a lot of happiness on the darkest days.
Fashion is something that works for me and many other people’s mental health, but it’s not everyone’s coping mechanism.
If you’re concerned about your well-being speak to your family and friends, doctor, or local mental health service to find a healthy coping mechanism for yours.