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How a Wardrobe Overhaul can Promote Self-Confidence

Like many other 20-somethings in the midst of the pandemic, I've spent many hours engrossed in Animal Crossing: New Horizons throughout the past year. It offered an escape from a troubled world, and I enjoyed the creative freedom of designing an island and a character to my taste.

Interestingly, as I explored the clothing element of the game, I realised that I dressed my character quite differently to the way I dressed in real life. Something as simple as a video game feature led to a kind of paradigm shift in the way I think about myself and my fashion choices.

Challenging internal biases

Many tomboys reject stereotypically 'feminine' things just for the sake of them being feminine: makeup, dresses, ‘girly’ shoes, even the colour pink. Some avoid buying new clothes because they don't want to be associated with the stereotype of a woman who shops too much.

Is it a personality trait to prefer the simplicity and genderless nature of jeans and T shirts? There's nothing inherently wrong with avoiding traditionally 'feminine' options, but it could be owed to subconsciously internalised misogyny, which is a type of bias against femininity that is influenced by society's attitude. It could also be linked to a desire to not be like the 'other girls' at school, who can sometimes be unkind to those who don't fit in. These feelings are difficult to face but important to start conversations about.

Entering young adulthood can cultivate a new perspective as our worldview shifts to a more mature one. For me this involved taking notice of the wonderful female role models around me, and I found it freeing to embrace a more feminine wardrobe.

Finding your style

If you’re looking to feel more confident or at ease with your wardrobe, there are plenty of valuable resources for navigating a change to your personal style. A quick Google search on the topic draws millions of results, and image sharing services like Pinterest and Instagram provide a plethora of images for creating your own unique mood board. This process can be a lot of fun, and with an open mind you might be surprised what captures your interest that you would've overlooked in the past.

When buying new clothes, this often goes hand in hand with making space in our wardrobes by removing items that no longer serve us. If possible, selling or donating anything you don’t feel comfortable or ‘you’ in can also help with funds for new purchases.

Charity shops and second hand online resources like Depop and Vinted are perfect for a wardrobe revamp, as they can offer affordable clothes while preventing items from going to landfill unnecessarily. Keeping items that no longer fit in the hopes of fitting into them in the future is counter-productive, as it can make you feel less positive about the skin you’re in, which is what a wardrobe overhaul is all about. Dressing for yourself as an individual in clothes that fit and feel comfortable is sometimes overlooked as a form of self-care, but its impact can be powerful.

Minimalist wardrobes to streamline your style

Minimalism started out as an art movement from the '60s, but the term has different connotations in modern-day life, extending to fashion in the form of minimalist wardrobes. These can make getting ready easier and less stressful, avoiding the anxious feeling of having nothing to wear despite owning a wardrobe full of clothes. This feeling can sometimes stem from an inconsistent style or one you've grown out of; even items that you like can be incoherent with each other.

Minimalist wardrobes are often more mindfully curated, favouring a more careful consideration of the user’s lifestyle and personal preferences. Minimalism also encourages the rejection of fast fashion and inspires sustainable shopping, which has environmental benefits and helps people to avoid the trap of retail therapy, a habit that is promoted by social media even though constantly buying material goods is not necessarily the answer to increasing our happiness. Minimalism doesn’t have to be about owning as few items as possible or owning simple pieces with a ‘minimalist aesthetic’. It’s all about fitting it into your own mould and creating a wardrobe you love.

Mindful shopping and sustainability

The constantly shifting trends in the fashion industry can make us feel the need to buy more. This is the case even when we have a full wardrobe, and even when the newest 'trend' doesn't really fit with our lifestyles or personal tastes. When you have clothes that you love, that fit your personality and are comfortable for you; this is far more valuable and authentic than following a trend to look modern.

Of course, there is a balance to this just like everything in life. People shouldn't necessarily feel discouraged from buying trendy items that they love and will bring them happiness, especially if the clothes are not discarded when the next trend arrives. It's more valuable to encourage individuals to break free from the pressure of the fashion industry's standards, and bring more intention to their purchases.


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