Fashion. Is. Self-care. Scream it from the rooftops, whisper it in your dog’s ear, write it in a journal. Do whatever you need to do to internalize the idea that the clothing you put on your body is just as important as your other health and wellness self-care practices. Fashion self-care has become one of the most important movements stemming from COVID-19, and we are all about it. It’s the therapy we all need and deserve.
Just by being mindful about the clothes you wear – even when working from home – you can improve your confidence, boost your self-esteem, enhance joy, and minimize anxieties and stresses. What is fashion self-care and how can you start showing yourself some love through your clothing?
“You decide what you are, what you want to express, by the way you dress.” – Gianni Versace
How is fashion self-care?
How can fashion be considered self-care? We’ve previously discussed how clothing impacts your psychology. Looking good makes you feel good, and the colors and styles you put on can actually shape how you feel while wearing it.
When you dress down in sweats or PJs, you’re subconsciously telling your brain that today’s not worth dressing up for. You’re undervaluing your day, so you’re less likely to be productive. In reverse, if you decide to dress up, your brain says that today is a great day to get stuff done, to be a powerhouse, to feel confident. You’re telling yourself that you deserve fashion.
You’ve probably experienced this before. You put on your favorite dress and you instantly feel like dancing? Or you throw on a string of pearls and your mood elevates. For me, whenever I put on animal prints, I know I’m about to have a fierce day. That’s because we dress for the type of event we’re going to–but what if, instead, we dressed for the type of mental event we want to have?
“You can have anything you want in life if you dress for it.” – Edith Head
It’s not just our opinion, either. Fashion psychology is a real study and practice. Fashion psychologists pair science with fashion to create therapeutic tools through fashion. They look at how a client’s perception of herself impacts her wardrobe, and vice versa: how a few changes to their style can change the way the client views herself.
Fashion therapists create a safe space for people to work out their thoughts, feelings, and motivations. They then work together to create a personal style that can transform the individual’s mental outlook and emotional wellbeing. The goal is to put together looks that value who you are as a uniquely beautiful individual.
Note: Fashion therapy isn’t the same as retail therapy. Retail therapy is the act of buying clothing to make yourself feel better (and it may or may not actually make you feel better). Fashion therapy is the process of putting together an outfit that best reflects and enhances your mental and emotional state.
Check out this inspiring article by Alaina Leary on how she uses fashion for self-care.
How can you use your closet for fashion self-care?
Self-care is definitely not about spreading yourself thin. So you don’t need to go out and completely change up your style or wardrobe to focus on fashion self-care. We’ll give you some tips and tricks to leverage what you already have in your closet and to find designer steals by shopping consignment to take your look up one more notch.
You don’t need a fashion therapist to get started with fashion self-care—but you can do a Google search to see if there are any in your area, if you’re interested!
1. Plan outfits the night before.
Set out a gorgeous, bold outfit the night before. That way, you’re ready to take on the day without “wasting time” picking out an outfit that morning. You can throw on your best look and jump right into a productive day!
2. Match your makeup to your outfit.
Throw eyeshadow on that’s a similar shade to your shirt for a stunningly monochromatic look. This little detail can have a huge impact on your mental and physical composure. You don’t need a full face, just a little touch of color to make you feel a little more put-together. A red lip always turns it up a notch for me!
3. Try it out for yourself to feel the difference.
In the morning, wear only sweats or your “cozy” clothes. In the afternoon, throw on your best dress and some makeup. When are you more productive, energized, and confident? Which outfit makes you happier? Finding the outfits that you look and feel best in can help direct your wardrobe style.
4. Buy quality clothes.
High-value clothes look and feel better on. They’re more flattering, they have healthier materials (for you and the environment), and they will instantly dress up your look. Even a white tee feels different when it’s made from quality materials with a great cut, compared to a fast fashion T-shirt. Quality clothes will make you feel like a fashion self-care influencer!
5. Buy quality clothes… without breaking the bank.
We all know that killing our budgets isn’t going to make us feel good. Thankfully, there are a lot of ways to get designer clothing that’s actually affordable. “Whoever said that money can’t buy happiness simply didn’t know where to go shopping.” (Bo Derek) Consignment shops sell pre-loved designer clothing at a fraction of the price, while retaining the quality and style that we look for in luxury pieces. There’s a reason preloved fashion is the hottest craze, and getting even hotter since COVID-19: you can buy the most stunning pieces while staying within your 2021 budget!
6. Choose sustainable options.
You’re a conscientious consumer, so buying fast fashion (knowing that it damages the environment in a hundred ways) probably isn’t making you feel any better. Opt for secondhand clothing that gives renewed life to pieces and when possible, choose eco-friendly clothing materials that do a lot less damage to the environment. Fewer chemicals on your clothing means it’s better for your physical health, and doing less harm to the environment will be good for your mental health too.
7. Organize your closet so that your favorite clothing sits toward the front.
Better yet, get rid of anything that doesn’t fall in the category of “favorite clothing.” You want to feel joy when you look at every piece in your wardrobe. We have an article specifically for your quarantine closet cleanout to make some money and clear our your mental space; it’s a great way to get started with fashion therapy!
8. Don’t forget the shoes.
As Bette Midler said, “I firmly believe that with the right footwear, one can rule the world.” Or to quote Christian Dior, “The real proof of an elegant woman is what’s on her feet.” If you’re all about jeans and a white tee, just throwing on the right pair of heels can instantly elevate your casual look to a whole new level. Heels lift you—physically and emotionally! Seriously, the right pair of shoes can completely change the look and feel of your outfit–and your headspace.
9. Stop saying you’re not “into” fashion.
If you put clothes on, you’re into fashion! “Style is something each of us already has, all we need to do is find it.” (Diane von Furstenberg) Fashion isn’t about trends or what’s “hot,” it’s about wearing clothes that you feel proud to be in. Get started figuring out what you love most with this personal style quiz.
10. Try out different outfits and styles.
You know what’s great about all the coronavirus situation? There’s more time at home to try new looks and styles without pressure. You can show off on Zoom to your girlfriends or at a work meeting without committing to an entire day in the outfit. If you feel great, you’ve got a new look! If not, there’s always tomorrow to try again. You have to be bold and daring to figure out what you look and feel best in. Take note of what you like most—it says something about your unique personality!
Our biggest fashion self-care tip? Dress up! If your brain thinks it’s important enough to dress up, you’ll be more focused, have higher confidence, and you’ll feel absolutely unstoppable! Even if you’re working from home, feeling chic translates into a positive emotional response as well! Start shopping for your dressed-up looks without breaking your budget with Current Boutique’s pre-loved gems!
Are YOU into fashion self-care? How are you taking care of yourself this 2021?