There is a lot of psychology found in fashion and style, and it's not unique to our time. What we wear has told a story for centuries - from social status to gender, to wealth and political views.
Our thoughts, opinions, and judgments around what we wear are largely based on how we grew up and mixed with our own individual personalities. I have been paying attention to this for a while now and think it's important to address because it affects how we approach ourselves every day, including what we wear. I have termed my exploration as 'The Mindset of Style'. In my experience, both personally and professionally, I see how we each bring our own bag filled with dialogue that runs through our minds when it comes to what we wear (or don't wear) every day.
Let's start with some basic definitions. While some of these have been pulled into a different context, I believe it expresses the definition I see as it comes to what we wear.
Fashion - the prevailing style (as in dress) during a particular time [merriam-webster]
Style - a distinctive manner of expression [merriam-webster]
Here are some things I have heard people say about fashion and style [and some I have said myself]:
I don’t have style/I'm not stylish
Fashion is frivolous
It’s a waste of time caring about what I wear
I’m not the right size to be stylish
I have better things to think about
This started to make me wonder, "where does this come from?" As I paid attention to the comments that run through my head and started to trace them back, I realized they come from a variety of places:
Words people have said to us about what we are wearing
Things we saw in the media that seemed like the norm, what we needed to do to be accepted or even popular
What was or was not taught to us (if we don’t know, we can’t be expected to know)
Off-handed comment from someone that struck something deep inside us
The environment we grew up in - from where we lived, religious beliefs, financial status, school we went to, friends we spent time with, media exposure, etc.
All of this affects how we approach what we wear. It may cause us to diminish who we really are in order to feel like we fit in. On the other hand, it may cause us to reject what we learned and develop our style as a rebellion against where we came from or what was expected of us. It could also cause us to spend and buy in excess when we start to make money, and not on items that actually make us feel confident. Ultimately it can prevent us from showing up in our lives as our true, authentic selves.
When we take the time to be intentional about what we wear and understand why, it can change our lives. Clothing is a form of communication, whether to those around us or to ourselves. I know that I approach my day in a different way when I am wearing something that feels like me. When you feel authentic in your clothes it comes across in your connection to those around you because you are confident in what you are wearing and therefore are fully present in what you are doing.
The Mindset of Style tackles our internal dialogue about style and fashion. Start with giving yourself permission to let go of what you think others think you should wear. Then intentionally pay attention to what you are wearing when you feel your most authentic self and build from there.
As I continue to bring this into my practice as a style coach, I want to hear from you. What are some of the comments that you tell yourself about fashion and style?
"Real style is never right or wrong. It's a matter of being yourself on purpose." ~ G. Bruce Boyer
I am here to serve and support you in your style journey. Keep your eye out for more options of working together coming your way!