A question we ask ourselves or get asked is:
“Are you comfortable in your clothes”?
As women, we tend to dress for others versus ourselves based on how we were socialized and the Media. From an early age, society teaches us that another female is our competition and we should always dress like we are going to see our worst enemy.
Imagine attending an all-girls school where everyone is different and has different body types. There is often the “why can’t I look like that” or “If only I had that, I wouldn’t know how to act”. Based on all these thoughts and observations, It’s safe to say, Fashion does affect our mental health both positively and negatively. Today, we are veering away from the trending side of fashion to focus on something that is of utmost importance and look at this from sides.
How Does Fashion Affect Mental Health?
Getting dressed daily is tied to psychology, we choose the items of clothing based on how we feel and what we think will look good based on images fed to us in the Media. If you are in a happy mood, you will opt for bright colors and if you are sad you will want to reflect that with darker more mundane colors.
How Fashion Affects our Mental Health Positively
In 2012, researchers from Northwestern University in the US found that wearing specific articles of clothing had an effect on the wearer’s psychology and performance. The researchers concluded that clothes have a symbolic meaning. When we wear an article of clothing with a specific meaning, these clothes can influence our psychological state. It’s called “enclothed cognition.”
We all have that special outfit or article of clothing that makes us feel like we can conquer the world, we walk with extra confidence, smile more and we just want the world to see us! For me, it is a cream Balmain-inspired Blazer with gold buttons I usually pair with white pants that I always get a lot of compliments on. Whenever I wear this, I have the best days which again is tied to psychology:
“If you look good, you feel good”
A lab coat or Doctor jacket is seen as a symbol of wealth and intelligence and a woman seen in tight clothing might seem desirable to men but something completely different to women. These are perfect examples of how Fashion affects our mental health in positive ways and just like there are two sides to a coin, it’s also necessary to look at how it affects our mental health in a negative way
How Fashion Affects our Mental Health Negatively
This is the part where we partially blame Social Media and the Media in general just because we see so many things online that we are channeled to want immediately that we lose all sense of self! We see all the popular Social Media Influencers in the latest outfits and we immediately feel we need it knowing we don’t, or worst we start wishing we had that specific body type.
This type of thinking has left many people in debt, as they spend what they don’t have to try to look like their online influencers and the rates of cosmetic surgery enhancements are at an all-time high as people want the “perfect body”. I always say: “To each his or her own”, but we must draw the line somewhere.
“Clothes signify how we want to be treated, what social group we belong to or want to be accepted into”.
Dressing how you want to feel is a way to embody the state of mind you seek and to shape other people’s perceptions of you in a positive way.
But fashion doesn’t simply shape our perception and self-expression; fashion also influences how we are treated by other people which in turn can impact our mental well-being.
Let me know how fashion affects your mental health and how it truly affected your life.
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