Style: It’s just an expression. Am I right?
I recently read an article by Kristin Wong who talks about the psychology behind clothing. She had stumbled upon Lauren Messiah and embarked on her own experiment to see how style affects productivity. In the article, Wong says
This got me thinking…
It’s that time of year again where some pack their summer clothes away and bring out the winter woollies, ready for the chilly days ahead. Since we’re into December now I’m guessing if that’s something you do, you’ve done it already? Do you have a fixed style? An outfit you wear daily (minus a few colour changes and a few different shapes)? It’s common some people have a simple, stylish wardrobe once they’ve identified their style. I, however, do not have one particular style.
I have never considered myself fashionable. I’ve always worn what I like best with the attitude of “you’ll like me for me”. Though I realise, to other people I have a “weird” and “odd” sense of style; I have little to no eyebrows, wear platform boots and avoid mainstream fashion. It’s constantly changing and evolving.
To some, this may seem attention seeking, edgy or bold. Quite frankly, I wear what I wear to express myself. I see myself as a blank canvas and believe I can dress how I want to reflect my personality and mood, which often depends on the day (or hour). My outfits have never been worn to make others like me, hate me or be intrigued by me. I wear the things I wear so I can be myself. Personally, I am not interested in any fast-fashion or seasonal trends. I don’t judge those who are though. Live and let live.
A large proportion of my wardrobe is pre-loved by others and always has been. I like my style to be creative and to my mind it’s a sin to buy something highly priced then go and cut it up!
Here are some of the styles I take inspiration from:
- 80s- Typical styles such as bright, bold, shoulder pads as well as skater
- 90s- Club kid, Riot Grrrl, Grunge, Skater (late 90s), 90s colour schemes
- Punk/Crust punk
- Cyber/ futuristic
- Boho/ hippy
I see it as a no-brainer that personal style can be referred to as the clothes we wear and I also believe it has a lot to do with other contributing factors such as the way we hold ourselves and the way we walk etc. For instance, someone could be wearing the most stylish outfit out there and the whole outfit could lose its impact due to how she or he holds themselves. Are they slouched? Is their body language closed which might indicate they’re shy, intimidated or unsociable? The way we talk also contributes to our style just like body language. As Wong claimed, it probably has everything and nothing to do with clothing.
“What you wear does not define you, but clothing can make you feel more like yourself.”- Kristin Wong
Even though I use clothing to express myself paradoxically, I also view clothing as a cloak. That is I sometimes rely on clothes to hide my emotions in a similar way to when people wear makeup to hide their imperfections. Some days I wear a bold, intimidating outfit, yet on the inside, I’m melting with anxiety. Sometimes it’s the way I hold myself, the way I walk and the clothes I wear that gets me through the day (and a pair of dark sunglasses).
It’s important to remember that clothing does not define a person. For instance, because I wear something outrageous it doesn’t mean I’m a crazy, loud person all the time. Actually, I can be quite the opposite.
“Different clothes make you feel differently, work differently, communicate differently.”- Kristin Wong
Kristin comes back to the point that clothing can distract us and by having a personal style that we are happy with, it can help with our confidence and productivity. If I don’t feel as though my outfit is working one day, I spend a lot of time stuck in my head worrying if other people are noticing my discomfort and whether I should have raced back to the house to get changed. Would an excuse for a lack of confidence be justifiable if I was late? Probably not. When my outfit rocks it uplifts my mood and I feel positive for the day ahead. If I am happy with my look, it translates into action; I’m motivated, I feel confident, I can complete lots of tasks.
To some degree, clothing can help you feel like yourself. Though I disagree that dressing ‘better’ reduces anxiety. On days where I get all glammed up I know I look good and I feel good, yes. Yet, (another paradox) personally the more I know I look good, the more anxiety I might have. This is where the cloak theory comes in. I feel that from a distance I can look confident and powerful but nine times out of ten I’m usually worried that my outfit will attract the wrong sort of attention from others. I don’t invite attention though, I dress for me, not for anybody else. Due to my style though, its natural people will look. But I don’t like this much, as it can often attract inappropriate comments from a rude passer-by. That’s what makes me anxious. The idea that someone might say something unkind.
Nevertheless, as my views and thoughts have changed over the years, one thing I still believe in is just doing you no matter what anyone might say. Wear what you want because in the long run, nobody is going to go home and think about or speak about your makeup, eyebrows or a belt you wore three weeks ago! Let’s hope not anyway! Try to remember if you can… it doesn’t matter. If people look and stare, comment or shout, it doesn’t matter. It simply means they’ve noticed something that’s different. The difference can scare people. So to conclude, in my opinion, clothing gives an insight into what our personality might be. True. But, be who you are and don’t let anyone try to change it.