When I was a little girl my mother used to always make me change my clothes when I came home from school. I’m sure that this had more practical ramifications, like making our school clothes last longer, but I also believe that this also set the foundation for a psychological connection when it comes to making my clothing choices.
My therapist asked me what it is about fashion that has helped me find an outlet for my anxiety. I never really thought about it that way before. So I took a moment to think before I answered that it is because with whatever clothing I choose to put on, I am telling my mind to think and my body to feel a certain way.
- A blazer, a skirt, and pumps = confident business woman.
- A form fitting dress and stilettos = sexy and desirable.
- Skinny jeans, boots, and a fun printed flowy top = sassy and trendy.
- Lounge Pants, oversized jersey top, and fluffy socks = time to chill out
When Mom used to make me change my clothes, it helped my mind transition from school and responsibilities to playtime and recreation. I still do the same thing today. The first thing I do when I arrive home from work is change into pajama pants and a t-shirt. It tells me I need to transition out of boss lady mode into loving wife and mom mode. It helps to remind me to keep work and home life separate. Which is something I always have a hard time with.
You can tell a lot from a person’s closet. From the overall color palette, fabric selections, the organization, etc… I really believe you can get a glimpse into their emotional state and perception of themselves. My color palette is rather dark. You will see lots of black, navy, burgundy, and grays. There are a few light/bright pieces but I seldom reach for them My personality comes off as serious, emotionally driven, sometimes moody… quite like my color selection. When I wear something bright, I almost feel as if I am wearing someone else’s clothes. I try, I swear I try! Because I am told I look great in bright colors…but they just don’t feel like “me.” My fabric choices are mostly knits, jersey, ponte, anything with stretch. I need to feel like I can move and breathe and be expressive, after all, my Mediterranean blood dictates that I will talk with my hands once I get going. Anything in a common polyester blend makes me feel restricted and I don’t want to feel like I have to confine who I am. My closet, as small as it is, is fairly organized by type and sleeve. I like to pick items in the way that I can layer them. I suppose this is a reflection on how I methodically go about completing my to-do lists in life.
Often, when I am working with a woman on selecting items for an outfit, before I even begin to talk about fit, color, or style, I will ask her how she FEELS in it. If she does not feel beautiful, sexy, comfortable, or whatever feeling we need to evoke, there is no point in going any further. I’ve learned from experience that even if I think she looks amazing in something, if she hasn’t made an emotional connection to what she has on, than she clearly isn’t interested. I can almost always tell when she comes out of the dressing room whether or not she is “feeling” it. She will have a smile on her face, a glimmer in her eye, and hold herself a bit taller than when she went in. We all need our clothing choices to do that for us.
I don’t believe I am making some profound statement by saying we need to look at the emotional connection we make to our wardrobe. After all, we have been experiencing this for years. We preserve our wedding dresses in such a way that we are preserving all the emotions we felt on that day. We carefully save outfits from our babies or make keepsake quilts from their treasured onesies. We proudly store away our graduation cap and gowns as an archive to our achievements. And of course, don’t forget the age old dilemma of (drumroll please) “cleaning out our closets!!!” Why is that so hard? It is because we have a hard time separating our memories from the article of clothing itself.
It is as if our emotions are threads woven along with the very fibers that stitch the garment together.
I have shared three outfits in this post that I have an emotional connection to:
The first is a go-to professional look. You all know by now that I love my black blazer because it helps me feel empowered. I actually bought 2 because I was afraid to wear out the first one. I can easily switch out the style of skirt depending on how I want to feel. The pleated midi skirt offers coverage for when I need to feel a bit conservative, but also makes me feel a little bit jazzy.
The second look features a pair of burgundy trousers. I simply adore how they fit with just enough stretch through the hips and tummy but no gap at the waist line. Every time I put them on, they button perfectly and retain their shape as I continue to go about my day in hip hugging confidence. I am also wearing a dark floral print top. This reflects my inner moody creative personality that sometimes sneaks its way into my smiling professional demeanor.
My last look is a classic fall outfit. Skinny jeans with stretch, a burgundy corduroy military jacket, printed scarf, and my favorite boots. The jacket, I purchased 2 years ago and I now wear it every fall. As soon as the breeze gets cooler, this jacket, along with the fall nostalgia comes out. My boots. My boots have been with me for 7 years. I purchased them my first fall living in Florida for my first visit back to Rhode Island. They have traveled with me on every trip back north. I am now starting to see signs of wear and tear… but they are so apart of me and my New England memories I will wear them until they completely fall apart.
I am going to end this post by asking a few questions:
What does your closet say about you?
What articles of clothing are you attached to and why?
How does your clothing make YOU feel?