Using Style to Inspire Self-Love

E-girls, soft girls, vintage, cottagecore, you name it. If you can find a picture you like on Pinterest, there’s probably a whole aesthetic behind it that involves everything from music to the clothes that go along with it. Seeing the endless possibilities of style options in addition to the extra free time the pandemic has given us, many of us have the urge to try something new. But, with experimentation comes anxiety. That dreadful feeling of everyone looking at you because you’re wearing something new, or the terrifying moment when someone asks why you’re so dressed up can be incredibly stressful; and to be honest, it might never go away completely. But with some time and the right outfit, you can become more comfortable in your own skin. All of this brings us to one question: where do we start? Now I might not be a fashion guru, but I do have some tips on gaining the confidence you need to not only start dressing the way you really want, but to be happy and comfortable while doing it!

Before we go any further, the most important thing to remember is that you are beautiful. Body confidence can be difficult in a society that continually presents beauty as what we see in movies. Despite this, I have seen our generation push for inclusivity and emphasize the beauty we all hold. After all, beauty lies in the eye of the beholder. Where past generations expressed that everyone was beautiful despite our differences, our generation will show that we are beautiful because of our differences. Confidence is a journey, one that is lifelong for most, meaning that it requires growth; experimenting with fashion is just one step on your personal journey towards confidence.

The first step in changing up your look is to assess what you already have. Go through your closet and see what you own. Find the pieces that you wear most often, the ones you find comfort in, and the ones that inspire you. Trying out a new style of clothing can be nerve racking, but by picking out items you already own and love will allow you to easily pair them with more experimental ones. This way, you will have something you are used to wearing to pair with something a little newer, in turn easing the feelings of anxiety that can come with exploring your style by giving you a sense of security. If you want to go a step further, have an entire comfort outfit ready for those days where it feels like you have nothing to wear: head to toe items that make you feel as gorgeous on the outside as you are on the inside. That way, when you feel defeated after attempting to figure out the “perfect” ensemble, you’ll have a default that will give you the confidence you need to cheer up.

Another important thing to remember is that you must set the right intentions for why you are choosing to dress differently. If you are doing it solely for the purpose of impressing others, it can be easily consumed by the idea that everyone is looking at you when in reality they are not. Think about it, if you are feeling self conscious about a new outfit, isn’t it likely that at least one other person around you is having similar concerns? And even if they are not, it is likely that they have other thoughts occupying their mind that distract them from focusing on your wardrobe. By re-centering your focus on dressing for yourself, not only do you tend to think less about the opinion of others, but you get more gratification. The feeling of finally being able to wear something you were previously afraid of and knowing you gained the confidence needed to do so is so amazing.

My last tip to achieve your fashion goals comfortably is to use what you wear as a form expression. What I mean by this is that: use the clothing on your body to express how you feel. Fashion is an art and therefore a form of expression, so use it as such. When you are feeling happy, wear bright colors and maybe something that draws a little attention, or when you’re feeling a little more anxious, go back to those comfort outfits we discussed earlier. Most importantly, when you are feeling upset, don’t pressure yourself into clothes that don’t suit your mood. Everyone is different; if you feel that dressing up will improve your move, then do so, but if you feel more comfortable dressing down, opt for that choice. Just remember that at the end of the day you are in control of what you wear and how you do so.

Finding confidence in your style is just one avenue in the roadway system towards self love and trust. This process isn’t always easy, but I hope that some of these pointers will come in handy when exploring confidence through style within your own life. At the end of the day, we are all beautiful in our own ways and we should work towards promoting that ideology. Promoting this ideology won't help only yourself but also the people around you because we're all on our personal journeys of self-love and confidence. That includes taking the steps to make yourself, and others, feel gorgeous; so I challenge you to compliment both yourself and someone else this week. Trust me, it’ll go a long way.

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