There is no doubting fashion’s effect on your confidence. Everyone’s style will change over time, and so will everyone’s satisfaction with what they wear. Personally, I went through three big stages recently. One was through high school and college where I only really wore anything that wasn’t form fitting, the other lasted for a couple of years after college where I was experimenting with layers, and now I am in a fairly womanly stage, finally! Looking back, I know what I wore affected me more than I realized at the time.
1) The Comfortable Years
My first stage, or “the comfortable years,” was full of hoodies and jeans. Oh, and t-shirts and jeans. Wait, did I mention baggy sweaters and jeans? Don’t get me wrong, I still wear all those things, but at this point my whole wardrobe doesn’t consist of it. I always loved colour, so the only thing I’ll give my high school and college self is that what I lacked in structure, I made up for in spunk.
At the time I was perfectly happy with it, and perfectly miserable about my weight. I liked feeling like I was perpetually in my pyjamas, but looking back, I know I was never excited to open up my closet and I was never excited about trying something different. I always felt like my body wouldn’t look good in other clothes, so I needed to stick to what I knew. As opposed to standing up tall with my shoulders back, I had my shoulders constantly slouched forward with my hands in my pocket. That’s not confident body language at all, and perhaps that just perpetuated my feelings. I didn’t wear certain pieces to reflect my mood since the one “mood” of my wardrobe screamed that I was distracting you from my self-consciousness with bursts of colour. This apparent war on fashion fought hard, but alas, died out.
2) The “Doctor’s Coat”
According to Vogue, “In preliminary findings from a study published on the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology’s website, subjects who donned white coats that they thought belonged to doctors performed better on tests than those who wore street clothes, or those who thought the coats were associated with artists.”
That is exactly what my second stage was like. I felt more feminine and I was experimenting with layers. I was finding my way in fashion and despite not doing a great job at presenting myself the way I wanted to come across, I was gaining confidence because I threw on my own version of the doctor’s coat. I lost some weight and I actually started feeling happy about the clothes I owned. I started wearing skirts, and I even bought a dress! Things were beginning to change for the better. From the same Vogue article, Katherine Bernard wrote, “…if you have a strong cultural association with a garment, wearing it can affect your cognitive processes.” That was the transformation I was beginning to take. I started wearing clothes that reminded me of confident women, and I honestly started to feel a change in my approach to fashion.
Now I am in the third major stage, womanhood. I love to wear dresses, and every morning I can find something that reflects my mood. All the bright colours are still there, but now there are more structured and collared shirts, as well as skirts, khakis, dress pants and of course jeans.
Another crucial element to this stage is that I opened up an Etsy shop last year selling knitwear. This allowed me to actually create pieces I could wear, and in turn, has made me feel even more confident as it makes me feel connected to what I’m wearing. If I’m sure of one thing, it’s that what you wear can affect your confidence. These days if I go to an interview, I have my go-to blazer and dress that give me the extra boost I need to feel at ease. Even if I’m at home and I need to have a productive day, the first thing I’ll do is put on a nice blouse, like one I would wear to the office. Without fail, it always sets the tone puts me in the mood to get stuff done.
There is no doubt my confidence would have been higher if I skipped over my first stage and started on my second. My style has changed over time, and because of it, I’ve learned how much it can affect me. Looking back, I know that what I wear right now is a good representation of the woman I am inside.
Jackie Amodeo is the Owner of Lively Loops, Head Writer/Performer & Producer of her comedy troupe, Steezy as well as a Blogger, Video Blogger and Social Media Specialist.