This article was originally published by Vivian Chiona of Expat Nest.
If you’re emigrating, presumably many factors in your life are changing. There’s a big adjustment period you may have to go through, and this can be stressful. For some, their wardrobe is a reflection of their personality, or even their mental state. A happy wardrobe may help you get through the cultural and lifestyle changes involved with becoming an expat.
What you wear and how you feel about your clothes can affect your mood, attitude and confidence. Image and style consultant Neha Bhandari discusses why and offers some simple tips to creating a wardrobe that you feel good about.
Clothing is about so much more than just “throwing a few items together”. The way we dress is a form of self-expression, and our “look” also influences the way others perceive and respond to us.
Studies affirm that what we wear also affects our psychological state. For example, when you catch sight of a garment that you’ve been complimented on before, all the good feelings that you experienced at the time return. You feel positive about that item, and positive about wearing it! Conversely, opening your wardrobe and being confronted by clothing you don’t like or that doesn’t suit or fit you well fosters negativity. And most of us will avoid an outfit we were wearing when something negative happened, such as an accident, breakup, or job loss.
Our clothes can bring up strong emotional associations – some positive, some negative. The good news is that we can actively enhance our happiness by wearing items that evoke positive feelings, elicit positive reactions from others, or remind us of positive experiences. We can all think of instances when we have chosen an outfit with the deliberate intent to change our mood – for example, to bolster our confidence before a job interview or a date.
Fashion is a powerful tool in your everyday life. As well as enhancing our psychological state, how we are dressed can improve our performance of tasks. We achieve more when we feel we are dressed appropriately for an occasion.
It’s all about style – your style
In our materialistic society, the fundamental purposes of clothing – like protection against the elements and self-expression – can be lost in the relentless pursuit of the next trend. Fashion trends come and go… style is forever and for everyone! Whatever shape or age you may be, you deserve to look and feel your best. You deserve to empower yourself and enjoy your wardrobe.
Attaining body confidence can be difficult, though, as it is influenced by how you view your physique and by your belief systems. We are our own worst critics; we shouldn’t be so hard on ourselves!
Here are simple ways to feel more positive and confident about the way you dress:
- Emphasise your best feature(s) in the way you dress – this will immediately boost your confidence. We all have at least one feature that is fantastic.
- Choose clothes that work for you and for your body instead of blindly following trends.
- Choose pieces that make you feel like your best self. Sometimes the wrong size or an awkward fit can trigger insecurity.
- Treat yourself to a visit with a personal style consultant – it’s fun to explore different options with an expert and you’ll learn what does and doesn’t work for you.
- Invest in a colour analysis done by a personal stylist – this will help you make better and quicker shopping decisions.
- Start with building your foundation/basics wardrobe – doing this will help you create multiple outfits with a combination of basic and high fashion pieces.
- Analyse your lifestyle to decipher how you spend your time – your wardrobe should represent your lifestyle. For example, if you go out or party 20% of the time, your party clothes shouldn’t exceed 20-25% of your wardrobe.
Create a happy wardrobe
Your clothing can make you feel frustrated…. or it can ignite an amazing sense of confidence and self-love, and give you the opportunity to show off your unique style and personality.
Everyone has a particular type of clothing that they gravitate toward when browsing through the items on display in a store – something you cannot walk past without stopping to touch it. Cosy wool knit, fierce leopard print, dazzling sequins or soft cashmere? Pay attention to your emotions when you shop and identify what makes your body and senses react. If you’re happy when you buy it, chances are you’ll be happy when you wear it!
Your goal is to create a wardrobe that you love dipping into every morning, and that makes you feel incredible. I like to call it a happy wardrobe. But remember, you’re never fully dressed without your smile!
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