I’ve always loved the idea of expressing yourself through your clothing. Growing up I would look at the women in my life and loved how they played around with different styles. When I was old enough to pick my own clothes I wanted to express myself the way they did. I love florals and pattern and classic pieces that have a modern twist. The problem is that I would buy clothes that I think are nice and reflective of my style, but rarely wear them. So when I heard about how the staff at Dia & co. encourages each other to try something new style-wish each Friday, I was a bit intrigued. This encouraged me to try something a little different this week and wear something new.
I pretty much have only two moods when it comes to my outfits, either dressy or casual. I also tend to base how I dress not only on where I am going but who I am going with. I am sure some people can relate to this. If I am with my family or really close friends I would be more comfortable being dressy. But if I am going somewhere unfamiliar or with people I am not particularly close with I will lean towards a more casual outfit. This is why I thought wearing something a little different to school would be a perfect way to step out of my comfort zone.
When I go to school I prefer to dress as comfortably as possible. Usually, that means I end up wearing jeans and a t-shirt or a sweater unless I have a special event. Even then I may bring a change of clothes so I can be comfortable for the majority of the day when I am in class. When putting together this outfit I followed my usual thought process – up to a point. I wanted to try something new while being mindful that I would be at school and working in the research lab. This meant that I needed to wear clothes that I would be comfortable in, suitable for the tasks I would be performing that day in the lab, and something that I would not typically wear. So I decided to wear a pair of light wash jeans, a bell sleeve, eyelet blouse, and a pair of booties. I thought this would be great because it is a cross between the outfits I usually wear. I consider jeans, especially lighter ones, to be more casual and rarely wear them with blouses or my nicer boots. I also tried a new style in my hair for fun.
I was a bit scared to wear this because I didn’t want to be overdressed for school, especially in the lab. I don’t usually experiment with hairstyles either, so I thought combining a new style and outfit could be over the top. At the start of the day, I was pretty self-conscious. I felt like I stuck out like a sore thumb.But as the day went by, I didn’t feel as self-conscious as I had before. I was too busy focusing on what I had to get done instead of what I looked like. The best part of my day was when a girl came up to me and complimented my top, and how it fit me. I particularly enjoyed this, because I have been aiming to be more mindful about the clothes I buy; which I will discuss more later. My shoes did turn out to be less comfortable than I had hoped – they are not fully broken in yet – so I ended up switching into a pair of sneakers later in the day. Luckily since I wore neutral colors I did not have to worry about anything clashing with my purple and gold running shoes. Overall, I was pretty pleased with how my challenge turned out. I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and realize that there was nothing to be afraid of. I am pretty sure that I won’t dress like this every day, but I also realized that I can switch it up every now and then.
Feeling confident in your clothes isn’t about what you wear or what other people think when you wear it. It’s about how you feel when you wear it. I have certainly not mastered confidence, but I have picked up a few ways to feel more confident in my clothes in recent years.
Get the right size. As I mentioned before, I have been trying to be more mindful of the fit of my clothes when shopping. In high school, I used to wear clothes that were too big for me. Then, as I got older and came to college I would end up with pieces that would fit, but not right. That was because I didn’t try on my clothes before I bought them. I was just eyeballing the size, and hoping for the best. This also led me to get clothes that didn’t look the way they did on the rack. When my clothes fit me weird I felt very self-conscious wearing them. I guess it is safe to say that now I have officially learned my lesson, and I take the time to try them on first.
Focus on the basics. In the past, I’ve always made this mistake. I would buy pieces in patterns or colors I loved, but then I was stuck limiting how often I could wear them. I’ve learned to get more colors that are neutral or muted so my wardrobe can be more versatile. I still love my florals and prints, but now I try to be more balanced and that makes getting dressed each morning just a little bit easier.
Plan ahead. Take some time the night before to pull out clothes for the next day. Whenever I rush to pick out my clothes in the morning, I end up throwing them together and I don’t feel like my best. In the morning it’s a good idea to check the weather as well. I mean there are days the weather will be just unpredictable, and you will go to school wearing rain boots in 76-degree weather. Yes, that really happened to me. But in general, checking has been super helpful.
Dress for yourself. This is probably one of the most important things you could do. Don’t buy something just because it’s trendy or because you want to impress others. Trends will come and go. When you dress for yourself you will be more comfortable not only with what you wear but also with who you are. If we only dressed the way people wanted us to and wore the latest trends, we would not be individuals. You are unique so don’t hide it trying to be someone that you are not.
Confidence is not something that will happen overnight. It will take time and effort, but by pushing yourself, in small ways, you will begin to figure it out.
Try one thing that is out of your comfort zone this week. You just might be surprised about how you feel. What are some ways you learned to be more confident?
In my last post I shared links to help those affected by Hurricane Harvey. Some links now have information for those affected by Hurricane Irma and Maria, and other disasters as well.
– Tatyana x