Your style can help your mental health

August 27, 2021 4:22 PM

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Photo of the author in a graphic t-shirt and purple shoes. Photo courtesy of the author.

Photo of the author in a graphic t-shirt and purple shoes. Photo courtesy of the author.

Imagine being able to say a lot without saying anything — expressing yourself through a certain thing.

That’s what fashion is all about, expressing your sense of creativity, individuality, and just how you feel. But what if you used it as a way to help your mental health? That’s another use for fashion, and the ability to help yourself by just dressing a certain way might be one of the best ways to cope with your emotions and mental health issues. 

After moving to the United States, I went through a lot of changes, from my personality all the way to the way I dress. My surroundings, family situations, and a whole lot more made me change my style. I chose vibrant colors, bringing a better vibe to the one I had going on in my life.

That change of style helped me get through a lot of moments, and made me happier just because I was putting my creativity on display with the way I dressed. That’s the case for many people, and it could help many others.

It might seem simple, but it can help more than anything else you might try when dealing with things. As your looks change, your style and the things you like can change. But can you really change that much by just looking differently?

Your style is based on what you feel like, on your mind at the moment of throwing on an outfit. Most of the “best fits” people have are based on how they view themselves when they're wearing it, the places they’re going to, and how they feel that day.

Your clothing is the first thing people usually see while looking at you, so it can tell someone a lot about you. For example, you might have a flashy or show-off kind of fit when they’re in a great mood. Other people who don’t feel as good might throw on any kind of fit, not caring how they look.

Some use stereotypes to judge your style, but others use how they feel to understand why you’re wearing that particular outfit. Your style or sense of fashion, in general, goes through changes that have to do with your mental awareness.

There are examples of people changing how they look and how they’re presented to others. One is Kelsey Stewart who, while writing an article calledFashion Is Crucial When It Comes To Coping With My Depression,” explained how fashion helped her cope with her anxiety:

“It was around high school I learned just how clothing impacts my mental health,” she wrote. “When I was battling an eating disorder and a bad depressive episode my freshman year, fashion helped me dig my way out. My mom noticed that I wasn’t happy at my all-girls Catholic school, so she suggested switching to public school and enrolling in the fashion program offered there.”

Stewart found a way to deal with her depression, anxiety, and even an eating disorder through art. She went as far as to change schools to try and deal with her issues. Fashion is a cornerstone of representation, and in a way changes the way you feel through it.

Another example can be found in a more general kind of article in Mindless Mag, called “How Fashion Can Cultivate Positive Mental Health.” It expresses a bunch of ideas as to why fashion is helpful for positive mental health.

“Fashion is connected with our physical health in the way we choose to dress depending on how we feel,” the article says. “When we feel good, we may choose to dress up more than usual. Reflecting a happy mood by elevating our outfit choices. If we feel bad, we look for comfort and are more likely to dress comfortably.”

The description the article provides of how people can deal with their depression involves understanding how a simple fit can mean a lot, representing someone’s good mood, inspiration, and creativity.

Most people say your clothing represents not just yourself, but your background and where you come from. People might also say that you should dress a certain way to keep people from looking at you in certain ways.

Although there’s truth to that point, it’s very stereotypical and profiled. Someone should be able to dress the way they want no matter what. An example of this is when someone is dressed in streetwear, stuff considered to be “ratchet.” Other people tend to think that the person dressed in that way might be dangerous and non-intelligent. Judging someone based on their appearance and style of clothing doesn’t tell the complete truth about someone’s personality and who they are.

In the end, there’s nothing better than expressing how you feel through your clothes, so trying something outside of your comfort zone that could make you comfortable may help you feel better about yourself. There’s nothing wrong with keeping a bit of your style, but if it’s something you don’t really like, changing it up will help more than anything. It’s not only about your appearance but about your feelings. Be the true “you,” and enjoy being yourself without worrying about other's opinions.

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