Confidence: a word and mindset that holds a lot of power in our world. It’s something many of us struggle to find and hang onto.
Fashion is one unique way to display your personality, style, and confidence. However, we can often lose that important belief in ourselves when we find ourselves in closed-minded groups, or fall into the trap of comparison. Whether you’re stuck in a small town, feel judged by your friends, or simply struggle to feel comfortable with your style, here are some ways you can start feeling confident in your fashion — no matter where you are.
Starting From Square One: Body Confidence
Starting with the basics is the first, most important step. Struggling with body confidence and image is easily one of the biggest factors that contributes to self-doubt. If you don’t feel comfortable in your own skin, how can you feel comfortable in your clothes and style?
To be fair, both men and women are constantly exposed to harmful ideas of how they “should” look. As Medical News Today aptly explains, “A body image does not develop in isolation … The media, peers, and family members can all influence a person’s body image. They may encourage men and women, and even young boys and girls, to believe that there is an ideal body. The image is often an unnatural one.” This means that we often force ourselves to stress over achieving the “perfect” body. When we don’t feel confident with our bodies, dressing ourselves becomes a challenge.
While there isn’t some magical potion to help you gain powerful body confidence, there are some simple everyday things you can try. For one, fashion is a great way to start feeling confident in yourself. Have you ever felt the rush of pride when you pull together the perfect look? Furthermore, pushing yourself to break out of your usual style can surprise you with some happy accidents (See? You look amazing in that pencil skirt!).
Acceptance = Courage
Our confidence can grow or diminish based on how we treat ourselves. Instead of standing in front of the mirror critiquing what you can’t (and shouldn’t!) change, focus on what you can, like your clothes. Pull together unique color combinations, find out what shapes and styles compliment your body type and skin color. It also never hurts to draw inspiration from social media. Follow people whose style you admire and adjust it to match your own tastes.
Overall, confidence, while it might seem counterproductive at first, can really grow when you push yourself to try new things. Taking chances, whether in fashion, school, or social settings, can give you the boost you need to grow into a more poised, comfortable person. For example, you wore that bold lip and your coworkers couldn’t stop complimenting you. Enough instances like that will eventually give your self-esteem that necessary boost to start trying more intimidating styles and owning your looks.
Comparison Can Be Your Downfall
With all of that in mind, let’s take a quick step back. While social media can be a fantastic source of inspiration and motivation, it can also be detrimental to your confidence. You can end up looking at others and thinking, “I could never pull that off” or “Why can’t I look like her in a crop top?” These kinds of doubts can drive you into a cycle of negative feelings towards yourself. Furthermore, if you’re in a small town, it can be hard to bring that city style you see on Instagram to your often judgemental community and peers. You can start to believe that you’ll never be able to achieve the greatness of those fashion icons on your social media feed and this can affect your well-being.
Social media and our well-being are often connected, according to experts, both good and bad. We feel better about ourselves when we see those inspiring photos of fashion, food, and travel. Moreover, we’re able to express our own unique personality online, sharing our take on the latest trends and news. We can also connect with people with shared interests and show those we may never meet in person what makes us, us. However, as positive as social media can be, it can also cause depression and other mentally draining issues. It’s important to take everything with a grain of salt. Draw inspiration, but avoid the temptation to compare yourself.
When you have the confidence to be unapologetically you, you’ll find that not only does your fashion sense and style flourish, but so do other aspects in life. The way we choose to dress ourselves says a lot to others, why not have it say: I’m here, I’m confident, and I look amazing.