Have you ever thought about how your clothes make you feel? Not just are they comfortable, itchy or have a scratchy tag, or you like the feel of velvet, or buttery soft leather, but inside your head and heart?
Personality is the key to finding and developing your style. Personality comes into play when we talk about the mental comfort of clothing.
If you have a need to be appropriate and like to check the dress code to confirm that what you are wearing is correct for the occasion, then you obtain mental comfort when you fit into the environment.
For some women, mental comfort may need them to be different to everyone else. One of my image consulting students gained mental comfort being different to everybody else. When she was younger, she would adapt her school uniform to be different from everybody else’s and as soon as other girls copied her she’d feel the need to change it again.
Leggings are very physically comfortable but for me, they’re only mentally comfortable if I’m exercising or I’m doing something that requires that movement and flexibility. Leggings are not mentally comfortable for me if I’m going to the shops.
If you attach a story, a significant meaning or sentimental value to an item of clothing, it may provide you with a level of emotional comfort. It can be hard to let go of the item for fear of losing the memories or feelings associated with the item. Often garments that have been favourites in the past, stay in your wardrobe unworn. A dress you wore to a significant occasion or a scarf you purchased on holidays. You can’t actually imagine wearing them again as they are from a previous time in your life.
You may also have clothes in your wardrobe that you don’t like or that don’t suit you and you and don’t wear, but you feel you can’t get rid of because they were given as gifts. There is an emotional comfort in keeping those clothes even though they are cluttering up your space.
I tell my clients to keep the love and the memories, but get rid of the stuff. There is only so much stuff we can keep in our life, too much clutter is bad for our mental health.
Emotional comfort may also include garments that fit your personal values as if there is discord with your values, you will feel emotionally uncomfortable.
This is one of the obvious but often ignored issues with clothing selection is how clothing feels. How the fabric feels on the skin; how the garment sits on our body and the ease of the garment’s construction.
We often buy clothes that are a bit uncomfortable in some way or other. This discomfort affects us all day – tugging; pulling and adjusting the garment or being annoyed by that scratchy tag or loose thread. This discomfort is a distraction and takes our minds away from the tasks we should be focused on. Being irritated by your clothes will spill into your day and your interactions with other people and not in a good way.
When a garment isn’t comfortable in a physical way, we are also more likely to dislike wearing it. We may even actively avoid wearing it and it languishes in our wardrobe. Conversely, if you are very sensory types, you may keep your clothes longer than they should “because they’re comfortable”. Remember that clothes go out of fashion and also get worn out, which doesn’t communicate a positive message. Identifying your need for kinesthetic clothing choices is one of my 6 Brilliant Strategies for Creating Your Perfect Wardrobe.
Moving out of your comfort zone
If you’ve noticed you’ve been wearing something and you aren’t confident that it is for you or if you put something on and take it off and put it on and take it off and it never actually gets worn then put it aside. Anything that you think is no longer right for you should be evaluated to determine whether it should go or stay (find out what to ask here). Once it’s out of sight it will usually go out of mind as well and then if you don’t miss it, you can more easily know it’s not right and let it go.
Personality is such a huge factor in the clothes we choose, what we like and dislike. It’s important to work with your natural personality to appear authentic. When we dress to highlight ourselves in an authentic manner, we feel the most comfortable and confident. Learning all about what you do and don’t love, and the breadth of personality style can really help you when choosing garments so that you don’t end up with things languishing in your wardrobe unworn
It’s a lie that to be stylish you have to be born with an innate talent for it. Sure some people are naturally more stylish, but I know plenty of people who have learned how to become more stylish using much of the information I share on this blog.
It can feel physically or mentally uncomfortable to try wearing something different or new. But trying things out is important. It’s amazing how quickly (and it’s less than a whole month), just trying something new each day starts feeling more natural and easy and gives you more courage to try even more.
This is why I recommend one small change in an outfit each day. Give yourself a chance to assess a small change in your outfit or a new element you’re trying. This way you know if something is or isn’t working more easily rather than changing everything and then feeling completely wrong and so throwing the whole lot away as you have no idea of what it is that isn’t working for you. Taking outfit photos will help you assess the success of your outfit, plus provide documentary evidence of what you put together, so you can do it again if you love it!
Download a PDF free of my 6 Brilliant Strategies series here.