I have been struggling with the idea that fashion blogging carries a connotation of vanity. I mean, I take great care styling my outfits in the morning and taking photos of myself and then posting them on the internet for strangers to view. I suppose many would consider that vain. As a result, I was hesitant even before I started my blog. And I had to come to grips with that view. But it has been a struggle for me. I’m not one who generally feels the need to justify my actions, but for some reason with this blog, I do feel that need. So I had to look inside myself and figure out why I pay such close attention to my outfits and why I want to share them publicly. What is my purpose with this blog?
This is what I have discovered…fashion is my therapy. And it started at a very young age. When I was in middle school, we did not have a lot of money for designer clothing. I could not keep up with the latest trends or afford the same styles that my peers were proudly wearing. This was at a time before discounted retailers were cool and trendy. These days it’s praise worthy to find that amazing skirt on clearance for $3 or that fabulous jacket at the thrift shop. But during my teen years when girls were so harshly judging one another, we did not have the funds for me to “fit in”. So I decided at that young age that I didn’t need to fit in, but I did need to express myself. It is important to know that I was extraordinarily bashful, so the best way for any sort of self-expression was through my clothing. So I began finding creative ways to dress myself…this included thrifting and pairing together unexpected combinations of clothing. And my love of fashion grew from there.
Then in my mid-twenties, my life started to spiral out of control and I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. It seemed everything inside of me was completely crazy. And everything around me felt equally chaotic. Fortunately, I had a wonderfully brilliant therapist who gave me this piece of advice that has stuck with me these past fifteen plus years: what is inside of you and what is outside of you will reflect each other. If you are feeling chaotic inside, your surroundings, your living space, your appearance, will reflect this chaos. And they did. My apartment was a disastrous mess. My life was a disastrous mess. I was a disastrous mess. And the reverse of this is true as well. If your surroundings are a disaster, you will feel emotionally and mentally chaotic.
Here was the advice: if you can’t control the one, control the other. I could not control the inside, so I had to find a way to control the outside. So even in the deepest of depressions, I forced myself to get up in the morning, shower, put on makeup, style my hair, and get dressed. Even on days when I never left my apartment or never came in contact with another human being. I did this. Every. Single. Day. I demanded order in my appearance. I started to organize my living space. I did this to the point that it bordered on obsession and over the years it became a habit. And you know what happened? I started to feel mentally and emotionally in control. So much so that I was able to cease my medications and live a full and rewarding life. So now, years later, getting dressed and maintaining my appearance is done not out of vanity but for the sake of sanity. There is a deep seeded fear that has grown out of that darkness that demands I maintain control of my outside so my inside never goes to that place again. And the result: I feel great every day that I get up, get showered, get dressed, and get on with my day. There is an energy and an exhileration that comes from taking care of myself.
Because of the fantastic results of doing this, fashion has become a passion and something that I just really enjoy. So I offer you all the same advice. And this is my purpose with this blog: To inspire and empower you to make time for yourself. Make time to take care of your appearance. It is not vain, it is essential for good mental health. And it is especially important on the days when you feel particularly horrible. Take the extra time on those days to put yourself together. Get dressed. Put on make-up. Do your hair. Your inside will directly reflect your outside. I promise!
Dress: Old Navy (no longer available, but same dress in blue stripe here)
Shoes: Kohl’s (from last year)
Scarf: Talbots (from about 15 years ago)
Necklace and earrings: Cato Fashions (no longer available)
What keeps you ordered and in control every day? What makes you feel fabulous? What is your therapy?
Staying sane on the edge,
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