Google+ WHAT'S ALEXANDRA WARING?: The Healing Power of Fashion

The Healing Power of Fashion

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Lately, I've been going through some pretty emotional times and I feel like its time for a pick-me-up. When feeling low, I've found that you need to focus back on yourself and what makes you happy, to be able to get up in the morning and live your life for you. I've never been good at the whole 'picking myself back up again' thing, but I truly think I've found the best medicine to remedy it.

Now, you may think it silly of me to cite fashion and style as my best healing power, but there really is nothing quite like it (for me anyway). It's akin to the same sort of feeling I get after singing or balling my eyes out to an Adele power ballad. It's a release like no other that allows me to be creative with how I'm feeling.

All we hear about these days is how fashion ruins people. Graduates in debt before they even start working life, size 0 phenomenons causing eating disorders in teenagers, plastic surgery becoming more and more prone in young women... etc etc. Yes, I agree there are detrimental sides to this business- but where would we be without it?

I've suffered an eating disorder, not at the hand of fashion, but due to a lack of my own self confidence. Fashion gives back what you put into it and when I'm upset or low about something, I put life and energy into that medium and it brings me happiness. Self confidence is a blessing that very few people have, so what is the problem with reaching it through fashion and style?

Self confidence can be affected by many many things. A bad score in an exam, a stupid off-hand comment from a work colleague, letting people down- all of it can make you feel like you're not good enough. Putting on a killer outfit, maybe one that you know shows off your hips/bum/shoulders/[insert body part here] or one that you got for £20 in a vintage lock in- choose something that will make you smile throughout the day. 

As Valentino says: 'What do women want? They want to be beautiful'. 

Beauty doesn't have to be superficial, but for me- dressing the way that makes me feel amazing is the first step. I get incredibly defensive about style when people try to knock it. When I see someone wearing something totally wacky down the street, I don't recoil in horror! I smile and think, "wow... I wish I had their self confidence!". It's almost a statement about how you're feeling and a way of making other people realise that you're a confident person. Where did power dressing come from, if not the age-old problem of confidence? 

One of my favourite things to watch and read when I'm feeling like this is Advanced Style- a fashion blog documenting street style of older generations. The brains behind the project, Ari Seth Cohen, has a YouTube channel which captures little snippets of these people's lives. Older ladies and gentlemen tend to have a self confidence that is so hard to find amongst younger generations. One of my favourites in the Advanced Style cohort is Ilona Royce Smithkin- a singer, artist and fantastic dresser. Her approach to life is wonderous and shows through her eclectic style choices.

These men and women are truly inspirational, and they all share one common factor: Self Confidence. And none of them are looking back at the past or idolising it in some strange form of nostalgia. 'Fashion's not about looking back. It's always about looking forward'- Anna Wintour

'As Oscar Wilde said, "Be yourself. Everyone else is taken."'

Even if fashion isn't a particular interest for you, find something to put your life's energy into and make sure that it will keep giving that sense of self confidence back to you. That way when you're feeling low, you'll always have something to rely on to make you the person you want and need to be.

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