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Self-Care Through Expressive Style: Wardrobe as a Canvas

Self-Care Through Expressive Style: Wardrobe as a Canvas

Style has been a cultural outlet of creative expression for humans as long as we’ve been wearing clothes. What we wear says something about who we are, what we like, and how we feel. Whether you are a self-proclaimed fashionista or you get dressed in the dark, what you wear is a daily choice that has to be made. Because what we wear can influence how we feel, practicing self-care through expressive style can be incredibly transformative.

There is a difference between fashion and style that makes style a true, unique creative expression. Fashion is influenced by trends, celebrities and prominent figures, fashion houses and brands. It is more about consumerism and belonging to a group or class. Style, on the other hand, reflects a person’s unique expression and essence. One garment can look very different on one person to the next simply because of the energy they are bringing forth. Style goes beyond following trends; it is about curating a distinctive and authentic visual expression of oneself. It involves selecting and combining clothing pieces, accessories, colors, patterns, and textures in a way that reflects an individual’s identity and personal taste.

Match Your Insides With Your Outsides

No doubt, there is so much more to us than how we present to the world. We can’t make assumptions based on how people present; that is never fair nor accurate. However, because we are human beings, we do it anyways. The point of style as self-expression and self-care, though, is not to make our outer appearance the priority. It is about matching our insides with our outsides in order to live in alignment with our highest selves. Wardrobe as canvas is about playing with style as we would with any creative project. It is about thinking of style as a path towards growth, expansion, and pleasure.

How can style be a form of creative expression, as well as a form of self-care? When practiced as self-care and creative expression, style in its truest form is about reflecting how you feel, or invoking how you would like to feel. It is both a response to current circumstances and a manifestation practice. It’s about bringing forth your creative energy and wearing clothes, accessories, makeup, etc. that reflect how much you love and cherish yourself. It is about getting yourself ready for your day in a way that makes you feel good. From there, you are able to carry yourself through the world with more confidence and self-love.

Image is a wooden clothes rack with one shirt hanging on a hanger, one draped over the bar, a blanket, hat and shoes on the shelf beneath it, showing self-care through expressive style. There is a plant in the corner and a window with white curtains in the background.
Photo by tu tu on Unsplash

Here are some tips to get started with practicing self-care through expressive style:

  • Get to know your style. Start by journaling about how you feel about style. Do you enjoy it? Does it make you cringe or fill you with anger? What is that anger about? Or does it excite you, intimidate you, soothe you? What styles, colors, patterns are you drawn to? Who’s style do you most admire? What is your dream environment? Why? Think about what your ideal style says about how you would like to feel.
  • Edit your closet. Go through your closet and keep only the things that you know you wear, and that bring you happiness, comfort, and authenticity. One trick for this is to turn all the hooks of your hangers in the opposite direction than usual. Within a span of a few weeks or months, you will be able to see which items you are actually wearing (seasonally depending).
  • Curate your closet to feel like it supports the current version of you. Oftentimes we keep clothes that we’ve had since high school simply because it’s what we have, but it’s clearly seen better days. Clear your space of things that are just taking up space and not actually being worn. If you can, try selling items at a consignment store and getting credit or cash to go towards items that feel more like you now. However, this isn’t about buying a whole new wardrobe. It could mean that you start using what you have in a creative way to feel more supportive to the current version of you.
  • Release what others may think. We are conditioned to dress in a way that pleases others or makes us feel a sense of belonging. Styling yourself as a creative expression for self-care is all about following your inner compass, which may mean you do things differently than ever before. It’s okay to explore your style independently of what may be considered “stylish.”

Go Ahead, Express Yourself!

Even if you wear the same rotation of jeans and a t-shirt, you are doing so because it’s easy, functional, and comfortable. Likewise for any style choice, to choose what we wear based on how we feel or want to feel is a powerful practice. In this, there is an opportunity available for self-care through expressive style that can help you be the best version of yourself.

Style is a way to show the world how we feel, and also nurture our unique personality. How we present ourselves on the outside affects how we feel internally. Clothes can bring forth emotions in the same way that art can. They can inspire how we speak to ourselves, how we feel about our bodies. They can be a way to play, take risks, elevate our mood, or nurture ourselves. If you were to express your unique style, how would you show up in the world?

How does your current style make you feel, and how do you want to feel? Share with us @Maidenfolk on Instagram and let us know, and don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter below!

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