This is a topic that I have been struggling with for the past, probably twelve months. After finishing uni and going straight into work, I found myself just changing from business attire into comfy clothes throughout the week, so then when the weekend came and I had something to do, I panicked! I used to get myself pretty stressed out thinking about what to wear as my wardrobe was just not equipped for social activities. To not help the situation, I have put on weight since my socialising days at uni, so anything that I would have worn before either no longer fits me or I am too scared to wear it. University can be such a cruel place at times – for me, I found that my confidence was based on how I felt on a night out; I would spend a minimum of two hours getting ready, putting on a skin tight outfit just to feel good about myself. Ridiculous right?!
Long gone are those days for me, now I just buy big jumpers and baggy clothes to try and hide every inch of my body and because of that I have pretty much lost all confidence in myself. It is such a downwards spiral that I wasn’t expecting. As soon as your jeans start to pinch and your favourite clothes no longer fit you, it seems that your whole life loses confidence as you don’t feel happy in anything. I have battled depression and anxiety before feeling like this, but find it is heightened from the thoughts of self doubt. I no longer look in the mirror at myself, I avoid social activities if I can, I even get stressed about what to wear to walk to the shop, I hate people looking at me so I avoid eye contact with everyone and if I have to go out, I am filled with anxiety almost every day leading up it. To say that I have become a shell of the person I was before would be an understatement and it has affected my whole life.
I have got to the point now where I am incredibly fed up of this and want to change. I think that the biggest thing for me is that I know where I want to be, but in my own head I think that I can’t be happy or comfortable until I get there, which is wrong. I have the most amazing husband who loves me exactly the way I am but no matter how many times he compliments me the lack of confidence and the doubting thoughts remain; I know that I need to believe it from within.
In the run up to my wedding, I was spending a lot more time just generally looking after myself so that I looked my best on that special day. I was eating better, drinking more water, moisturising every day, not biting at my nails, having facials and doing hair masks regularly. It had such a positive impact on my confidence; I was looking better and feeling more looked after and it was all me doing it! Since my wedding day when I felt so beautiful, I have been trying to think of myself in a better way and trying to live like I did those weeks before the big day. Instead of just hating the way I look and not making an effort at all until I have lost this weight again, I am making a conscious effort to actually look at myself in the mirror and focus on the parts that I like. What I don’t want is to base my happiness on the way I look, because otherwise I may never be happy. Instead, I am looking at all of the amazing things that I do have – the body is such an incredible thing, it does so much for us yet we think so negatively about it. What is keeping me motivated is this thought: when I have children, do I want them to hear me speaking so negatively about myself and therefore teaching them that it is right to hate yourself? Absolutely not. I want them to see their mummy focussing all of her attention on happiness and for them to grow up in a positive environment where they know how to love themselves no matter what. So I have started my journey to Self Confidence!
As my relationship with clothes is probably having the most negative impact on my confidence, this is where I have started in my steps to self confidence. I find it so hard to try and have any sort of identity in the world. Throughout my twenties I have found myself at a loose end with a lot of things (what I want to do as a career, who I want to be, how I want to world to perceive me etc) and my style is absolutely one of those things. I feel as though I lack a personal style because all I want to do is cover up and I don’t think that I can dress how I want to, which is silly. I know that I always like to feel comfortable, that is a must for me. There is nothing worse than wearing something that just doesn’t quite fit right or you’ve styled it to the max to look great in your bedroom but as soon as you leave the house it starts moving about and just down right annoys you all day. I love the feeling of wearing a killer outfit, that looks and feels amazing, it can completely alter my mood. I can go from having a good time to a great time if I feel happy in what I’m wearing! To help me feel like this in all outfits, I have taken these few steps to get me back on track and really develop my personal style.
Step 1. Think about your style
I began by thinking about how I could change. I wanted to evaluate where I stood with clothes by answering these ten questions:
- 1. What is my go to outfit?
- 2. Is it because it makes me feel good/happiest or is it because it hides me?
- 3. What is my favourite item in my wardrobe?
- 4. Who’s style do I like the most?
- 5. Why?
- 6. What do I think flatters me the most?
- 7. What do I not like about my current style?
- 8. If someone gave me £1000 to spend on clothes, what would I buy?
- 9. What do I want my clothes to say about me?
- 10. If I could sum up my style in one word what would it be?
This really opened up my eyes to my current relationship with my wardrobe. See my answers below and let me know the answers to yours in the comments!
- What is my current go to outfit?
Black jeans, big jumper and trainers
2. Is it because it makes me feel good/happiest or is it for other reasons?
Because it is big and baggy and covers all of my top half.
3. What is my favourite item in my wardrobe? Why?
My big grey roll neck jumper. I love anything with a roll neck so love this and also because it is something easy to throw on.
4. Who’s style do I like the most?
I love Selena Gomez’s 2017-2018 style. Also bloggers such as @cocobeautea, @kristyjgreen, @lornaluxe, @rubyholley_, @nadiaanya__ and @hauteonlife to name just a few! (Check them out if you haven’ already, their style is just effortless. They’ve nailed their personal style)
They all just nail the effortlessly cool and casual look but always look polished and well finished in their looks.
6. What do I think flatters me the most?
Jeans and a cool top. The jeans have to be high waisted though as I do have a waist (although hidden at the moment it is there somewhere!!)
7. What do I not like about my current style?
I feel as though it lacks any style. It is just always jeans, trainers with a baggy top. I would like some signature looks.
8. If someone gave me £1000 to spend on clothes, what would I buy?
Staple pieces as I feel like that is what I lack. I would get definitely get some more jeans, some staple coats, blazers, slogan tees, casual and dressy boots as well as accessories to really finish the looks off.
9. What do I want my clothes to say about me?
That I am confident and happy and really know what looks good on me and what doesn’t.
10. If I could sum up my style in one word what would it be?
Currently, I would say that it is lost. I am blending in and feel as though I look a lot younger than I am.
Step 2. Create a mood board
Such an obvious step but definitely an essential one. We all find so much inspiration from the amazing Instagram bloggers with killer styles, but when trying to pinpoint the recurrent themes through those likes is difficult without a visual. For me, I typed ‘street style’ into Pinterest and immediately felt inspired. I then created a ‘Personal Fashion Inspo’ board and began pinning my heart out.
To begin with, I was just pinning anything that I liked with the expectation that I would then have to go back through and organise them into different trends, but I was mistaken. It was amazing how clear the recurrent themes were throughout what I’d pinned. I have included them below so you can have a good chuckle at how obvious I am! I then looked at pictures of Selena Gomez’s street style and my inspiration just grew!
So if you hadn’t guessed, almost all of my pins revolve around a good pair of jeans! I love the versatility of jeans, these pins just show how they can be styled to create a completely different look.
Step 3. Sort out your wardrobe
Now you have pinpointed your style it is time for a sort out, sorry! It can be daunting I know. For some inspiration, I would recommend watching ‘Tidying Up with Marie Kondo on Netflix. She perfectly sums up how we should sort out our clothes: If when you pick the item up it doesn’t spark any joy within you, then you must thank it but toss it. (She also has an amazing way of folding your clothes – check it out when you have a minute, you won’t be disappointed!) Keep clothes that you know fit in with your style and I’m afraid toss any that don’t make you feel good.
Step 4. Wardrobe Staples
If your style focusses on a few key items, then the next step would be to begin the revamp and when you can, purchase these staple items. I don’t want to tell you that the only way you’ll be happy with your wardrobe is to spend loads of money on new items – that is absolutely not what I mean!! As I have mentioned, my style focusses on a good pair of jeans; I already have two pairs that I love but just need to learn to style them better. I looked through my wardrobe and planned different looks with what I already had, then I have written down any extra bits that I feel would really make these outfits, e.g. a good blazer, some boots and some earrings. As I am currently awaiting my right to work in the States, I do not have an income, meaning that these clothes will have to wait until I am employed once again, but at least now I have a clear idea of the items that I would like.
These are the other looks I absolutely loved from my Pinterest haul – they’re mainly Selena Gomez I know but she just nails this look. Maybe I’ll start a blog on her instead? Haha.
Clothes are such an important part of your confidence, they can either build you up or tear you down. It can become overwhelming thinking of ways to gain your self confidence back, I should know, but taking small steps and understanding where you want to get to, but also learning how to love yourself during that journey is such an integral step. Start by living like you are getting married in a few weeks – what habits would you begin or stop to make sure that you would look and feel your best on your big day? We should be treating ourselves with love and respect at all times, but it can be difficult, so follow my journey to rebuilding my confidence and hopefully it can help you to get that spark back too.
For more inspiration check out my full mood board on Pinterest @connieroseparry