Congratulations, you made it!
And I don’t mean through the year. I mean, you made it through the week. Doesn’t the first week of January feel like such a time warp? Is this still vacation mode or are we back to real life? Should we be working now? How much cheese have we eaten?
As we emerge from the fog of the holiday aftermath and our charcuterie coma, we turn our attention to a brand-new year. School finally begins, we will ourselves back into a routine, and we strive for a sense of normalcy once again. But while we’re bombarded with “new year, new you” messages, I think the most important place to start isn’t reinventing ourselves. Instead, it is to focus on recapturing our sense of self.
Getting dressed is a powerful act of self-care. And it’s one we may have put on the back burner last month when colorful pajamas and oversized sweatshirts were totally acceptable. But what better way to set intentions for a year of growth, health and success than to show up looking ready to receive it? Here’s why getting dressed with intention should be on your 2024 must-do list.
What we wear affects our mental health.
If we are content to stay adrift in our shapeless sea of grey cotton stretch pants, we’re forfeiting an opportunity to care for our mental and emotional health. Putting on an outfit we feel great in can spark a sense of purpose. In our brains, this act releases neurotransmitters like dopamine, norepinephrine, serotonin and endorphins. These are chemicals that naturally boost our mental state. (And who couldn’t use a boost right now?)
I have learned this because I have lived this. While insecurity, depression and autoimmune diseases have been a common thread in my life, so have sequins and fabulous shoes. Not to get all pop psychology on you, but I have found there is a fine line between self-care and self-sabotage. It’s easy to dress crappy when you feel crappy. But if we do that for too long, if we live in that place, we’re actually only hurting ourselves. I have found the healing power of getting dressed. The encouraging act we can exercise daily to show ourselves respect. Putting on clothes that we feel good in helps us to feel better! It’s a form of empowerment that I believe everyone deserves to experience.
We can help ourselves.
If we know that dressing with intention can improve our mood, why don’t we do it more often? I think it boils down to a massive misconception in our culture, one that’s only gotten worse since 2020. We don’t get dressed because we think we have nowhere special to go. When our schedules are full of mundane tasks, like working from home (again), sitting in car line (I see you, mamma) and hurried trips to the grocery store, it’s easy to ask ourselves: “Why would I go through the effort of looking nice for the freezer aisle?”
But that’s where we’re thinking all wrong. We don’t need a litany of grand events to get dressed for. We can be dressing to empower and uplift our own selves in the midst of our regular, ordinary lives. It’s not about where you will find yourself today, instead, it’s about how you will feel today. Get dressed for you, not for where your schedule deems worthy. Because the truth is, when you put intention into what you wear, the act itself can inwardly take you somewhere better than your calendar could have dictated anyway.
You also want to be ready when opportunity comes knocking. Making a good first impression is imperative if you are a professional or the face of your business. We can’t expect others to see us as an expert if we aren’t first reinforcing that to ourselves. Taking pride in how we show up is an essential first step if you are looking to increase your network or grow your business this year. It really all comes down to this – getting dressed matters because you matter. And as your personal style motivator, I will be here each month to help you navigate the ins and outs of encouraging yourself through style. So, regardless of your health resolutions this year (re: your cheese consumption), it’s time to embrace the new beginnings of your 2024 wardrobe resolutions.