How important are clothes to you? Describe your style, if you have one, and tell us how appearance impacts how you feel about yourself.


I’ve noticed that I tend to go through stages about my style and how my appearance impacted my self-esteem and how I see myself. As a child it never mattered, I never noticed or cared to notice clothes. My parents did a fantastic job at allowing me to really just wear whatever I wanted whether it matched/coordinated or not. I wore a lot of hand-me-downs from older cousins so I never really had that “well I want what they’re wearing”.

Then I read this book series. The Baby-Sitter’s Club. The styles of Claudia really effected how I begin to dress. I made outfits that all matched and had themes. They were fantastical and as I look back now very fashion-missing! But I loved making my outfits–that statement! It gave a shy, mousey and very book engrossed pre-teen a more extrovert personality and I began to flaunt who I was. Even people making fun of my outfits didn’t really bother me–they didn’t bother Claudia and I knew I was just as strong as she was.

Along came middle school. Three years of pure hell. I got the “I want to be popular bug”. I wanted to wear what all the cool girls were wearing. I wanted to shop where they shopped. If I was made fun of for my hair style, my shirt, my shoes, anything I would go into a teenage spiral of angst and depression. There were many factors during this time of my life that made middle school so terrible but the “keeping up with the Jones'” attitude of many middle school girls is just self-esteem breaking. As the three years continued on I gradually wore more and more black. It was easier, it caused less strife. And I felt it made me hide.

And then high school. As a freshmen I knew it was going to be four more years of pure torture. I stuck to my quiet black where no one would notice me to make fun of. As the year went on I found drama. Theater. My life was forever changed. As high school continued I came more into myself and out of my shell. I begin to wear my crazy outfits again. With the confidence of being able to perform on stage behind me I made each outfit a costume and played a different part each day. This would continue for many years to come. I prided myself on having different outfits and an anything goes style. Throughout my early 20’s I didn’t care what anyone thought–I wore what I wanted. Anything from comfy jeans to a backless dresses. It didn’t matter–I was confident enough to wear whatever I found interesting and comfortable.

Then I started to gain weight. And I got a desk job. I got older and needed to calm my style down. Especially for work. But nothing fit. I wanted to be fashionable. But I wasn’t a size zero. I couldn’t find anything in the stores that fit me. I continued to gain weight and my self-esteem continue to drop. I reached a point where I hadn’t getting up in the morning and figuring out what I was going to wear. I worked with girls who were smaller than me and could find those fashionable outfits. I got angry at them, like it was their fault they were built differently than me.

I’m still in this heavier less confidant cycle. I’ve started Zumba and I’ve tried to focus more on whether or not I was comfortable in my clothes. Remembering how I used to not care what others thought I think will help. As long as I’m confidant and walking self-assured it won’t matter. Clothes don’t make the man. But they sure can add that extra boost of confidence on a good day. Or be that straw that breaks the camel’s back on a bad day.