The Importance of Getting Dressed

Getting dressed during the COVID-19 pandemic can be difficult. The word difficult might even be a severe understatement for some folks. As for myself, the level of inspiration I have to dress myself right after getting out of bed has been a bit of a roller coaster. However, on the days that I do manage to slip into something cute, an interesting little things happens. My mood is restored! Now, you might be reading this and think that my mood getting a boost from clothing is simply because I like clothes or I value a nice outfit. But I spent some time thinking and came up with four reasons why getting dressed is good for EVERYONE. Not just someone like myself that plans her outfits every night.

Helps keep you in line with a routine: The COVID-19 Pandemic has destroyed our daily routine, which means that it’s given us an opportunity to create a something new. And while new daily rituals are fine and dandy, maintaining glimpses of the past will help grant us stability. So get dressed! Of course this doesn’t mean you need to put on a suit, a dress, or shoes, but it does mean you need get out of your pajamas. Get creative with the opportunity to dress however you would like! Maybe one day you play with some new pattern mixing (see my last blog post on some fun opinions) or maybe you want to glamorize your sweatpants. Who cares! But keeping your “get dressed” ritual is essential to happy and healthy mood.

Gives you some literal “change”: When we’re stuck inside all day, it’s easy to feel trapped. Just like taking a walk for a change of scenery, changing out of your pajamas has a huge impact on mood. It enables you to find sensation in a new outfit, and new look. So when your days are filled with staring at the same three walls, a nice new outfit will do you some good.

Grants you a sense of control: Unfortunately, the virus listens to nobody. And with the fate our futures whether health wise or economy wise completely out of our hands, it’s helpful to identify all the elements of life we do control. And what better way to exercise our right to freedom than slipping into a snazzy outfit!? You are the boss of your own closet so go ahead and flex!

Increases self confidence: Raise your hand if you love a good compliment? Well I know I do… So find an outfit that made you feel powerful, made you feel authentic and proud to be you, and put it on. Even though it’s possible that nobody will see your fun clothes, I promise you’ll remember the days good vibes came rushing at you.

So next time you feel down, sit up, stand up, and find an outfit you absolutely love. Our mental health is just as important and our physical health.

Mixing Patterns?

Let’s talk striped shirts and plaid pants. At first glance, the mixture of patterns may seem like a fashion faux pas. If it does, and you’re reading this thinking that this Alix person has lost it, I will challenge you to continue reading. And when you finish, look in your closet and give it a try.

When I mix patterns I immediately think back to the single art class I took in college and the professor that clearly had fun in the 1960’s (if you know what I mean…). Anyways, one of the first activities we completed in the course was a “likeness and difference” project. We were instructed to cut out various pieces of construction paper and subsequently glue the little creations to our sketch books. Simple enough right? But the shapes of the cut-outs needed to follow the pattern of “likeness and difference.” Meaning that if you first cut out a circle, the next shape needed to look the exact opposite, so something like a triangle. Then the next cut out needed to be something completely opposite the triangle, like a long rectangle. And so on and so forth, until we had half the page filled. The finished product was meant to convey the concept of similarity through difference. While each piece may not have matched, there were similarities throughout the whole, that the viewer could find based on perspective.

Pattern mixing through clothing is very similar. Let’s take the outfit in the photo above. I have a striped shirt with plaid pants and a pink floral scarf. In my opinion, the similarity is drawn between the coloring. The shirt is navy blue and white, the pants are green, and navy blue, and the scarf is pink, yellow, black, and grey tones. Each of the colors complements another, or simply matches another. The grey overcoat also provides the eyes with a bit of break. When you wear a loud pattern, it helps to break it up with something solid. It also never hurts to pair your outfit with a colorful lip. I always choose red so there’s no question there.

Now it’s your turn. Stand in front of your closet and pick out your favorite patterned item. You need to start somewhere, so go ahead and make your choice! Once you’ve picked the item identify which color is most prominent, and pair your second patterned item based on your choice. Now, if you put the outfit together and you decide that you absolutely hate it, try again! Not every pattern you find will look nice with another. But I promise, you’ll find something. Just remember “likeness and difference.” For a better view of this outfit, find me on instagram! @wearing_alix

How to Shop

For people who enjoy fashion, such as myself, shopping is given activity. It’s an experience that I personally enjoy immensely. However, I’ve noticed throughout the years that my level of satisfaction with shopping varies greatly depending on a handful of elements. In the next section, I’m going to share with you some strategies that I’ve used to ensure that my adventures through clothing rack upon clothing rack in the mall (and online) ended with happiness and a few new pieces of clothing.

Set some goals:

  • First, it’s always helpful to set a budget. Whether you’re looking for a scarf, some earrings, or a whole new summer wardrobe, a price ceiling is essential.
  • Second, find your inspiration. Before I shop, I take a long hard look at Pinterest. Everybody needs a little inspiration, so go search for a few things. Maybe you search for “professional summer outfits” or “beach sundress.” Whatever it is that you decide, save a few looks that mean something to you. These looks can now act as a guide for you in the store. The pictures will give you a sense of focus, and direction! If you’re anything like me, focus is a hard element of life to come by…. so I never pass up the opportunity to harness such a tool.
  • Third, determine either which stores you want to visit, or which street/shopping center you want to explore. I find it much easier to navigate a busy shopping mall or a crowded street if I know where I want to shop. If you’re only shopping online, simply open each store’s website in your browser and go one by one. When you’re finished with one store close it out. Avoid clicking back and forth as that can instigate feelings uncertainly that you wouldn’t find shopping in a store. In other words, it helps you stay focused!
  • Fourth, shop in the sale section first!!!!! I don’t remember the last time I bought clothing for full price. Stores want to excite you into buying the seasons hottest clothes, but you have the power to wait. So do just that! Wait until February to buy winter clothing. Wait until September to buy summer clothes. Getting a good deal strikes notes of happiness and joy at the register, so you can say goodbye to buyers remorse!
  • Finally, know when to call it quits. If you’re not feeling it, don’t force it. If I force myself to continue shopping after the feeling of displeasure has settled in, I end up buying things that I hate, don’t fit right, or I leave with nothing and my time is completely wasted. Shopping should be an exciting and joyous opportunity to find something new. So please, don’t be afraid to call it quits.

Shopping with a plan, will bring ease and success. Imagine you are a graduate student putting together a final thesis. You find inspiration, you plan, then execute. If there’s something you think I missed, tell me in the comments!

Red

The color red has been associated with a plethora of life’s elements. Whether alerting us of immanent threat, or indicating extreme passion and love on Valentine’s Day. Needless to say, the color red can insight quite a dichotomous conversation!

As for myself, the color red is most associated with power and confidence. When I slip into a red shirt, or red pants I find myself ready for battle. Whether it’s the battle of my New York City commute, the line at Trader Joe’s in Manhattan, or the battle of a presentation at work. No matter the occasion, I’m ready.

But the most iconic of red items that I find in my bag of tricks, is tube of red lipstick. Red lips have been traced back centuries by historians. Its significance in various early civilizations indicates an innate human desire to decorate our bodies with color in order to display some kind of message to the rest of society. For example, in the early 1900’s teenage girls desired the color red painted on their lips to express their womanhood, while many adult women viewed wearing red lips as an act of rebellion against society.

As I stand in front of the mirror in my bathroom and coat my lips with the matte cream-like substance, I am launched into a universe where I am on top. On top of the mountain of success. I’ve reached my goals, and I’ve created something memorable. (I mean who doesn’t want to feel like they’ve created something worth remembering?) As beauty guru Elizabeth Arden once said, “…The streak of red steadies trembling lips. For one poignant moment, the little stick takes on the significance of a sword.” I don’t think I’ve ever read a more relatable statement (well at least about lipstick).

I find that a bold red lip brings a sense of ease to an entrance. It settles the nerves and calms the heart. While simultaneously igniting a fire within. When was the last time you felt a fire within? Maybe today is the day to feature red.

Favorite Stores

Okay, so here’s a top five list of places that I love to shop, and what I love to buy at those locations.

  1. Zara
    1. Pants – they carry great high waisted pants that seem to fit wonderfully. I usually go for a medium in all their wears.
  2. Loft
    1. Business basics – Loft carries wonderful business basics and a petite line! For those of us who are on the shorter side, it really is a relief when it comes to buying pants. The feature photo above displays one of the first blazers I bought from the loft a number of years ago. Still looks good in my opinion!
  3. Buffalo Exchange
    1. If I’m in the mood for something funky, off brand, or more vintage looking, I’ll go to the local Buffalo Exchange in Astoria Queens. It feels better to buy used clothing as opposed to a big box chain. The prices are fair, and there’s always something unique.
  4. J. Crew
    1. Recently I’ve desired more cotton in my wardrobe. J. Crew is a good place to find quality cotton shirts that are business ready and fashionable. I could do without the larger price tag, but that’s where the sale shopping comes into play! The feature photo of this post includes a great pair of plaid pants I found on super sale.
  5. Uniqlo
    1. My favorite collaboration at Uniqlo is the Merimekko line. The patters are so fun and the quality of the fabric is great. I have a dress I found back in November of 2019 that has held up really well, and whenever I wear it to the office heads turn with compliments!

Telling a Story

Fashion is more than an outfit. It’s more than a closet full of multiple outfits. Fashion is a tool that we can all use to tell a story. It’s a story of who we are, and who we want to be as time goes on. In order to discover my own story through fashion I organized the clothing in my closet in chronological order. Now, I graduated from college in 2017, so in the past few years one would assume that my closet became “older” more “professional” in the sense. I wouldn’t argue with that conclusion. As I look at the clothing I see how my very colorful and bold feminine style morphed into solids and blazers.

If you were to do the same, what would you see? Did your style change? If it did, what do you think prompted that shift? Did you decide to shop at a new store? Did you get a new job? Did you break up with a partner and decide to mix things up? Try to relate life events to the change in style and you might reveal more than you thought possible about your life.

Much like photographs, your clothing tells a story. But more importantly, it allow us to tell a story about who we are to the world around us. It can also tell us what we should part with and donate. If you can look back at an article of clothing from 5 or 6 years ago and feel disconnected with the image that item used to project, or you don’t think it fits the image your clothing of “today” projects, then what purpose is it serving?

As I looked to the “today” items in my own closet, I came up with three words that described my image.

  1. Bold
  2. Powerful
  3. Neat

As I pondered those words I realized that if I think about my personhood, I aspire to be bold, powerful and neat. I look up to people who exude power, and confidence. While it might seem silly, projecting what we aspire on the outside can have a profound impact on how we view ourselves and the world around us.

Try to describe your outfits. Pick three words for various time periods of your closet. See how those words have evolved. I guarantee those same words will in some way correlate to the changes you’ve made in your own life. Whether for the better or worse, our closets have lots of secrets, and why not bring those secrets out into the open? At the very least it can help us decide what to keep, what to get rid of, and what to look for the next time we set food inside a clothing store (or go surfing on the internet).

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