Starting at university, one of the biggest visible changes was the contrast in different fashion styles. At home, I had adjusted to the idea that the majority of people would wear the same homogenous styles of clothing: usually black jeans or skirts paired with a nice top, and generally big brand names to show that you could afford them. At Warwick, things are very different; everywhere you look, people are dressed in completely unique styles, and it’s rare to see two people dressed the same.
Since I started here, I’ve also learned that clothes are more than just something you wear. In a place with so many people, how you dress can be a big part of your identity and how you express yourself. It can also help you feel more at ease with who you are. With Valentine’s Day coming up, here are some of my thoughts regarding how to feel confident in your own clothes.
It helps me show who I truly am, beyond what degree I’m doing and what societies I belong to
If you dress nicely or just in something that makes you feel comfortable, it means you feel more confident and happy in your own skin. Although picking out clothes to wear is only a small part of everyday life, it can feel very empowering to dress in the way that you want to dress, even if it means you turn more heads than usual. Since coming to university, I have found embracing my sense of style to be uplifting rather than alienating. It helps me show who I truly am, beyond what degree I’m doing and what societies I belong to.
For students, price tags can be a big factor in picking out clothes. While everybody might be keen to chase the latest fashion trends, this is pretty much impossible on a standard student budget. Buying clothes second-hand can be a great way to not just save money but to also get your hands on unique items that nobody else will own. Going to charity shops with your friends to thrift for items is a great way to spend an afternoon and expand your wardrobe at an affordable price.
Additionally, in the digital age, you aren’t only limited to the second-hand clothes you stumble upon in charity shops. Websites, such as Depop and eBay, are a great way to browse thousands of different pre-owned clothes. These are beneficial in many ways, not only do you save your cash, but buying your clothes from other people means you also reduce your carbon footprint, as fast fashion is notoriously bad for the environment, and also means you don’t have to directly support big faceless companies. Other websites, like Etsy, even allow you to support independent creators firsthand.
I think it’s most important that we practice self-love first and foremost this Valentine’s Day
How you dress can also have a big impact on your mental health; wearing clothes that make you feel happy and stylish is one of the easiest ways to boost your own self-esteem. Even if you don’t like how your body looks, dressing it up in nice clothes can provide a sense of worth that helps build your confidence.
For as long as fashion has existed, there has always been either spoken or unspoken rules about what people should and shouldn’t wear. Despite many body positivity movements, this idea still exists in the modern age: when looking for clothes, it’s easy to make a snap judgement about whether or not something would look ‘right’ on you. In the past, I’ve also been guilty of thinking I wasn’t thin or pretty enough to wear certain clothes. It’s important that we grasp this mentality as being imposed on us by society and that we learn to reject it.
Wearing what I want to wear, rather than what I think I should wear, has helped me become much more comfortable with my body and made me more confident.
With Valentine’s Day coming up, it’s easy to get swept up in the idea that you should dress nicely in order to impress the person you’re dating. Indeed, it can be very difficult to unlearn many of the ideas we have about fashion. However, I think it’s most important that we practice self-love first and foremost this Valentine’s Day. Choosing to dress in what makes you feel most comfortable and confident is one of the easiest ways to do this.