How Clothing Can Become Your Armor

Do you ever wake up some mornings wishing you could cancel the whole day? Like you would give anything to shut your eyes and wake up 24 hours later. You just aren’t feeling like yourself and you don’t know how to return to your normal state. It happens to me constantly. I just don’t have the energy to take on the day, yet time and time again I find the strength to leave my bed.

Whether it is a bad mental health day or it's caused by several external stressors, some days are just destined to be bad days. Try as I might, the days must go on whether I say so or not. What I do have a say in though, is how I respond to those bad days.

Living in Los Angeles, it almost seems like a requirement that you must be attractive in order to live here. All the winners of the genetic lottery seem to know each other, It's as if they were all destined to be friends. The energy of the city can be draining. While the beautiful people suck up each other’s awesome, I wake up feeling like a potato.

I have to clarify, I’m not saying that I don’t know my own worth or recognize my own beauty. Unfortunately, it is easy to feel vulnerable and insecure in a sea of seemingly confident and beautiful people (even if they may be faking it). It’s very easy to second guess how you fit in the patchwork of your own community when skill and charm radiate off of everyone you meet. This is where confidence is paramount.

A good source of confidence for me is my clothing. While it’s a good creative outlet for me, it’s also a practical science. Because I wear an ankle brace, I tend to misdirect where your eyes travel on my outfits, making it the last thing you notice. I misdirect not out of shame, but because it’s not the prettiest thing to wear. If they had a more chic option at the orthotic center, I would have definitely made the switch. But I have to admit, there is a part of me that’s glad when a person doesn’t pick up on my handicap right away. It tells me their impression of me isn’t colored by pity. They either love me or hate me for my spirit, and that is all I can ask.

Also, NOT ALL CLOTHING IS MADE EQUAL. So, when I find something that works for me, I love it for a long time to come. My clothing is my extension of me when I can’t find my voice. It is the subtle exclamation to a statement.
My outfits make me feel stronger when I’m feeling meek. My clothing makes me feel happy when I’m feeling down. My closet is the arsenal that allows me to take on the world, even when I feel two inches tall. The simple pleasure of dressing up makes me feel like I’m well on my way to having my life together.

I say, “Dress well, Be well.” How we carry ourselves outwardly is a reflection of our own perceived value. How can I move forward in life, if I can’t ever give myself the leg up to get there? I’ve had a friend tell me more than once that if you choose the clothing you wear with care, you’ll treat yourself with care. It's like a falling set of dominoes. If you lead a life with good intentions, all aspects of life will be filled with good vibes.

So, if you need to wear that matching two-piece set to the gym, go for it. If you need to wear heels to the first day of class, I salute you. If Doc Martens serve as your dress shoes, I’m proud of you. Why? Because you’re trying. I see you and you’re valid. It may all seem like small fries in comparison to life’s struggle, the idea that wearing your favorite pair of Doc Martens can change your whole day. But when it feels like the chips are stacked against you, shoes can be a form of self-care. At that moment, they’re not just boots, they are everything.

- Bianca A.

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