Right, hands up who has been getting dressed over lockdown?
And no, I don’t mean changing out of pj’s, putting on a pair of pants/knickers/thong (whatever your preference) and then basically putting a PJ equivalent of joggers/leggings with an equally slouchy jumper of hoody.
I mean d.r.e.s.s.e.d.
Actual clothes that are hanging in your wardrobe that when put together resemble an outfit not a pyjama party.
I have. (na – nana – naaa- nah!)
I didn’t to start with.
The novelty of no school run, work or being seen by people was bliss and every morning like a weekend.
However I soon started to feel well….bleurgh…for want of a better word.
I didn’t feel energised, motivated or even myself. Just this slob that wanted to spend her days on the sofa and watch Netflix, sorry, Cbeebies!
Don’t get me wrong – there is absolutely nothing wrong with your comfy clothes.
In fact in 2015 to coincide with Fashion Week, mental health charity Mind actually ran a campaign called #mycomfortclothes on social media celebrating them.
(not sure I would be sharing a picture of myself in my comfort clothes…even my husband is shocked at the sight sometimes!)
There is something comforting and familiar about them. We don’t have to worry about tight buttons, zips or uncomfortable fat bulges (love handles!) and after a long hard day they can help ease the stress, help us relax and feel more at ease.
This connection is why there are several clothing brands popping up now designing casual basics with a strong message highlighting issues Mental Health.
Amazing brand Behind A Smile do casual wear, hoodies, Tees etc all with awesome designs (I have just placed an order for Tee) that support mental health, using their launches and marketing to spread awareness and with profits going to support organisations too.
WhatLabel uses accessories and sports apparel to promote their message of positivity and wellness with a more specific message aimed at autism and mental health.
The thing that has always fascinated me, from my early days in a fitting room to now being a Personal Stylist, is the link with the clothes we wear and how that makes us feel.
The message we are sending out to the world, and ourselves.
By this I don’t just mean wearing a branded T-shirt and letting the message on the front do the talking for you.
I mean what are we saying to the world about who we are.
Take for instance, the school run.
The school gates are as judgmental for mums as a catwalk runway.
Here are the general assumptions (any mums reading this – please correct if I am wrong with any of them)
Knackered Leggings, T-shirt & tattered trainers – you care more about what your child looks like than yourself.
Jeans & T-shirt – Easy to put on, made effort to get dressed. Cool mum
Skirt & trainers – Trendy look, Even cooler mum
Skirt & heels – Obviously going to work as dressed a bit fancier than the above.
Anything & heels – Super dressed up fancy mum
Outfit with red/bold lipstick – Wow someone woke up feeling good this morning (interestingly this could mean the opposite)
Pj’s – really?
Workout gear (nice, coordinated, smart) – she’s going to a fancy yoga class
Workout gear (whatever can find in drawer) – going for a run or to local cheap & cheerful gym
I’m not saying that’s what every school gate is like, but generally there is judgement and these assumptions are usually completely wrong.
One day, I put on my most fancy work out gear (Sweaty Betty leggings still on my wish list…more like a TK Maxx special) in a bid to put a spring in my step, put the message out there I was feeling energised, ready for my yummy mummy home yoga video.
Well let me tell you the message was far from the reality.
Morning started well, pranced up to school, did drop off with that slightly smug feeling my workout gear was creating, even made myself a smoothie.
That’s where it ended. Buddy then smeared chocolate all over me, spilt his drink so my sports bra and cleavage underneath were soaked and then every time I tried to do a yoga move he proceeded to either lay underneath/on me or the mat or throw things at my head.
To top it off he found a thread coming off my nice leggings, which he pulled and then proceeded to laugh as the ankle started to unravel.
Talk about jolt down to reality.
Needless to say I felt more the fool for spending the day in my fancy clothes pretending to be someone I clearly wasn’t, than sitting on the mat actually being who I was – a mum trying to keep my shit together in lockdown!
**Disclaimer I am partial to a bit of yoga..love it in fact…but unfortunately not quite one of the super stylish yogi’s you see. Clearly.
Anyways, let’s bring all this rambling waffle to a point.
I have learnt through lockdown that it’s ok to some days dress like a slob.
It’s ok to put my stretchy pants on with the intention of doing yoga but not quite getting round to it.
If this makes me feel good.
It’s not ok if dressing like this everyday starts to make me feel, well, like crap.
Because then its not #mycomfortclothes its more #mydownwardspiralclothes
I have realised that it’s important that I get up and I get d.r.e.s.s.e.d.
That I put on actual clothes, like jeans, skirts and tops.
Clothes I might have worn if we went to meet friends, shopping or for some lunch.
Clothes that when I put them on I recognise myself.
The great thing about this is it then compels you to actually put make up on!
You can remind your family members what your face looks like when you highlight your lovely eyelashes and go from bared faced Minnie to dolled up Dolly!
It feels good.
It gives me purpose for my day.
Whether that’s Zooming all day (apparently there is now something called Zoom fatigue!?) or just pottering, it helps make today different from tomorrow.
It has also led me to then pulling out some old clothes and having a try on, wearing different combos.
Some of which Mr N is not so keen……ah who cares! It’s not like he has to stand next to me in public!
If it makes you feel better, sod it.
****I would just like to say that mental health is a big subject and I know that sometimes it’s not as simple as putting on a different outfit to make you feel better.
Putting on a different outfit can help you pretend you are ok, help you hide behind the fake smile, when really you are not.
Clothes and its escapism helped me and my waffle is my way of sharing that, but for so many I know it’s not enough. If you are one of those, don’t be afraid to get help, speak out and find what can help you.