I was recently reading this post from decoding dress which I found really inspiring. To summarise the article she talks about how scared she was to wear a particular dress, an LBD in fact but how she ended up wearing it, I guess as a social experiment. At least that’s how I interpreted it anyway. I’d definitely encourage you taking a look and if you enjoyed it leaving a comment. This got me thinking about my own experiences and when I’ve anxiety to wear particular things.
I know I like talking about social norms and how they impact what we wear (I’m a Sociology Graduate after all). I promise I’ll be back to the straight up fashion next week. Relating it back to myself I was always scared of what people may think of me, even though I knew in reality no real harm would come from wearing a particular piece of clothing.
The biggest cause of anxiety however is not what the random passer by in the street will think but what your peer group will think. See these are the people that have the biggest influence on you. It’s highly likely that if the random stranger on the train gave you a disapproving glance you wouldn’t pay it much attention. But if one of your friends even hesitates before giving you a nod of approval it can plant that seed of doubt in your mind. Does this really suit me? Shall I put on something else?
I think it’s even more prevalent among women, I know from my own experiences that when it comes to fashion they are heavily influence by their peer group. Example: When I used to sell shoes you’d see ladies time and time again pick up a pair of shoes that they evidently loved. You’d start to talk to them about it…only for their friend to come along and make a negative remark. This would totally crush the dream. There they were teetering on the edge of investing in their first pair of Jimmy Choo’s only for their friend to come over and tell them they looked like something from Topshop. Now it doesn’t matter what I say after that… there is no coming back. Why? because their friend > me when it comes social status in their eyes. It goes back to the days when we lived in tribes, no one wants to upset the status quo and risk being ousted from the tribe.
So what can you do?
Well the first clue is in the title. Feel the fear and wear it anyway. If you like it then rock it with pride. Now if you start to do that people will start to take notice, especially those closest to you. Social pressure is a funny old thing once you crumble under it once then it’s likely to happen again and again. However, once you stand up to it you instantly take control of your life and in this instance your style. In fact that’s how your style grows, when you take risks and when you feel anxious about wearing something because you’re pushing your comfort zone. You have to realise that not everyone will like the clothes that you like, even your best friend. But that shouldn’t stop you wearing something if you genuinely like it. You’ll probably find once you start to do this those around will be encouraged by your attitude and actually start to open their own minds to trying new things. Be a leader, not a follower.