We all possess items in our wardrobe that make us feel extraordinary. It could be a suit that empowers us or a dress that makes us feel beautiful. However, for some, clothing holds a deeper significance than mere aesthetics. While it may not have the power to save, it can assist in overcoming profound existential challenges.
"I had lost myself, and clothing helped me rediscover who I am."
The role that clothing plays in these stories should hardly come as a surprise, according to Isabelle Thomas, a personal stylist and therapist. "The clothing we choose speaks volumes about our psychological development," she explains. Our outward appearance often mirrors internal transformations. We shed personas that no longer serve us and allow suppressed aspects of ourselves to find expression.
Reconnecting with Your Body
Clothing allows us to reestablish a connection with our bodies by presenting an enhanced image of ourselves. "It possesses the ability to accentuate our forms, whether through its design, colour, or texture," notes Katia Kermoal, a psychologist and EMDR therapist. Isabelle Thomas concurs, stating, "It permits us to make peace with parts of our body we may not necessarily like. We negotiate with our clothing, even if we acknowledge it as a form of artifice. We experiment with materials, and it becomes a dance."
This process cultivates self-confidence and fosters reconciliation with one's femininity, a profound journey of self-reconstruction. "When we struggle to assert 'I exist,' it often indicates issues with self-esteem," analyzes Katia Kermoal. "We fail to nourish ourselves with the love we should have for ourselves, and this deficit can be traced back to early years when a child may have felt undeserving of their parents' love."
Therefore, the choice of colours becomes equally significant. Dwelling in dark hues can perpetuate a sense of darkness within, whereas vibrant colours can uplift one's spirits. However, it's important to remember that "clothing is not a panacea," cautions Isabelle Thomas. The path to healing is gradual and multifaceted.
But when that moment of transformation occurs, the impact is immediate. "When you feel truly comfortable in a dress and catch a glimpse of yourself, the way others perceive you changes," observes Catherine Bronnimann. A new dress can symbolize the beginning of a new chapter in life.