Playing Dress Up

Playing dress up with granny’s boots

A young girl about 3 or 4 years old smiling happily. Playing dress up in a pair of ladies brown leather knee high boots with her navy tartan mini kilt and cream jumper. Standing on a swirly 1970s livingroom carpet

This photo always makes me smile!

It represents pure happiness, and uninhibited joy in self-expression.  And an early sign perhaps of my lifelong passion for all things style – and boots!

It reminds me how much I used to love playing dress up.  Usually with my mum and my granny’s old clothes and make-up when I was allowed.  On this occasion, I think I must have commandeered my granny’s boots when she took them off during a visit to our house.  (I recognise the amazing carpet!)

If only we could hold onto this feeling of joy as we grow up!  I for one, haven’t always felt able to be this free to express my emotion, my personality, and my style as an adult.

Life gets in the way

Somehow the inhibitions and anxieties manage to creep in and keep us small.  We are not born with these, but we learn them through our experiences.  We absorb ideas from our peers, teachers, colleagues, and family as we go through life.

Maybe this is something you can identify with too?  You play it safe, trying to meet expectations, and subsequently lose a little bit of the real you along the way?

Life takes over and we fall into a routine instead of embracing the chance of playing dress up.  As a result, we start to dress more out of habit rather than by design.  Gravitating to a sort of self-imposed uniform much of the time.  Because it is familiar and easy when we don’t have the time or the energy to think too hard about what to wear.

Sometimes, like in my case, we end up in jobs that just don’t inspire us.  Working in an environment where we simply don’t fit in, and struggle to be heard.  Feeling out of sync with our authentic self.

This often results in our clothes becoming a security blanket that we hide behind, almost as if we are wearing an invisibility cloak.  Whereas, at other times we might try and stand out or be noticed, but somehow it doesn’t work out.  And we stand out a bit too much, but not in a good way!

Our confidence takes another knock, and we go back to playing it safe, retreating once more to our comfort dressing rut.

Dressing up again

Do you feel ready to break this cycle and step outside your comfort zone?  And if you do, where will you start?  Do you have a clear sense of your style anymore?  Or an image you would like to portray?

A lot will depend on where you are in your life right now.  For instance, I work with clients who are ready for a change – in either their careers or their lifestyle.  Usually they are lacking in the confidence to put themselves out there.  But they know that they need to be seen in a different light to make the right impression.  And they want to show they belong whilst being able to look and feel like their best selves every day.

One thing that the COVID-19 lockdown has taught us is that dressing down and hibernating in comfort clothes is a novelty that can soon wear off.  We want to feel inspired and energised again.

Do you enjoy playing dress up?  What do you wear that brings you joy?


black and white image of woman standing with her hands on her hips and silhouetted against the background - features blurred

 

 

 

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