I’ve been following this blog ever since freshman year of high school and have always looked forward to your next post. I’m a junior in college now and have recently been struggling with social anxiety. It’s been a tough couple of months and it’s been showing in how I dress. Being in social settings makes me extremely uncomfortable and insecure. So I’ve been dressing in only dark colors (black, dark gray) to avoid being noticed, but dressing this way only makes me feel even more insecure. I’m scared of going out of my comfort zone but at the same time want to venture out and feel like myself again. I usually wear sweaters and leggings/skinny jeans with black boots and love minimalist styles and menswear. I’m pretty short at 5 feet with a pear-shaped body and feel tiny compared to everyone else.
I really hope you could give me some tips to make me feel okay again. It would mean a lot to me. Thank you!
Eliza, 20/ USA
Thanks for trusting my advice all these years, Eliza. You have no idea how much those words mean to me. I do wish I could give you a hug right now, though. Do what you can to take care of yourself, okay? You know, eat, shower, study, get some sun, that sort of thing. A routine helps a lot, trust me.
Here are my suggestions, plus maybe a bit of life advice at the end, if you don’t mind.
Sticking To Black
If you want to stick to a predominantly black palette, darling, that is perfectly fine. The nice thing about washing all-black clothing is that you don’t have to worry about colors bleeding – they all just turn blacker! 🙂 But if you do prefer an all-black wardrobe, you can spice it up a little using different textures and shades. I wrote about it about a month ago in response to someone’s workwear dilemma but you might be able to apply some of what I suggested to your closet, too.
Add Another Color That’s Not Black
Consider lighter shades of gray to your existing wardrobe, Eliza, plus another color that you’re comfortable wearing. How about a shade of blue? It doesn’t have to be starkly different from the others, but just enough to add a splash of color to your outfit. You can even go for darker shades of red, pink, green or purple. I’m actually quite partial to burgundy and a deep plum — they add just enough contrast when I want to go all gray. It makes everything look less gloomy.
Mix Your Menswear
It seems we both like menswear, yay! You can rock your menswear pieces like vests, shirts and boyfriend-cut blazers with sweaters and tees through simple layering. They’ll work with boots, leggings and skinnies too (just roll up the cuffs), but if you want to go a little preppy, try wearing them with lace-up oxfords, or loafers.
Have you tried wearing those leggings with inset skirts? They combine something familiar to you (the leggings) with something different and new (the skirt), and they come in the colors that you usually wear which are black and gray. I find that they’re surprisingly versatile, just like regular leggings, and you can wear them with what you currently have. I suggest you go with the ones that have A-line or flared skirts because they’ll look awesomely good with boots!
Wear a Talisman
I read in an article that the Duchess of Cambridge, the former Kate Middleton, carries a clutch all the time. Not because she might be asked for some ID (not likely in the near future), but because it saves her from potentially awkward situations. Such as when she cannot shake someone’s hand due to cultural or religious customs when she makes state visits on behalf of the British monarchy. And you know what? I think that’s an idea you could borrow. Hence the talisman.
It doesn’t have to be anything fancy like a medallion or a religious artifact. It can be an accessory like a brooch, necklace, bracelet or earrings in the form of an animal or symbol, or a fashion piece such as a scarf, hat or even a pair of socks in your signature color or pattern. Your talisman represents your best and true self, or what you aspire to be. Its real significance is only known to you and you alone, and this is your secret weapon. Know that when you wear your talisman, you’re anchoring yourself in who and what you really are: a good, decent, kind and courageous human being.
Please note that yours truly will take a break next week for Easter and will return to regular programming on April 21st. A Happy Easter, dear ones, and don’t eat all the chocolate!
P.S. If you’re sending a question, please don’t forget to include any helpful information about your body type or shape, your tastes or personality. You can include a selfie (link only please) or a photo of your clothes (which I will never publish without pre-approval). Thank you!
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