Mental health is often overlooked, even now. The conversation around mental wellbeing has increased in volume and sensitivity in recent years, but some messages still don’t get through. Especially with men. Taking care of your mind and emotions is just as important as taking care of your body. One in five adults experience mental health issues at some point – and that only includes those individuals who are self-aware enough to report it.
Feeling emotionally or mentally distraught is not conducive to an individual’s success and happiness. While those things look different for everyone, keeping a clear head will ultimately help you achieve your goals.
It’s easy to write off fashion as superficial, but it can help with your sense of identity and feeling comfortable in your own skin. Those things are intimately tied to a number of mental health issues, so we don’t think it’s glib to give it some serious time and attention.
Fashion as a Form of Self-Expression
Dressing well has a different definition depending on your style and context. Whether you’re a punk, a techwear nerd or a dedicated follower of old-school tailoring, putting effort into your fashion choices allows you to express yourself. If you prefer a minimalist wardrobe or drape yourself in Gucci, the way you dress is a reflection of your true self. We like to think of it as a matter of pride. A source of confidence and solace.
In a more meta sense, expressive mediums – like art, music, and fashion – also aid mental health by allowing deeper exploration of the self. Not only can this help you process emotions, but it may help you relate to others and communicate in a clearer, more meaningful way. Artistic expression has been shown to improve mood, behaviour, cognition, and functioning. Who’s to say that doesn’t include getting dressed in the morning?
There are many reasons why a person could lack confidence. There are internal and external factors and most of them are extremely common. The messages you receive from friends, family and the media may affect your confidence. The effects are typically highlighted in the female population, but low self-esteem impacts men, too.
Again, this can sound oversimplified, but upping your style game is one way to circumvent negative thinking. Follow fashion trends and figure out what you would enjoy incorporating into your wardrobe. Dress for yourself, not anyone else – although studies show that others’ perception changes toward well-dressed individuals. This shouldn’t be your main goal, but it may help reassure you going into social situations.
Social anxiety is prevalent, affecting upwards of 8.2 million adults in the UK alone. It was an issue long before social media apps or lockdowns became a thing – although those things certainly exacerbate the problem. Ape exists to prove you can confidently dress for any occasion with the right preparation. Just do a little research on:
- Easy, everyday style
- Business and business-casual best practices for the workplace
- Various party attire requirements
- Seasonal wedding attire
Once you have a solid collection of pieces, you’ll be able to quickly put together an outfit that you feel confident in – regardless of the situation.
Better Body Positivity
These days, body positivity is brought up more regularly on social platforms and in the media, not least because it affects mental health in many ways. Both men and women dwell on body image. It’s universal to want to make a good impression on others. Although men may be thought of as “quieter” about body negativity, there’s an equal need for positivity across all genders.
Again, style can help assuage insecurities. We’re not suggesting that clothes are a substitute for self love, but if you feel more confident in what you are wearing, you will feel better about your body – and the way it is perceived by others. Tips for dressing to suit your body include:
- Figuring out your body shape and researching what suits you
- Finding out what size, styles and silhouettes fits your body
- Tailoring suits, jackets and trousers to fit your unique shape
- Wearing darker colours for a slimming effect
- Drawing attention to your favourite parts of your body
When researching ways to dress, remember that too much attention to this sort of thing may exacerbate any body image issues. Learn enough to conceal your insecurities if it helps. Even better, learn that you can wear whatever makes you happy.
Tips for Getting Dressed for a Better Mood
Dressing confidently may help your overall self-esteem, but clothing can also boost your mood in the moment. If you are ever having a bad day, lack motivation or just need a pick-me-up, try:
- Dressing up for work – even if it’s for remote work in your home office
- Wearing happy, energising, or calming colours – like blue, orange and yellow
- Coordinating your outfits with your preferences – by picking seasonal colours that match your skin tone or adding texture with sustainable fabrics
- Integrating a piece of clothing outside your comfort zone – that you may have read about on a fashion advice site or seen on a celebrity
- Donning workout gear – to give yourself that extra push to exercise
At the end of the day, the happier you are with your clothing choices, the better you will feel. Style as a form of self-expression serves as an emotional outlet and a way to tailor how you want to be seen by others.
Just remember that balance is key, and integrating fashion into your daily routine can be as simple or complex as you need. Don’t overthink it, but research enough to be comfortable with picking out a stunning outfit for every day of the year. Your mental health will thank you for it.