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Summer 2020, for most, consisted of sitting on the couch, watching Netflix series, in sweats, an old t-shirt, and a hoodie that never matched. While we may all rationalize this pandemic lifestyle by emphasizing that it was not our choice, I recently realized that we all had the ability to make a change…by changing our clothes.

I have been reflecting on this common “COVID condition” and the feelings of sadness, boredom, and frustration that I carried with me throughout the stay-in-place orders. Instinctively, I initially concluded that my daily blues was a symptom of the widely accepted quarantine lifestyle itself and continued to use this as an excuse to justify my lockdown laziness, but I have come to acknowledge that the clothes I wore actually affected my productivity and the light in which I perceived myself.

And this is true beyond a global pandemic.

Fashion can fuel our energy, positivity, motivation, and self-confidence because the ways in which we dress and present ourselves is an outward representation of our character and a manifestation of our goals. Basically, “dressing for success” has literal significance.

I discovered this deeper relationship through an episode of The Life Coach School podcast with Brooke Castillo called “Why Style Matters.” Castillo and her guest Judith Gaton, a style coach for women, brilliantly discussed the unexposed reality that the way you present yourself can completely transform your self confidence and, thus, your success. Fashion is so much more than designer labels, as Gaton states: “Style is the outward reflection of your own thoughts and feelings of yourself.” So, my quarantine habit of looking unpresentable (not even feeling the need to put on a pair of actual pants) deepend the negative thoughts I embraced, not just about enforced isolation but about myself, which sabotaged my daily attitude and brainpower. Gaton could not have said it any better: dressing yourself as your best self daily, no matter if it's for a Zoom meeting, an in-person lunch, or to do puzzles with your mom, is key for transforming and accelerating your personal potential.

As these two women discussed, it is eye-opening to examine why people put so much effort into how they look for their Instagram and social media posts, but do not present themselves in the same “put together” manner for their actual life and career. Dressing in style does not have to mean filling your closet with expensive pieces and wearing a blazer everyday; rather, it means dressing to compliment your personal style and, thus, your character. Castillo expressed the importance of habitually displaying your selfcare to convey that you do care, because what you wear is directly related to how you show up for your life. While, yes, dressing professionally and stylishly for a job interview gives the proper impression, it also makes you feel confident and powerful, which translates directly into your performance and attitude. For me, even just putting on jeans during virtual school positively changed my mentality.

Just think about it this way: “When was the last time you felt stylish and what did you do? What did you create? How did you show up? How did you walk? How did you talk? How did you hold up your head that day?” - Judith Gaton

In light of Episode 368, the first thing I did when I came home from college this spring was purge my entire closet with strict discipline, so that each hanger was hung only with an item that properly fit me and made me feel confident, so that everyday when I get dressed I will reflect my character, capabilities, and aspirations through style. My new objective is to dress and present myself with care and intent daily to never find myself in a quarantine rut again, and I hope that this reflection will empower you to similarly rethink your wardrobe.
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