Have you ever looked in the mirror and thought, “Wow, I’m a grown-ass human being capable of making all my own decisions, with a closet full of clothes, and I still have no idea what I would like to wear today?”
You’re definitely not alone! But take a closer look:
This feeling is about more than having a momentary fashion crisis; there are deeper implications than that. It’s about your sense of self and the feeling that you have no personal style. And there’s a term going around that describes it perfectly.
It’s not a clinical term, but “style dysmorphia” might be the best way to define what’s happening in those moments.
Style dysmorphia is the inability to make sense of what you like to wear. It’s lacking the ability to lean into a personal style. And it’s really no wonder how or why it occurs.
Everything from the fashion industry to social media and the patriarchal systems we’ve been born and raised within can make us feel that what we like to wear isn’t what we “should” be wearing.
Whether it’s a trend that we’re socialized to believe doesn’t “work” for our bodies, or the social pressures of our everyday lives making us feel like our taste in clothes just isn’t right, style dysmorphia prevents us from seeing what we like and wearing what we like.
One way to understand how this mental block can arise is this:
Imagine that since childhood you loved eating strawberries until one day you got an electric shock every time you reached for one. Would you be able to tell whether you still enjoyed strawberries after that? Probably not. The pain of the shock would change your feelings about your favorite food. You probably wouldn’t like them so much anymore, or at least you wouldn’t want to try eating one.
Our style preferences have been skewed to fit someone’s else’s idea of beauty our entire lives.
We aren’t raised to wear what feels good, we’re raised to wear what *looks* good — and what looks good is most often determined by outside opinions.
So after a lifetime of dressing for other people, it’s no wonder that, when faced with the question, “but what do I like?” many of us don’t know.
You might be struggling with style dysmorphia if you would describe your style as plain, or if you don’t feel like you have one. Sure, you could be a person who just isn’t into fashion that much, but would you really be here if that were the case?
Today, push yourself to find one item that you like. Something you’ve never worn before.
Scour Pinterest, check out Instagram — ask yourself, “do I like the way this looks on them?” Then ask yourself why you’ve never bought one of those items.
If the answer is, “because I wouldn’t look good in it” or “because [someone] would criticize me”... it might be time to show up for yourself and let the face that greets the world represent the person you are inside.