How to Boost Your Self Esteem Clothing Challenge
Have you ever thought of doing a self esteem clothing challenge?
Let’s back up. Have you ever stared into your overstuffed closet and thought, “I have nothing to wear?” That was me for more days than I care to admit. Then one day in September I decided to sign up for something called a “Style Challenge” hosted by Alison Lumbatis at Get Your Pretty On.
I, along with about 2000 other women, was given a 33 day calendar of outfits mixing and matching 20 tops and bottoms (along with choices for footwear, jackets, and jewelry). I had no idea what to expect, having never used a capsule wardrobe before and really not giving much thought to style.
To be honest, I thought the whole thing would be a bit shallow and frivolous. It turns out it was anything but. I’m not sure why I didn’t realize that streamlining something you must do every day anyway would have such an impact on your life.
I know that moguls like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates wore the same thing every day, but I never wanted to do THAT. Guess what? Using a capsule wardrobe like this one accomplished much the same thing. I never had to think about my clothes again. So, insetad of becoming fashion-obsessed, I was actually able to think less about my clothing. And for me, that was a really good thing.
Here are the other benefits that I noticed over the course of those 33 days. Oh, and I actually did it for 66 days! Alison runs seasonal challenges and I signed up for her fall challenge. The Winter Challenge kicks off on Black Friday this year, and I will be signing up! If you struggle at all with clothing confidence or overwhelm, I think it’s a no-brainer.
Got More Compliments
This shocked me. Literally! Two random strangers complimented me on my leopard print top. This is not something I would have ever in a million years picked out myself, let alone chose to put on my body. My (nearly a teenager, not overly complimentary) daughter told me an outfit looked good and she liked one of my tops. Someone complimented me on a necklace I’ve owned for years, I think because all of a sudden I was wearing it more often.
Another point: most of the clothing I bought from the challenge came from my own closet or a thrift store. I did not spend a lot of money on this challenge but instead started wearing things I already had. That leopard print top was $3 from a thrift store. Footwear I bought new, but everything else I tried to buy secondhand when possible, both to save my wallet and the environment.
Reduced My Mental Burden
You have no idea how comorting it is when everything else in your life is stressful to have a calendar tell you what clothing you are going to wear each day. Not only that, but it reduced the amount of laundry that I had to do because pieces were being reused and I always knew when I needed to wash what clothing. This was a huge relief in terms of mental burden, something that anyone living with anxiety, depression or any other mental health challenges will appreciate.
Decluttered My Wardrobe
Okay, so I have not actually *given away* my extra clothing yet, but it is set aside in a different part of my closet. The clothing I wore over those 33 days could have easily fit on a small hanging wardrobe (this is what my daughter has in her room, and I know my clothing would have all fit on it). What the challenge taught me is that I should be wearing what I own; if I’m not wearing it then it’s just taking up space in my closet. It’s time to set it free.
Stopped Caring What People Thought
The first time I wore red shoes and a leopard print top I was sure everyone was staring at me thinking I was a weirdo. The second time I wore those pieces, I gave it less thought. And now, I actually find it funny that I’m wearing things that might be considered a little outside of my comfort zone. It’s humorous to me that someone might think something about me because of what I’m wearing. It’s just clothing after all, right?
Doing this challenge forced me to take a good hard look at my thoughts about appearances and judgments. If you struggle with worry about what other people think about you, this clothing challenge is a good way to confront that worry. In this way, it’s almost like a self esteem clothing challenge as much as it is a style challenge.
Started Taking Better Care of My Things
Normally if I spilled something on a sweater I would not be all that concerned. Oh well, I’ll just change it, would be my typical response. But no, when you are doing a style challenge, every piece of clothing matters.
For some reason my neutral cardigan (similar to this one) is the one that took the most abuse and got the most stains. As much as I tried to avoid them they happened, and I soon realized I am a truly messy eater. So, I started trying to be more careful and take better care of my things. Which is a good side effect of a style challenge!
Stopped Buying Unnecessary Things
I used to buy things because they were on sale or I thought they looked nice, without any thought given to whether they fit into my wardrobe or how I would wear them. The past few months, I feel as though I actually spent less money overall on clothing that I might have otherwise.
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Yes, there were some upfront purchases, but I made sure to shop second-hand when possible, and this was made much easier by the fact that I knew exactly what it was that I was looking for. Other than the shoes and boots that I purchased, pretty much everything was from thrift shops including a jean jacket, utility jacket, and motorcycle jacket.
Felt More Confident
On the rare day that I wasn’t feeling up to putting on my challenge clothes, I noticed the difference in my confidence level. When my clothing was put together and thoughtful, I felt more confident overall. Maybe this shouldn’t be the case, but how well you take care of yourself will affect your confidence. A style challenge is an easy way to feel more confident each day.
Started Decluttering My House (What?)
Okay, so this was totally unexpected, but I realized the premise of the style challenge could extend to the rest of my house. I won’t go into details on that here (I wrote another post about it), but suffice it to say I’ve started an “anti-decluttering” movement of my own in my house. Decide what’s most important, and the rest will fall away.
What did I learn in those 33 days? That I can wear things outside my comfort zone (and be complimented on them), that having a plan for my clothing reduces my mental burden and helps declutter my wardrobe, that at some point people’s judgment of you becomes humorous, that it’s better to have a few things and care for them, and that confidence can be learned through osmosis (you develop the confidence you project).
Will you join me for the next challenge? Challenges start every season and thousands of women sign up for this fun learning experience. There’s also a Facebook group that I think is one of the best parts of joining the challnege. You get to see how other women put together their outfits, and post photos of yourself (if you wish) to receive positive feedback from the group (trust me, it’s all positive!).