Fashion,  Mental Health



Anxiety is a term used to describe a feeling of worry, tension and nervousness. This feeling is not unusual to you and I. In fact, anxiety is a perfectly normal response to threat. Sometimes it prepares us for action. During exams or going for a job interview, anxiety may improve our performance. Abnormal anxiety is when experiences of nervousness and worry start to take over our daily life. This is when we find ourselves worried about ordinary things.

Anxiety in fashion?

Nervousness in fashion may be easily controllable by lots of people. However, for those who already suffer from anxiety disorders, something as simple as picking an outfit may drive them into a downward spiral; causing racing thoughts and physical symptoms such as sweating  and panic. Anxiety serves a biological function to signal our bodies of oncoming danger. The extra adrenaline and the activation of sympathetic nervous system is helpful when we are in danger and perhaps chased by a wild animal in the woods. But this is less helpful in fashion.

With social media and commercialism, we are driven to look a certain way and to act a certain way otherwise we are not “cool”. While this is of very little importance to a lot of adults who already have strong personalities and are unbothered by mainstream media, this is not the case with a lot of teenagers and youngsters. Teens today measure their worth by the number of likes received, the number of retweets and other external gratification. One problem with this is that there is a lot of uncertainty in this source of confidence. And when such people do not receive approval on social media, this may lead to a lot of anxiety and even depression. An effective way that I find is helpful with fashion anxiety is having your own personal style.

Fashion Versus Style

A lot of people use these two words interchangeably but they mean very different things. Fashion is defined as a popular or the latest style of clothing, hair, decoration, or behaviour. Style is a way of doing something, especially one that is typical of a person. So style is more personal. But with advertising, magazines and social media, we are in an era of information overload. We feel the need to copy celebrities and public figures; leading us to lose our individuality and all look the same. This also makes you uncertain of your own self, causing you to change with trends and not allowing you develop your own style. Furthermore, this leads you to crave what other people have and you feel pressured to own things that you would probably be able to live without if we were not so trend driven.

What style category do I fall under?

I see a lot of people categorize style. The typical categories I have seen are Classic, Feminine, Trendy, Sporty or Tomboy-ish and Dramatic. Some others include bohemian, sexy and the list goes on. I fall under every one of these categories simply because I style myself however I like whenever I feel like it. I dislike being placed under any of these categories because this suddenly restricts my way of expressing myself. Something I am totally not fond of “restrictions”. I guess people like me would be called the “rule-breakers” in fashion.

How I developed my style

My style is influenced by my life thus far. All the countries I have lived in and cultures I have come in contact with have definitely played a part. But also my personality plays a major part in my style. I am an ambivert. Perhaps seventy percent introverted and the rest of that, extroverted. I am typically not the loudest one in the room but my style speaks volumes.

My Style

I am the girl who can wear a very mini skirt to a mall but the next day put on a fully covered clothing exposing just my face. On some days, I wear really bright colours and other days, I am more clean and minimalistic. I wear my hair however I choose to, whatever colour I find appealing and whenever I choose to. This part of my style stems from my love for change. I get bored very easily.

I am drawn to statement pieces. The clothing that people would usually see at the store and think “that is a little too much”; those are the ones that literally scream my name. I have been told in that past that my choice of clothing is easy to recognize if repeated on a different day. This way of thinking is so foreign to me. I see no reason why I should worry about other peoples opinion of me repeating a clothing item that I purchased with my own money. This right here, is the stubborn Cheryl who loves all things weird and unique.

I wear a lot of perfume. In my what I got for Christmas post, I shared my favorite fragrance of all time. I love scents and so I own loads of perfumes which I like to mix-up to create a unique fragrance. So if you are bothered by the smell of perfumes, you would not like to be around me. I learned this habit from my mother who is also a perfume lover. Being the only girl child, my closest female role model was my mother so it is only normal that I picked some attributes from her. The love of fragrances being one of them. My sense of smell is also pretty sensitive; so better perfumy scents.

My personal style involves me wearing very bold lipstick colours. From the bright reds to the blacks, I have no issue at all wearing odd colours on my lips regardless of what anyone thinks. This requires one key attribute which I have trained myself to have; Confidence.


A very important element to my style is confidence. Many people would think this is all easy for me since I am confident but I am no stranger to fashion anxiety.  I was not always confident . But just like me, you can condition your mind just like I have done in the past years. In future blog posts, I will share ways that helped me improve my confidence. With confidence, I am able to watch tens of fashion videos and ads and still not feel tempted to make a purchase that I do not need. If I ever spend my money on a clothing item, it happens because I really wanted that item. It never comes from a place of trying to impress the world around me but rather because I am happy to make that purchase for me. This lifestyle leads to less worry and stress.

Do I think everyone should develop their personal style? Absolutely. In a world where we have very little control over a lot of circumstances, it is nice to be able to have control over one thing. Your style. Your personal style is also a way of expressing yourself without actually speaking. Work on your personal style long enough and you will not only deal with anxiety and stress but you may actually improve your confidence to a level you never expected.



  • Shirley Stephenson

    Passing this on to my 25, and 23 year old daughters! Especially your essay on establishing your personal style with confidence… Absolutely LOVE it!🙌

    • Cheryl John

      Thanks so so much Shirley. Wow! Lucky girls to have a mum like you. Hope they learn a thing or two from it. xxx

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: