How does rejection affect you style and self-esteem? Well, picture this. You put on your favorite dress to meet with some friends only to hear one of them giggle and say ‘Uhh… girl what are you wearing?’
Or, you go to your Instagram feed to see your favorite influencer, only to find that the new trend you are excited to try is considered ‘so last month’ or a ‘fashion fail.’
Your response to this may be of embarrassment or shame, which can cause you to question your sense of style and self-worth. It’s awful to experience rejection because of your personal style. But this scenario is more common than not in a world that feeds off of fast-fashion trends, the designer/ luxury lifestyle and the ‘social media’ standard of beauty. In fact, many of us, especially young women, are racing around a hamster wheel of beauty, constantly ranking ourselves based upon an unreachable standard of perfection. And because of this pressure to be fashionably perfect, many of us suffer with depression and low self-esteem.
So why is fashion, something that we put on the outside of our bodies, such a strong determinate factor of our self-esteem? Possibly, it could be that what is on the inside of us, like how we feel about ourselves, is a reflection of the clothing we wear. Surely, rejection, which often makes us feel insecure, can play a major role in how we manage our personal style.
‘Keeping up with the Joneses’
One way rejection can affect your style is by stimulating the impulse to overspend on clothing or brands that you can’t afford. Are you spending more money on expensive clothing, shoes, and handbags to fit in with a certain social class of friends? Do you make an effort to buy everything you see famous influencers wear, even though you are struggling to make ends meet? If the answer to these questions is yes, you may be experiencing low self-esteem that is triggered by your financial situation. Money or the lack there of it can make one feel less worthy than others who have more of it; and some may try to counter this feeling of unworthiness by buying things that makes them seem more well off than of their reality. Unfortunately, spending money on fashion styles that you can’t afford only boosts your confidence temporarily. In fact, it will eventually lead you to accumulate a massive amount of debt, which in turn makes you feel even worse about your finances or social status. My advice, from one woman to another, is that your fashion choices should not be controlled by what others think of you, and let alone, cause you to wipe out your bank account. There are many alternatives to the designer styles you may see on Instagram that will help you to stay up-to-date on the latest trends, or simply add to your personal style while staying within your budget.
(Check out some of these popular fall/winter 2020 alternative styles here)
Overall, it is good to note that although fashion is one important element of our physical appearance, it should not become an idol that breaks our spirit. If the people around you have an issue with you saving a few bucks (or many) on what you choose to wear, then it is time to change that social circle or unfollow that influencer!
Playing the comparison game
Are you constantly comparing your style to someone else’s style? Are you idolizing the appearance of someone to the point where you have changed your entire wardrobe to look like this person? Do you find yourself feeling low when you see another woman who is attractive and confident in her own style? If the answer is yes, then once again we are dealing with an issue of low self-esteem. When we are constantly comparing ourselves to others, we lose sight of what makes us unique with our own personal style. Social media definitely has its hand in this, as its algorithmic systems force us to see what’s trending and popular, which can make us feel the need to alter our individuality to fit the status quo. You may even be afraid to venture off the trend bandwagon because it is not widely accepted, especially when ‘influencer culture’ tells you that your style is wrong. For instance, the most trending styles in fashion this year were neutral colors (shades of white, tan, brown, blue, gray and black ) and tailored lines (pants, shirts, skirts, blazers, coats, etc.). If you like to wear prints and bold colors, while others are playing it safe with the current trend, don’t be afraid to stand out with what works best for you. If you like to dress modestly while others are getting lots of attention for showing more skin, don’t feel compelled to dress risqué if that is NOT who you are. In the end, comparison only leads you to become someone you’re not, which in the moment, may feel like an escape route to avoid the issue of low self-esteem; But in reality, those feelings of rejection or unworthiness will continue to fester over time if one does not face these issues head on.
Certainly, the best way to begin the journey of healing and moving away from those feelings of rejection is by removing yourself from spaces, whether in personal relationships or social media, that make you feel beneath or doubt what God created you to be.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.[a]Psalm 139:14 NIV
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
If you remain in an environment where you are constantly being picked on/criticized about your style or appearance, it will be very difficult to overcome the mindset of inferiority. Another way to combat rejection, especially as it relates to your finances, is to examine resources that you already have in your possession that you can use to enhance your wardrobe. You may already have a few things sitting in your closet that fit with the current trends or can lead to a new one! Most importantly, you should never sell yourself short based on what everyone else has, as that is a sure way of losing sight of the things that God has already blessed you with.
Indeed, I hope this post truly inspires you all to stay true to yourselves and know that what others may think of you doesn’t define who you are.
God bless you all, Shalom!
—- Cie W.