Breaking Out: Escaping Your Style Comfort Zone

By Deborah Ugoiwa | Edited by Aretha Uamai

Ever scroll through your Pinterest and see a style you feel particularly drawn to? You desperately wish you had the confidence (and the money) to step out of your comfort zone and try these outfits? Why must this be just a dream? Why are we so afraid to step out of our comfort zone? For most of us, seeing styles that we love on body types that aren’t similar to ours can be quite discouraging. It doesn’t quite look the same to what we saw online. Don’t fret! I’ve complied some tips and tricks to help you to overcome your fashion fears and walk confidently in your new style!

To overcome any challenge, we must first know what it is. As mentioned above, we can feel discouraged when we don’t fit the ‘ideal’ body type. This adds to the struggle of trying to find clothes that resonates with us and most importantly, make us feel comfortable. For me, it took a while to find clothes that fit my downtown girl style but also complimented my shape. Finding the right clothes has been an ongoing yet empowering journey. I’ve always struggled to view my body positively and clothes always seemed to look awkward on me. Stepping out of my comfort zone has definitely helped me to gain some much-needed confidence.

Stepping out of your comfort zone in anyway can feel like there are a million eyes on you. We become hyper aware of the possible judgment and criticism of your every move ,and in this case our fashion choices. This is called the spotlight effect. A psychological term used to describe the tendency to overestimate how much other people notice about us. Put simply we feel like we’re at the center of a stage , a spotlight shining down on us ,highlighting all of our decisions .

This may all seem very daunting but here are some tips that will help you overcome your fashion fears.

1.Find a style or styles you love. 

The most obvious step is to find a style or styles that you love. If there are multiple style you like, combine them! It’s important to ignore trends and work on finding your own personal style. Before going on spending spree, identify what you like and don’t like about this style. Create a vision board and envision how you would like to look. Think about what would look best on you and compliment your body type. What accessories might fit your new look? To save on money, root through your closet and see if some of the clothes you already have fit this style. This can also prompt you to declutter your closet if need be!

2. Start Small

The best way to start feeling more comfortable in your new style is by starting small. Introduce a piece subtly or one at a time. Start with a new accessory or shoes. Take some time to get comfortable wearing these items and slowly build your way up to more noticeable pieces like jackets or tops. The same concept can also be applied with location. Start with the grocery store, then a café, go out with your friends for a few hours, then finally wear it to college or somewhere with numerous people. As time goes on, you’ll notice that the anxiety you had around wear your new clothes will slowly but surely fade. 

3. Reassess The Way You See Yourself

The main thing that helped me in breaking out of my fashion comfort zone was reevaluating how I think about my body and fashion. I think at its core, fashion is about who you are creatively. Fashion gives us the freedom to grow or evolve who we are and who we want to be. I think we often deny ourselves of this creative process by thinking that we are the exception. 

4. It’s all in your head

Honestly, it is. That isn’t to say that your fears and concerns are valid. However, looking back on the spotlight theory, people actually pay less attention to what we are doing than we might think. An early study involving college students. They were asked to wear embarrassing t-shirts and to guess how many of their peers would notice. While only 50% of the students said that their peers would notice, only 25% actually reported noticing the shirts. As you can see, we often overestimate how much we are actually seen by others. Once we get over this cognitive bias, we can walk more freely into our new style. So, if you can’t trust anything, trust science. 

I hope after reading this article you feel a little more prepared and inspired to take the leap in overcoming your fashion fears and break out of your comfort zone. The journey may take some time but hopefully these tips will help make it easier!

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