Expressing Selfhood through Fashion

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Fashion is an expression of one’s inner self or selfhood. With conveying self-expression through fashion, comes the articulation of self-identity; showing the world who you are through your fashion choices and using your clothes to tell the world something about yourself. Our Fashion Editor, Shameena, guides us to realise selfhood through fashion, in the weekly column, exclusively for Different Truths.

“Fashion is not necessarily about labels. It’s not about brands. It’s something else that comes from within you.” ~ Ralph Lauren.

Recap: What is Fashion to you? Fashion might mean to one person can be different to the next! Fashion can be just a method of utilising clothing to some, a form of art or religion to other. Fashion to some is playfulness, a conception of escapism or an act of disguise.

What is Selfhood? How do you accomplish it? How is it linked with clothing?

Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is an expression of one’s inner self or selfhood. With conveying self-expression through fashion, comes the articulation of self-identity; showing the world who you are through your fashion choices and using your clothes to tell the world something about yourself.


In my styling class, I always emphasis on “Selfhood”. Our sense of well-being, of contentedness, of meaningfulness, of how we perceive our personal identity – all these relate directly to the individual’s notion of selfhood. Without that sense of self t, ere’s nothing to which we might hope to attach or attribute to. When it comes to clothing, we find our understanding of our own sense of selfhood somewhat shaky. Especially when the concept of fashion trend complicates it. We can’t quite grasp that self within which we believe somehow inhabits our mind and body.

The first step towards the road map for understanding selfhood is to learn to Love Yourself. Some of the important ways of inner bonding to keep learning and practicing to result in loving yourself are:

1. Accepting What is: Do you treat yourself as well as you treat your friends and family? People find it easy to be supportive and understanding to others, but fail to be self-compassionate by berating themselves for perceived failures like overweight, not exercising, short or tall etc. Compassionately embracing your body and willing to feel and take responsibility for all your feelings helps to move towards loving yourself. Clothes fit on you not just because of its fine cuts, but by accepting and loving your own body first. This helps you to stay away from staying focused in your head, judging yourself, turning to addictions to numb out, or making someone else responsible for your feelings.

2. Limiting Beliefs: The beliefs you hold to be true make up the fabric of your experience. The stronger those beliefs, the more they seem unshakeable, and the more you will find evidence to support them. When we understand what drives us, and why we think the thoughts we do, we are empowered to make transformational changes in our life. I’d seen my clients with many limited beliefs they are identified with and ingrained as a part of who they are. Like, the feeling of being not good enough to wear certain clothes and cuts that suits them, the feeling of not having the ability to carry out certain clothes etc. So the first step is to stop identifying with or defining yourself based on what you believe. A great way to identify your limiting beliefs is to look at the areas of your life that are not working and ask yourself questions. Question all of the conclusions you have about what you think to be true, fixed or possible. Then do something to break the pattern of your limiting belief by suspending your judgment and taking some kind of action to test your assumptions.

3. The Need to Impress Others: “Integrity is being the same person in your house that you are on the street.” How can you be comfortable with yourself if you feel the need to impress or seek validation of other people? There are reasons why you might be trying to impress others, and it is worthwhile thinking about what it is about this behaviour that entices you exactly. Ask yourself what you like about impressing others? How it makes you feel and how it impacts your life?

Fashion is not to make you more beautiful, but also to reassure and give confidence. So always dress to impress, but to impress yourself. Any time you’re doing things with the goal of boosting a resume, being popular or marketing to others, you should internalise it. Make your goal to impress yourself, not just the other people around you. Clothes have power over your mind! You become more powerful in whatever you do if the action is performed for its own sake rather than as a means to protect, enhance or conform to your role identity. And that power ignites only when you believe in yourself.

4. Resistance to Change: “Fashion” and “fad” are interestingly intertwined. Fashion is something which is always present. It keeps changing, it keeps transforming, it keeps adapting itself to the changing society, changing times, and changing industries; whereas a fad is a fashion which stays for a very short period; it does not change, it just vanishes after a time or fades away. As soon as one fad fades, another one becomes popular. Do not become a victim of such fad!

It is necessary to keep adapting to the changing time, whether it’s life or fashion. Fashion bloomed out of selfhood or existing fashion trend with rational changes that fits your personal lifestyle is called fusion. Some people resist such adaptation. Fusion is unique, fusion never fades unless you want to change. Fusion gives you the liberty to adapt changes, confidence, and self-esteem. Fusion standout fad.

One of the most common reasons for resistance is fear of the unknown. People will only take active steps toward the unknown if they genuinely believe or feel – that the risks of standing still are greater than those of moving forward in a new direction. Resistance can also stem from perceptions of the change that people hold. Following fad becomes a status quo. Hence, people who feel they’ll be worse off at the end of the change are unlikely to adapt or give it their full support.

Allowing the truth of who you are, accepting yourself as what is and loving yourself with compassion – means to rule your life by stopping the struggle and learning to move with the flow of your life and your self-hood. That entice birth of new fashion within you!

Fashion awareness and knowing your own body shape is good fashion = good fit! What body shape are you? Stay tuned for my upcoming article on Different Truths.


©Shameena Abdurahiman

Photos from the internet and by the author.

#Fashion #FashionFunda #SelfFashion #ExpressionOfFashion #DifferentTruths

Shameena is a Self-made independent entrepreneur, Fashion Designer and Stylist, Artist, Photographer, Fitness freak, Poet, Blogger, Graphic Designer, Life strategist and many other things. Her collections cater to a broad range of women, from classic to modern, fusion and embrace all attitudes from romantic to dramatic. She is currently situated in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.