Putting your best foot forward: perhaps you like to let your shoes do the talkinginstagram: drmartensofficial

During Easter term, it’s very easy to slip into the mindset that exams take priority over pretty much everything else in life. Things fall to the wayside. Pleasures like social engagements, hobbies, regular exercise and general self-care slide glumly down the priority list, the all-consuming beast of revision rearing its ugly head in their place. In this context, setting time aside to spend on one’s appearance seems laughable. With the countdown on to the toll of the exam hall bell, wasting precious minutes curating an outfit is a frivolous indulgence, no? 

“Spending fifteen minutes, or a mere 1.04% of your day, making mindful wardrobe choices will set you up for a calmer, more confident and in control day ahead”

Not so. What we wear is far more than a material matter. It’s a fundamental part of our identity and important in shaping how we’re viewed. Think about it: when heading to an event which involves meeting people for the first time, the question of what to wear becomes particularly vexing. This is because through our clothing, we are offering the viewer an important insight to our personality. We pick garments that emphasise certain aspects of our character and fear misrepresenting ourselves to those who are yet to know us. 

Come Easter term, this titbit of knowledge may seem interesting but ultimately redundant; the social drought leading up to exams hardly lends itself as a time of sartorial renaissance. And when your fellow soldiers in the trenches of the college library are all clad in the uniform of sweatpants and unwashed T-shirts, is there any point in paying attention to what we wear?

“Choosing an outfit that makes you feel secure, confident and just generally rad can lead to a whole day’s worth of mini motivation boosts”

Yes, I would argue, there is. Crucially, our clothing isn’t just highlighting our best bits for the benefits of others, it’s also a way of reminding ourselves. Clothing captures the positive values we’re enticed by and wish to emulate; evidence of these values can be found in every garment we put on. Some of us may be drawn to the warmth and acceptance of an old fluffy jumper. Others, the tough-girl capability of a pair of Doc Martens or the slick, collected cool in a silver watch strap. Whatever it may be, in choosing the right outfit we have the power to build ourselves into a role that reinforces the qualities we need to take on the day. 

Why not make your outfit as colourful as your revision notes?instagram: okaykayblog

This is important. When we’re emotionally and mentally up against the wall, we should find favour with any outlet that helps us take on a strong, positive mindset. Here, clothing has a huge role to play. As legendary street style photographer Bill Cunningham once said, “Fashion is the armour to survive the reality of daily life.”  Choosing an outfit that makes you feel secure, confident and just generally rad can lead to a whole day’s worth of mini motivation boosts; every glimpse in shop window, every flutter of silk skirt against shins and smell of familiar fragrance on scarf is like a reminder saying: “Hey! You look great! You’re working it, and you’ve totally got this!”

So please, don’t dismiss your outer appearance as an irrelevance in the academia-fuelled frenzy of exam term. Investing time and energy in yourself is a form of self care and we all know that never did anyone any harm. Spending fifteen minutes, or a mere 1.04% of your day, making mindful wardrobe choices will set you up for a calmer, more confident and in control day ahead. Now surely that’s something worth getting dressed up for.

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