When Emma Vitz, author of This Kind Choice, a blog about environmentally friendly and ethical fashion, asked me if she could do a guest post for my blog after watching my video on the different Closet Personality types, and particularly resonating with the Devaluist personality, I was happy to oblige. Below is her article that I completely identified with (because I am part Devaluist) and I’m sure a lot of you will, as well. Being a Devaluist is a common trait among most women who often do for others before themselves, who can be a bit codependent in nature and who may present a pulled together package to the world but behind closed doors the picture isn’t as rosy.
I am thrilled to share Emma’s post with you as I think she really took the conversation of this common personality type to a whole new level. Thanks Emma!
Yesterday, I bought socks. To most people, that would be an insignificant, meaningless buy. To me, it might be the most important piece of clothing I’ve bought all year.
According to Bridgette’s five closet personality types, I am a Devaluist. I don’t value myself enough, and it shows up in every area of my life, including my closet. It took me a long time to realize this, since the idea of a devaluing yourself and your closet often conjures up images of stressed mothers with spit-up on their sweaters and greying trainers on their feet. They don’t have time for themselves. They are giving, giving, giving.
I wear liquid eyeliner and chunky heels almost daily. My sweaters are covered in purple sequins, not baby vomit. And I never wear trainers outside of the gym. To the outside world, I am put together. I am polished. I might not always get it right, but I care about the way I look, and it shows.
But I am still a Devaluist. How? Peel back a few layers and a different story starts to emerge. My socks don’t match, and the left one has a massive hole in the heel. I’ve left three discarded outfits lying across my bedroom at home. My hand washing pile is mounting every day.
It’s the things that most people don’t see that trip me up. And that’s because I have this belief that if I’m the only one benefiting from it, it’s not worth doing. Why should I spend money on socks that no-one will see, when I could buy new lipstick? Why should I spend time picking up my clothes from the floor, when I could be replying to emails? Why should I care about me, when I could be caring about other people?
I write about environmentally friendly and ethical fashion. I’m studying fashion and journalism, and learning as much as possible about clothing that is better for everyone involved.
I love where I’m headed. I want to help people.
But here’s the thing – if you let yourself fall apart, there’s only so much you can do for other people. If I’m getting frustrated because I can’t find any socks every morning, that’s less energy for me to help others make better clothing choices. If my calm is destroyed because I can’t see my floor for the clothes, that’s less focus for me to write things that really speak to other people.
Clothing is often seen as a superficial shell, and fashion a frivolous, flighty thing that gets in the way of the serious stuff. The real stuff. But I don’t believe that. I don’t believe we can neatly divorce the way we look from the way we live. I believe the way we look is a reflection of the way we live. If we change the way we live, it follows on that we change the way we look, whether slowly or suddenly. We reach for different pieces in our closets and in the shops. The way we used to shop doesn’t really appeal anymore. We’ve all experienced this – we change jobs, move, graduate, have children or develop a stronger sense of confidence, and suddenly the way we dress doesn’t quite fit who we are anymore. A change is in order.
But can it work the other way around, too? Can making changes to the way we dress change the way we see ourselves?
Yesterday, I bought socks. That four pack is not a silver bullet for devaluing myself, but it is a small reminder that the details are worth paying attention to, and the things that are just for me are worth doing. It might be the most important piece of clothing I’ve bought all year.
Emma Vitz is the author of This Kind Choice, a blog about environmentally friendly and ethical fashion. She believes that clothing that is better for the people producing it and the environment is better for us, too! Emma works to find simple and satisfying ways of creating a closet that reflects all of who you are. Your values. Your style. Your life.
Connect with her on Twitter or learn more over at This Kind Choice.