Looking after myself: Dressing to feel good

trying on even more clothes.jpgBy members of the Flourish Australia Physical Health and Wellbeing Community of Practice: Hannah Morris, Jade Ryall, Sue Taylor and Warren Heggarty

It is well worth the effort to take some time to think about what we wear and how we look after ourselves because it all has a big impact on how we feel! Having your hair done, wearing something nice, or even buying something nice can be uplifting. 

We all feel better when we are in control of our own wardrobe choices and none of us like to be told by others what we should or should not wear! Taking time out to think about our presentation will make us more confident. 

Tamworth Clothing Design group

At Flourish Australia’s Tamworth service, they have been promoting personal hygiene and self-care topics using a different approach to raise awareness and hold recovery conversations around this topic.

They have achieved this through a clothing design group where people are able to create and sew clothes whilst discussing how it looks and how it makes them feel. This includes how they feel if they are wearing clothing that does not fit properly. 

They found that having a picture next to the mirror of what a person would like to look and feel like was a helpful prompt and motivator.

The focus and objective of the group is to support one another in choosing clothing that fits them well and makes them feel good. Participants learn how to exercise their own judgement in deciding what looks good or not good. 

Some questions to ask yourself

  • Do I feel comfortable in the clothes I wear?
  • Do I find that my clothes don’t fit me as well as they used to?
  • When was the last time I bought myself a new shirt or skirt?
  • Do I like this colour, this style? Does it make me look my best?
  • Are the clothes that I am wearing suitable for what I plan to do today?

“…there is already so much stigma that people face…but having to deal with the weight gain from medication as well is a lot for a person to deal with. I am a person with a lived experience and I have felt the shame, not of the bipolar but the weight gain, its bad enough to struggle some days with my head let alone clothes actually fitting me!” – 

Hannah Morris

Helpful hair and wardrobe tips

  • Do you use a mirror to check your appearance before leaving the home? 
  • TAFE student haircuts are a great way to get a free haircut and help the future of hairdressing by being a model for students.
  • Some hairdressers offer discounted cuts and colours on particular days of the week too!
  • Sewing on buttons or investing in a new belt could also help achieve the perfect fit in the clothes you already have. 
  • Clothes swaps are a fun and social way of swapping your clothes that no longer fit with someone else. Everyone brings in a bag and lays them out for others to select from.
  • Hair, beauty and feeling good

Do you need proof that making yourself look nice is uplifting? One of the reasons that some people like to work in the hair and beauty field is that they like to do something that makes customers feel good. We found an article called ‘The Dirty Truth’ which lists all the unpleasant aspects of working in that industry, but this is how it ends:

“So why do we do it? It’s that surprised and happy look on your face when you see your new cut or color for the first time. It’s seeing the confidence boost in the shy teenage girl thanks to a swipe of mascara. It’s feeling your muscles and mind relax. It’s seeing you walk out of the facial room as if you’ve had a couple of cocktails… I can go home… exhausted, and covered in pieces of clay mask, knowing that I’ve improved your self esteem and quality of life.” (Shea, 2014)

If it can have that effect on the workers, imagine the effect it can have on YOU!


Shea, L. (2014, November 17), “The dirty truth of working in a salon or spa revealed”, Retrieved from Ethereal Aura Spa Blog: http://www.etherealauraspa.com/blog/working-in-a-salon-or-spa


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