The Cursed Outfit

By: Stephanie Herron

The first night I wore my favorite black playsuit on a night out, I had a drunken emotional breakdown, failed to make it past pre-drinks, and for some reason decided it wise to drink tequila straight out of the bottle. The second time I wore it, I got so drunk that I ended up vomiting more than I ever even thought possible. The third time, I had a mental breakdown prompted by losing all of my friends in a club in a foreign city. As I dress for nights out now and consider slipping into my favorite short black ensemble, I pause. It’s time to face the facts: this outfit is cursed. It’s upsetting, really, as it is genuinely a favorite item in my wardrobe. The combination of an almost corset-like tight waist, deep plunging neckline and flared bottom makes me feel simultaneously flirty and girly. Just the act of putting it on brings serious urges to dance and shot tequila. When I wear it, I’m not myself. For the night, I transform into a combination of every stereotypical party girl ever depicted onscreen. In the morning, I end up with a blasting headache, wondering why on earth I thought any of the previous night’s decisions were even remotely okay.

It wasn’t until reflecting upon the effect that this particular outfit had on my behavior that I realized the real problem. It’s not the outfit that’s cursed. My little black playsuit does not possess some magical ability to ruin my night. The self-destructive version of myself that I become when I put it on however, definitely does. Looking back on all of these nights, I notice common themes. For one, I severely over-estimate my alcohol tolerance. Why would I ever think it a sensible idea to do two tequila shots at once? To a certain extent, I know I have my playsuit to thank for that lack of logic. The playsuit that makes me feel so girly, confident, and fun that I get carried away, completely disregard the consequences of my actions, and end up making decisions that are, to put it nicely, questionable. The side of me that this outfit brings out is equally carefree, reckless, and above all, dangerous.

Pondering these instances has got me thinking about the effect that all of our fashion choices have on our mental states. Although this toxic playsuit has the most obvious effects, that doesn’t mean that other outfits don’t do a similar thing. The more I thought, the more I realized the extent to which specific outfits can be tied with behavior. My flowy blue slip dress has become practically synonymous in my mind with happily jumping up and down in a crowd at Starfields. It’s a Bohemian side of me that loves music and dancing with friends. My lacy choker-neck dress is classy cocktails with girlfriends at a roof-top bar in Prague. It’s a classy side of me that channels the girls from Sex and the City. And my black playsuit is a fuzzy haze of shame, regret, and horrible, horrible decisions. In short, it’s the side of me that’s a hot mess.

From this frame of mind, clothing is so much more than just fabric. It’s the link between the mind and the body. Choosing the perfect look for an event is essential beyond just getting cute photos. The right skirt and top combo can shape your entire mindset not only for a night, but day to day as well. We’ve all heard the phrase ‘dress well, test well’. I’m a firm believer in this. It’s the reason I’m the loser who pitches up to exams in outfits that might be better suited for job interviews. This sort of business casual style makes me feel like my most accomplished self. However, that’s just me. Of course, everyone feels different in different clothing. The same mini skirt that makes me feel feminine, could make someone else feel edgy, and someone else self-conscious. Thinking this way reminds me just how much style is a personal form of self-expression. Everyone always considers how an outfit can impact the way others perceive you, however I believe we too often overlook the way our clothing can impact the way we perceive ourselves. With this in mind, choose your outfits wisely. Feel empowered in your style decisions knowing that you’re dressing for yourself, for your mental health, and so that you act like the version of you that you feel like being on a certain day or night. With these thoughts in mind, I think it may be time to donate my black playsuit to charity. I can only hope someone else will have better luck with it than I have.

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ST.ART Magazine