Therapeutic Dressing

I know it shouldn't really matter what you wear to therapy. After all, your therapist isn't there to judge you based on whether you show up in a ripped band tee or a button down and trousers. But if style is the window to the soul, how could your outfit not say something about your psyche? That was the thought that was stuck in my head this morning as a I rifled through my closet in preparation for my first appointment, finally replacing the chorus of "Single Ladies" playing on repeat in my brain since 2008.

It's no coincidence that my wardrobe has suffered during my worst moments of depression and anxiety. I think it's because I take so much joy in getting dressed. Picking out my clothes is like deciding who I want to be for the day. When I just want to be an invisible blob curled up at the edge of my bed, well, I dress for that occasion the way I would dress for any other. 

My point is this: clothes matter. The vibe I wanted to give off when meeting my first potential therapist was that of someone in total control of her emotions, which I recognize is part of my problem. I'm not "totally in control of my emotions" — I have pretty severe anxiety that I've let run rampant for 25 years, and now is so substantial that it basically has a mind of my own. However, I'm also not at my personal rock bottom. I'm doing pretty well these days, and that's part of why I had the courage to go to therapy and deal with some of my issues in the first place.

Since I wasn't about to show up to my appointment wearing the ripped t-shirt and shorts I slept in the night before, I reached into the depths of my closet (it's really dark in there, guys) and pulled out an item at random. It turned out to be this top I had picked up at Urban Outfitters this past winter. I bought it mostly because of the cut, which reminds me of a mod '60s shift dress in shirt form.

Lately I have been playing with proportions because it's an easy way to breathe life into your wardrobe without having to spend a ton of money. I paired the swingy top with  H&M's exaggerated raw-hem flare jeans. I feel pretty cool when I wear them, like Everyday Erin has been replaced by some other more stylish person who wears statement pants like it's no big deal. Since that's kind of what I wanted the therapist to think, it seemed fitting. My shoes were these incredible H&M sandals (silver version pictured here) that I got because I wanted to be the kind of person who could rock minimalist slides.

By the time I finished picking out my outfit I was running late enough that, were I a normal person who realizes their therapist doesn't care about what they look like, I would have run out the door immediately. But me being, well, me, I had to take some time to accessorize. I chose this gold necklace from the jewelry store Satya to serve as a good luck charm of sorts, and my Kate Spade glasses ring, which always reminds me that being my glasses-wearing self is pretty rad. 

I don't always treat my accessories like talismans, but maybe I should more often, because I really did feel just a little bit unstoppable as I went into my appointment. Maybe overthinking my outfit didn't solve all my problems, just like one hour of therapy didn't make me totally zen and ~cured~, but it did help me to feel self-possessed as I prepared to bare my soul to a stranger for the first time.