One thing I love about Instagram, is that it allows you to connect with like minded people at the simple tap of a ‘follow’. It goes without saying that the true gems are not all that easy to find – those who share authentic and genuinely interesting are hard to come by these days.
Allow me to introduce you to the brilliant HennaWrites, who happens to encompass all of the above – and much, much more. Henna’s ridiculously well curated grid is everything we all need right now: refreshingly honest, hilariously witty and inspiringly rich in all of the laid back style content. Because self isolation doesn’t mean you can’t look chic in elasticated waistbands – AM. I. RIGHT?
Since connecting, we have exchanged regular DM’s about all things mental health, writing and our shared fondness for pointless-but-essential trinkets from charity shops: An instant ‘Internet Friends’ match that I fully intend to hold on to. Henna, who was born and raised in Sheffield and is currently living in Oxford, is a writer with a whole lotta wisdom – sharing just a slice of that on her blog, Henna Writes. How do I put it? She just… She has particular way with words that never fails to resonate with me and make me smile – and more significantly, really think.
At this time of pandemic, when social distancing means jeans are no longer a desirable garment of choice, I’ve been finding myself browsing Henna’s feed more and more for style inspiration; no one does ‘loungewear-chic’ quite like this lush bag (her term, not mine). I asked her to write a piece for my blog, and she came back with the below. Reading more about how the simple act of ‘getting dressed’ has helped her mental health in such a way really, really moved me. Dressing for the mood you’re in never really struck my mind – but now I think about it, perhaps it’s more of a subconscious choice. With Henna, doing this has enabled her to grow, and even help to tackle the life challenges she has endured.
So here it is. You’re going to want to make a strong brew with a dunk-able biscuit for this one…
Saturday 28th March. It’s 11am. It also happens to be my 11th day in isolation as a result of the “he who must not be named” virus and I’ve been thinking (dangerous I know but there’s nothing else to do.)
I have just dressed myself for the day and whilst stood before an embarrassing amount of loungewear options (really. A part of me wonders if I am beginning to take the piss) something occurred to me. Each morning when we walk ourselves over to our wardrobes and find ourselves asking “what shall I wear today?” more importantly, what we are in fact asking ourselves is “what do I feel like wearing today? How do I feel?”
I have spent the best part of my 20s dressing in response to how I feel in quite a blatant way. I’m Henna, a diagnosed OCD, anxiety and depression sufferer (also a diagnosed cat lady and sheet mask addict but I gave myself those titles. Unfortunately, the more serious sounding ones were stamped upon me by a doctor.) Five or six years ago my style changed drastically. I only felt comfortable in elasticated waistbands, bras with no underwire, very little jewellery and oversized sweaters. At first, I believed that this was in response to my mental health really taking a turn. I mean, on days when I was really struggling, even having my hair down and it touching my neck made me feel incredibly uncomfortable.
I remember looking at myself in the mirror one morning and realising that I no longer recognised myself. But see, here’s the thing. I am a firm believer that style is meant to evolve and now feel more like me than I ever have. Granted, I wasn’t expecting it all to happen so quickly but I opened myself up to a whole world of people who made dressing down look chic and I’ve never looked back. I began to note how a beautifully cut oversized navy jumper had the ability to make me feel my best even though at first, my mind was convincing me otherwise. Wearing my favourite items instead of saving them for best boosted my mood noticeably. I used outfits as a tool to help me trick my opponent into thinking I was confident and in my toughest moments, I really needed that.
Choosing what to wear became an important part of my day. Seeking comfort in the routine itself proved to be I don’t know, mindful? Yes, there are days when choosing what to wear can prove itself to be rather difficult but I simply put that down to the fact that it is such a personal thing to do. To wear what you honestly feel like wearing. I am a firm believer that it is the true definition of dressing for yourself.
For too long I had let certain sections of society make me feel as though taking fashion seriously was considered superficial and a little bit silly, but I am who I am and who I am is someone who sees personal style as an important part of what makes me, me.
As the demands of my OCD continue to pull me away from most of the things that I enjoy doing for myself, the power of a good outfit remains as clear to me as ever. I am not someone who can live my life in restricting clothes, its just not who I am. I have to be able to sit cross legged whilst drinking a cup of tea and be able to get up and dance at any given moment.
Today on news that nobody asked for, I’m wearing a navy oversized Uniqlo sweatshirt with black leggings and do you know what? I crown these types of outfits amongst some of the best I ever wear.
With everything that is going on with the C word at the moment (and no, I’m not talking about the funny one) times feel pretty dark out there. So cling onto those little moments of light. No matter how big and no matter how small.