Dress Up Not Down day on Twitter helped me to reconnect with clothes and how they make me feel about my body and also made me more productive.
A bold statement right?
And yet for me that is exactly what happened. I am not saying that will be the same for anyone else but this is how reconnecting with the joy of clothes, make-up, lingerie etc has worked for me in a positive way.
#DressUpNotDown or/also #DUND is a hashtag started on Twitter in April 2020 by @IWoM85 and @misspreturns. The idea was born when 2 friends who were both working at home decided they were fed up of spending every day in leggins and a sweatshirt so would have a dress up day to help themselves up. The hashtag was created and according to their thread on twitter about a handful of folks join in. Each week that number grew and grew and now there are hundreds of people who take part and the hashtag has even trended on Twitter.
The idea behind is to dress in something that makes you feel fabulous or happy. That might be your prom dress or a tuxedo but it might just be some mascara or a funky pair of socks that makes you smile or a fancy pair of pants that you love. Post a picture on Twitter and then the final part is to join in by spreading the love to others who have got on their best finery (of socks) on. Basically leaving some nice comments on other peoples post. Simple and yet so powerful.
I didn’t discover DUND until towards the end of the summer. I thank Rebecca Chase for bringing it into my timeline. After a couple of weeks of watching it I decided to join in. I put on a summer dress and even a tiny bit of make-up and posted my picture. Just that made me happy but when random folks started stopping by leaving nice comments and chatting back and forth and it just made me smile. It was only as the weeks rolled on and the summer turned to Autumn that I realised I was starting to look forwards to Wednesdays. I was planning an outfit and putting on make up. I was digging out clothes I had not worn in months, wearing jewellery that I had not put on since Covid appeared in our lives and most importantly of all I was feeling better about things.
When Lockdown has started back in March I had been in a really terrible place emotionally and mentally and that only got worse at the months wore on. By the middle of May I was barely functioning. I was scared of everything, the world outside my door, social media even my blog felt like a place that I didn’t understand any more. I didn’t write about it at the time because I couldn’t. I didn’t have the words and I was using everything I did have to just keep on keeping on and do what needed to be done.
I was living in my scruffs as I tend to call them. Essentially leggins and a jumper or t-shirt. What was the point of anything else? Turns out the point of anything else is that it makes me happy. I enjoy it and it makes me feel good about myself. As a result of #DUND I have totally changed my week when it comes to clothes and I am so much happier as a result.
I am also so much more productive because I have found dressing every day, and it doesn’t have to be fancy, for example today I am wearing leggings and a stripped shirt but I am also wearing a nice bra, earrings, eye shadow and mascara, makes me feel like I am ready for work. It has helped me to structure my day better and get things done and the more I get done well the better I feel about all sorts of things. It’s one of those happy feedback loops.
The other thing about getting dressed up during the week is that at the weekends it feels special now to have a day in my pj’s or snuggled up in an old jumper and leggins. It is like a special treat and I enjoy it now whereas before being like that every day was having a detrimental effect on my mood and how I felt about my body.
#DUND has helped me to reconnect with things that I enjoy namely clothes, make-up and jewelry oh and underwear too. I have spent money on lingerie just for me, just because I want to, for the first time in, well quite a few years to be honest. I have started wearing necklaces every day and gone through all my earrings and got rid of any I don’t like and cleaned all the rest. The same with my clothes. I have a tendency to hang onto clothes that either don’t fit me any more (because I will lose some weight and be able to wear them again) or that I used to like but just don’t any more. These past 5+ months I have adopted a new approach, if I put it on and I either don’t like it or it doesn’t fit I pop it into a bag for the charity shop. Having a clear out has also felt good.
Dress Up Not Down has reminded me that I like clothes. That they can be fun and playful and sexy depending on my mood. That there is a joy to be hand in putting on a pair of funky tights or wearing some fabulous lingerie under your dress. That putting my hair in pigtails makes me feel sassy and a splash of red lipstick makes me feel seductive. That a pair of hold ups can make me feel sexy and that some shiny earrings and a bit of mascara make me smile when I catch sight of myself in the mirror.
Dress Up Not Down is an act of self care for me. I don’t do it for Twitter or for my partners, don’t get me wrong the positive affirmation I get from those places is very powerful and enjoyable but spending some of my day putting on clothes that make me happy is for me. For that moment when I look in the mirror and think, yep, you look OK today woman, now let’s get some shit done.