EnclothedCognition

How Blogging Has Helped My Confidence

I have mentioned on here before how I used to be tremendously shy – in a way I still am, but certainly not as much as before. I started blogging when I was a freshman in college and not only has it served as a creative outlet, but it also acted as a surprise confidence booster. You might find it hard to believe that someone who constantly takes photos of him or herself is not inherently outgoing.

Confidence Didn’t Appear Right Away

The inception of my blog, Enclothed Cognition, was shrouded in an air of mystery as I pretty much kept it hidden from my friends and family because I felt uncomfortable at the idea of anyone reading my words or looking at my “silly” outfit photos. I kept blogging because it was something I really enjoyed and as I look back, it was nonsensical for me to not want to share something I am so passionate about.

Taking photos in this early stage was very awkward for me. I did not want my parents to see, so I had to set up my camera when they were not home. Plus, all of the photos tended to make me cringe when I reviewed them. I remember cropping my face out of most photos. Yet, I kept shooting and playing with different angles, looks and locations. The more I shot myself, the more my confidence slowly kept building as I started to learn what worked for me.

Related: My Perfect Imperfections (tag)

Enclothed Cognition

URL to IRL

As I got more involved in the growing blogging community, I started meeting really amazing people and formed these “online friendships”, especially with other users on Instagram. It can be quite challenging and competitive trying to stand out on Instagram, a platform with so many others trying to make it as a successful blogger. Yet, I managed to meet so many sweet, loving girls who are so uplifting in their comments. Do not take it the wrong way, I am not feeding off of the attention, but off the connections I have managed to find through blogging. A lot of these digital friendships and the support that comes with it has definitely increased my confidence in a good way. Many of these people I have met up with and there are so many more I want to meet in person!

Lastly, blogging has helped my confidence the most because it opened my eyes to my passions and what I am good at. It took me the longest time to figure out what I wanted to do with my life and I had no idea what I wanted to do career wise. I had no significant hobbies or interests, but blogging changed everything and really solidified my desire to pursue the fashion industry. This alone has given me the most confidence because it gave me a sense of direction. I realize this last reason is pretty specific to me, but I am sure that someone else has discovered their passions either by blogging or reading a blog that sparked a passion.

Related: The Struggle of Being an Introvert in your Early 20s

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I will be the first to admit that I get burnt out from blogging from time to time but ultimately, I think I am here to stay for a while. My blog has opened up so many relationships and opportunities for me and I owe a lot of my self-confidence to it.  In some strange way, taking photos of myself has lowered my insecurity and has made me feel more confident in my looks, while the actual act of blogging has increased my confidence in my ability to create something and to point me in the right direction to my future.

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Enclothed Cognition: Maria from MiyaModa

Enclothed Cognition describes the concept in which the clothes you wear has an impact on your cognitive process. When you wear something you genuinely love, it is an instant confidence booster. That being said, this phenomenon is important to me because getting dressed is something everyone faces each morning. If aware of this concept, one would be able to dress more confidently and have a positive impact on his or her own day. This is part of the latest installment on my blog:


Maria is the beautiful face behind Miya Moda, an upcoming fashion blog and she also happens to be an old grade school friend of mine. From my memory, Maria was always wearing the cutest outfits during when we were teens. She is still dressing to the nines and exudes such confidence, both in real life and via her internet persona, which is why I was so interested in interviewing her.

Related: Leather Me Up

Enclothed Cognition

How would you define your style?

I’m not sure I can even pinpoint one specific style that describes what I wear. One day I might decide to go glam and wear high heels, a dress and some a few pieces of jewelry. Another I might opt for an oversized men’s tee with some form-fitting pants and my chucks. On yet another day I might somehow combine the two looks. I try not to box myself in too much so that if I see something I like when I’m shopping, I give myself the option of wondering, “How do I work that into my wardrobe?”

Is there anywhere or anyone in particular in which you get your style inspiration from?

I follow a lot of people on Instagram. I think nearly 2,000. I like to draw inspiration from all sorts of different people, from all walks of life. I really, really love Rihanna, Teyana Taylor, and Ariana Grande. Rihanna and Teyana have that sometimes glam, sometimes streetwear look that I absolutely love and Ariana’s got that traditionally feminine, almost Barbie-type style. There are probably others whom I draw inspiration from but can’t think of at the moment.

Do you find that what you wear can affect your mood?

Absolutely, 100%. If I leave the house and I’m not feeling my fit, I’ll be kinda off all day…and probably wondering how I can improve it next time I wear those pieces. If I look put together (in my opinion) then I feel put together and more confident about what I’m doing throughout the day.

If you wanted to feel more powerful on a particular day, what would you wear?

Definitely heels and big earrings. Also, probably something fitted because I try to eat well and work out so I like to show off the fruits of my labor. ☺

Enclothed Cognition

Related: How T-Shirts Can Make an Outfit 

Have you always felt comfortable expressing yourself through fashion? If not, how did you work to achieve this?

Definitely not. This question brings me back to middle school, which was probably the worst period of my life so far. I was so self-conscious that I wore really baggy sweatpants, like two or three sizes too big. I remember one day, my bus driver told me I looked like I lost twenty pounds because I wore some new jeans I had gotten. I think the first step to becoming comfortable with expressing myself through fashion was learning to accept myself. I think I committed to eating better around 10th grade and then added in exercising. I tried to empathize more with people and accept them for who they were and judge them less based on appearance and other things they didn’t have control over. I know this all sounds kinda unrelated to fashion, but these were all baby steps now that I’m looking at it in retrospect. When I felt more comfortable with myself, probably the first year of college, that’s when I really started to feel comfortable with expressing myself through fashion, and I’m still working on that (and always will be).

Related: My Perfect Imperfections Tag

Is there anything in particular you do when you need a confidence booster?

I think about my friends and that usually helps me out a bit. I’m very fortunate to be surrounded by people who want to see my succeed and who I know love me for me and not for my appearance, and that definitely makes me feel more confident in my abilities.

Do you think there can be intersectionality between fashion and feminism?

I do. I was in H&M the other day and half the store was devoted to slogans about girl power and feminism. I think it’s also important to be mindful of the fact that feminism and fashion mean different things for everyone. If one woman feels like she wants to completely cover herself because that’s what she’s comfortable with, then I support it. If another wants to wear crop tops and shorts, then I support that. Of course, there is a time and place for everything but for the most part, I think we need to worry less about what women wear. Throw in cultural differences and I could write a thesis on how woman have been and continue to be shamed for what they do or don’t wear. It’s such a broad and important topic.

I think we need to worry less about what women wear - @ukrainianyonce Click To Tweet
I know you adore Beyonce. Do you think she’s a good role model for feminism?

I think, for the most part, she is. She’s very outspoken about what she believes in and she’s continually building girls and women up, no matter their race, sexual orientation, ethnicity, disability status, etc., and I admire that about her. She’s a black woman who takes up a lot of space (as she rightfully should) and she doesn’t apologize for it.

People say she contradicts herself because she claims to be a feminist, but chooses to wear “risqué” outfits. What’s your take on this?

I think those people have a fundamental misunderstanding of feminism. Being a feminist and supporting the movement doesn’t mean that everyone tailors themselves to one narrow image. It’s about support women’s right and ability to make their own decisions. She can absolutely be a feminist and wear just a bra and underwear (or even go nude) in a magazine spread; the two are not mutually exclusive.

EnclothedCognition

Do you think social media has been crippling the confidence of girls and boys?

Unfortunately, yes. Honestly, sometimes it cripples my own. It’s mentally tiring to scroll through Instagram sometimes and see how “perfect” some people look, whether their skin, their clothes, or their lives in general. I think kids see this and they don’t necessarily realize that a lot of it is staged. The right make-up and lighting can do a lot. Then there are photo-editing apps. And finally, what you see on social media isn’t real life. I know from personal experience. Sometimes I’ll post something that is completely not parallel with my mood or situation in real-time. To be as realistic as possible, I try not to over-edit my photos. I don’t photoshop them and usually the most I do is put a filter on and adjust things like brightness and contrast. I want people to know that not everyone looks like a model naturally. Everything has to be taken with a grain of salt.

What advice would you give to someone lacking self-confidence?

You have to get down to the root of the problem. What makes you feel worst about yourself? What makes you feel best about yourself. Start out with answering those questions. If you can, and I know it’s not always possible or easy, do less of what makes you upset and more of what makes you happy. For me, that was taking care of my health and not worrying about my weight. I would also add on that I believe supporting other people is a great way to become more self-confident. I know that sounds weird, but you just feel better on the inside and I think that feeling spreads to the surface. You feel more confident because you enjoy empowering others. Of course, wearing something that makes you feel confident also helps!

Do less of what makes you upset and more of what makes you happy - @ukrainianyonce Click To Tweet

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Introvert

The Struggle of Being an Introvert in Your Early 20s

Have you ever taken a personality quiz? If not, I highly suggest you take a couple of minutes to do the one offered on 16Personalities. When I took it about a year or two ago, I was absolutely shocked at how accurate the results were. To the point, where I felt like the quiz knew more about me than I did myself…Basically, it defined me as an introvert or an INFJ personality type:

“…Their friends and colleagues will come to think of them as quiet Extraverted types, but they would all do well to remember that INFJs need time alone to decompress and recharge, and to not become too alarmed when they suddenly withdraw. INFJs take great care of other’s feelings, and they expect the favor to be returned – sometimes that means giving them the space they need for a few days” (16personalities.com).

Honestly, when I read this everything started to make sense to me. I am a very independent person with a select few close friends and although I love them dearly, sometimes the thought of hanging out with one of them stressed me out. I would agree to plans, but immediately regret my decision because I was not sure if I was going to have the energy to do so later on. I realize now I am seriously the definition of introvert!

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Let’s be clear, this has absolutely nothing to do with my friends and it is specifically a personal “issue”. Yet, I have been struggling with this inner social battle the entirety of my life and it became even more apparent as I entered my 20s and was in the midst of my college years.

When I was living at school, all of my friends and peers were constantly going out at night – sometimes from Thursday through Saturday night. At first, I tried my best to keep up with the incessant small talk and social drinking, but it started to take a toll on me as I realized I was starting to dread weekends in general because it came with making plans and coordinating with friends. Clearly, this was an issue.

It might be ludicrous to some of you to hear that a simple personality test opened my eyes to who I am, but it is true! The results of this quiz defined my social tendencies and prescribed it an actual name. It helped me realize this is just who I innately am and I am not alone (although according to 16personaltiies.com, INFJ’s make up less than 1% of the population)!

As an INFJ, talking to people can be physically draining for me. Hence, why I feel the need to take a night to be with myself and to regain this lost energy. I think a lot of introverts can relate to this feeling of social exhaustion. If this is the case, you should never push yourself to do more than you can handle like I did. I honestly think it can lead to feeling burnt out or even resentful to yourself or your friends.

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Why I Stopped Spending as Much Money on Clothes

Ultimately, I stopped going out as much and managed to find a nice balance of spending the night curled up in bed with a good movie and hanging out with my friends. So why am I bothering to share this self-discovery? I wanted to tell my experience of growing up as a young adult for anyone else who finds themselves to be ashamed of their introvertedness. Sometimes you feel left out or as if something is wrong with you simply because you do not see the merit in partying every weekend. I wanted to let these people know that it is okay not wanting to be the stereotypical young adult who socializes every second of the day. Sometimes preferring to stay in by yourself is exactly what you need.

Is anyone else a fellow INFJ? If not, what’s your personality type?

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My Perfect Imperfections

At a young 22 years old, I am blessed to say I feel pretty comfortable in my own skin…for the most part. On some days, I wake up and look into the mirror and am sort of disappointed at what I see. On these days, I am particularly crestfallen and self-conscious. A low self-esteem can really take a toll on my mental health for the day – and this only happens every so often. I cannot even begin to imagine the physical and mental impact this can have on individuals going through self-harming disorders such as depression or anorexia.

Andrea started the “My Perfect Imperfections” tag on YouTube years ago and some of my favorite content creators, Jenn Im and Sophia Chang, have recently revisited it on their own respective channels. These have inspired me to bring it to the blogging world and I thought it would also be the perfect first post to kick off the rebranding of my blog, Enclothed Cognition.

Basically, the Perfect Imperfections tag involves you sharing three things you dislike about yourself and three things you absolutely adore about yourself. These could be both physical and nonphysical traits.

What I Dislike About Myself…

  1. My lips (especially when I smile). This is one of those nitpicky things where I feel like I notice it a lot more than other people. When I smile, the upper left portion of my lip stretches out a lot more than the right, making them look so uneven. I realized I would always subconsciously put my hand up to my face when I take selfies because it sort of hides this fact. This physical trait really affects me because although I hate my lips, I absolutely love to smile. On days when I am especially apparent of it, I love to blast J. Cole’s “Crooked Smile” and try my best not to let it bother me!
  2. My pushover tendencies. I am sure when most people describe me they will say two things: I am on the quiet side and I am so sweet. I am okay with this! However, in a way, I feel like it is my downfall. I feel like I was born to please others and I hate disappointing or letting anyone down, which is why people see me as so nice and considerate. Yet, because of this, I feel like I am sometimes taken advantage of. A lot of times I wish I was more inclined to be stronger and less afraid to share what I am really feeling. I still need to teach myself that it really is okay to say “no”.
  3. My birthmark. I have mentioned this before, but I have this rather large diagonal birthmark on my ribcage. When I was a teen, I was quite subconscious about this mark when I wore bathing suits. I hated it! As I grew older though, it started to bother me a little less. I realized it is just a part of who I am and what makes me unique.
Photo by Sophie

What I Like About Myself…

    1. My hair. One of my parent’s friends told them that if a baby has hair sticking straight up, it means they are going to have gorgeous hair. Sure enough, when my parents met me at the airport (I was adopted), my hair was sticking straight up in the air. When you think of Asian hair, you often think thin and pin-straight. I rather like my hair because it is quite thick and has a natural wave to it. To treat my hair, I apply oil to the ends of my hair after every shower. These are the products I am currently currently using to soften my hair and prevent damage: 
  1. My kindness. This is a trait with a double edged sword since it is closely related with the aforementioned trait – my pushover tendencies. However, I also pride myself on this personality trait. I really try to be kind to everyone I meet. I think kindness is something that society has been greatly lacking the past couple of years.
  2. My body. This was one of the harder things for me to fully accept because I used to be self-conscious of my body since I thought it was so 1-Dimensional. People used to poke my body and exclaim how I need to “eat a hamburger ASAP” and remark how I am all “skin and bone”. As you can tell, I am a full time member of the IBTC and pretty much the opposite body type of Kim Kardashian in every single way. Haha! Yet, I love my body more than I ever have. I have been regularly working out for the past 2 years and the hard work is really starting to pay off. I love my body because I feel healthy.

Your turn!

The Perfect Imperfections tag is such a great exercise for everyone to do. I tag anyone who wants to take this challenge. Becoming aware of the things you do and do not like about yourself is enlightening and is a form of self-discovery because it makes you sit down and really think about it.

Everyone is an individual with perfections and imperfections, but what sets people apart is how you look at them Click To Tweet

If you feel comfortable, leave a comment below sharing one thing you dislike about yourself and one thing you love about yourself. I would love to hear it!

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Enclothed Cognition: Surim Kim

 

Surim Kim

 



Enclothed Cognition describes the concept in which the clothes you wear has an impact on your cognitive process. When you wear something you genuinely love, it is an instant confident booster. That being said, this phenomenon is important to me because getting dressed is something everyone faces each morning. If aware of this concept, one would be able to dress more confidently and have a positive impact on his or her own day. This is part of the latest installment on my blog:

Not only do I want to emphasize the importance of self-confidence in women, but men as well. This interview is dear to my heart because it features my boyfriend, Surim. Not only does he bring a fresh male perspective to the table, but he’s also one of the most confident people I know. Between the two of us, he is undoubtedly the one that is more outgoing. As far as style, Surim prefers a more minimal look with tasteful touches of streetwear influence with pieces such as a Supreme waist bag and Nike Flyknit Racer


Why did you decide to wear this outfit to go hiking?

I just purchased the olive bomber jacket(similar) the other day, but it was too hot to wear it. However it cooled down significantly the day we went, so I got to give the jacket a test run and based my outfit on that.

How do you typically decide what to wear?

I pretty much have set outfits in my mind and choose one based on the vibe I want to give that day and what I am doing.  


Do you have a style influence or icon?

Not really. I don’t look at one person to see what they are wearing. However, I tend to look at product launches and lookbooks if I need style inspiration. Specifically, I go to Hypebeast, the Cos lookbook, and /r/rawdenim

Anything else that inspires you stylistically?

I am really drawn to western looks like Clint Eastwood. Also, the classic rock era has a big influence on me.  

Do you think streetwear has gotten too mainstream lately?

I have been into the streetwear scene since 2007, and have witnessed the rise of the obvious big labels such as Bape and Supreme in mainstream media. As well as seeing brands such as Stussy and The Hundreds go from being in boutique stores to being in suburban malls. However, I understand these trends come and go and no one should base their purchases off of what is mainstream and what is not. I mean, I still love Supreme even though it is considered the quintessential “hypebeast” brand. I believe it was extremely beneficial that streetwear became mainstream, since it forced designers to push the boundaries and evolve, leading us out of the graphic-tee era to the more minimal/tech inspired looks out now. 



How does what you wear affect your mood? Confidence?

Dressing well definitely corresponds with how I feel for the rest of the day. When you know you are dressed well, your attitude reflects that – not in a cocky way though. Simply put, when you look good, you feel good. 

Do you think there a lot of guys who lack confidence? What advice would you give to them?

Of course there is a lot of guys who lack confidence and I feel like this is something that isn’t touched upon. Men can have confident issues too and I wish it was more normalized. But everyone deals with it a lot of different ways. Personally, my way was reaching out to new people and learning how to spark conversations. One does not have to be outgoing to be confident, however, confidence is a double-edged sword and can be confused with arrogance. 




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