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)

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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

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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.

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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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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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A Thought on Self-Confidence

 

I posted this photo on my instagram yesterday and mentioned how I used to be so self-conscious of the rather large birthmark running across my ribs (it is hard to see in the photo above with the filter). However, as I grew older and wiser, I came to realize that instead of being embarrassed by it, I should embrace it because this mark is what makes me an individual. This is a gentle reminder to love yourself because despite what social media advertises, perfection isn’t realistic. Instead, I really wish society celebrated the imperfections more often.

Do you know what Enclothed Cognition actually means? I chose this title for my blog because I wanted there to be a focus on building self-confidence within yourself. Working in fashion can get a bad rep because many view it as materialistic and superficial. Yet, if we look at fashion at a different angle, enclothed cognition comes to light and highlights the idea that we can gain confidence by merely feeling good in the clothes we decide to wear.

Listen: My talk on fashion & self-love via the podcast, “The Tao of Self-Confidence”

I wanted to bring up this subject of self-confidence yet again because I think we all should be continually reminded to love ourselves. I started a new installment on this blog a month ago where I interview people and their take on the correlation between how we dress and how we feel. I will be continuing this segment very soon, so please stay tuned! Also, if you have anyone in particular you wish for me to interview, drop a comment down below.

Read: Enclothed Cognition – Claudia Jordan

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Enclothed Cognition: Claudia Jordan

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:
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Claudia Jordan is the epitome of all around talent as she is a model, actress and TV personality and host. Her list of accomplishments include winning Miss Rhode Island USA, modeling on Deal or No Deal and The Price is Right, competing on The Celebrity Apprentice, and appearing on The Real Housewives of Atlanta. Recently, she just finished promoting her latest venture starring in the new movie, Jason’s Letter, a powerful film addressing unarmed police shootings in America. In addition, she also has her own business entrepreneurs with her wine, Just Peachy, and Claudia Jordan handbags.

I had the opportunity to sit down with Claudia while she was enjoying her breakfast and recovering from a 2 AM flight to the East Coast. Despite this, she was poised and beautiful as ever.

 

Congrats on the premiere of Jason’s Letter. Did the fashion from the movie have an impact on your character?
Yeah, especially because of the roles I usually do – pageants, modeling – it’s just about putting on something for them. For this role, I had to dress down because it wasn’t about looks. It was about being a mother who lost her child. So, I had to go back to the basics.
You won Miss Rhode Island Teen USA in 1990. Do you remember what you wore?
 
I don’t know the designer, but it was a light green chiffon dress and my makeup was totally wrong, but I guess it was right for then because it was the late 80s – early 90s. I forget the dress I wore once I got to nationals, but it was like an old school designer. I was trying to be so conservative. Especially, since a black girl won Miss Rhode Island. I thought I had to be extra classy, so no one could say it was inappropriate. It was lavender and strapless with a lacey, glittery bodice. If I could do it over, I would probably go with something a little more sexy because when I got to Miss USA, the girls were really coming with it. And I was so conservative and had the most natural makeup on.
How old were you then?
 

I was 22.

You were a model for Deal or No Deal and the Price Is Right. Did you like doing that?
 
It was so fun! The Price Is Right was only 3 hour days, so you could still go out all night if you wanted to, haha. But a lot of times, with the wardrobe, they would find little, cheap dresses and that’s where I learned how important it is to have a good tailor. They would get dresses size 12 and the way they would amend them to make them into a whole different dress was amazing. They looked expensive too!
Did you have a say in your wardrobe?
 
No, they had a wardrobe person. In both shows, we always had to dress alike, so that’s kind of interesting when you have to wear the same thing as 25 other models or 2 other models. That’s where you have to make your personality stand out.
You have your own handbag collection, Claudia Jordan Handbags. How’s that going?
 
It’s okay! I launchd it about a year ago. It’s harder than I thought to get going, especially because I am not known to be a style icon. But, they’re made in Italy and I partnered with this guy who has done a lot in the fashion world and together we’re just trying to figure it out. We’re in the really early stages of it.

 

 


What made you want to start a handbag collection?
 
People approached me actually and they thought it would be a good idea. It’s around the same price point as a Michael Kors bag, but I always want to make things more affordable for the masses. I feel like then you’re super big, you have the audacity to have super expensive product. I don’t see myself like that. Plus, I want to make it so the average person can buy it.
Who is your style icon?
 
I love J-Lo and I feel like Halle Berry always gets it right. She is always so feminine and pretty, know what I mean? And J-Lo is just sexy, beautiful, and putting a lot of these young girls to shame. I like that more mature glamour. I feel like everyone is so naked now. You go online to go shopping and everything is about a fake body. Then, you buy that outfit and it looks nothing like it did online.
What would you tell a girl who is lacking self-confidence?
 

Do not compare yourself to everyone else. Be proud of who you are and no that it’s okay to be different than what you see on TV. I would also say, sometimes people are too obsessed with the name brands. A lot of women on reality TV are dripping in designer brands and the reality is, they might have 3 or 4 roommates in real life. Don’t try to break the bank to try and copy these looks. I feel like we should be responsible role models. Personally, I might throw on a nice shoe, but my outfit  is more affordable.

What are you wearing today?
 
This red jumpsuit is from Pink Boutique UK. Really affordable, yet trendy pieces. I got a really nice dress form there and it was like $50, but it looks red carpet ready. I’ve done this over and over. You don’t have to spend a ton of money to look good. As long as it’s the right color and fit, you’ll look good. Clothes are also meant to be repeated and not to be worn once just for an instagram photo.
You definitely look confident in that red jumpsuit. What do you wear when you want to feel more confident? 
 
Something that flatters the body and accentuate something you do have. I like bold colors and pieces that are sexy, but still classy. An outfit you can still wear around the parents, but still catch someone’s eye.
What was your favorite fashion moment in your career history?
 
 When I hosted the Miss Universe Pageant in 2009, myself and Billy Bush. They gave me this chocolate sequin gown and a beautiful necklace. I felt so glamorous at that moment.

 

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