March / April 2013 InFluential Magazine

Page 15

In fl u e n c e : L I F E S T Y L E

Fashion S tat e m e n t ♦ written by

Brad Kennington

Executive Director LMFT, LPC, and COO of Cedar Springs Austin


ashion speaks volumes. Our clothes can

disorders and body image issues and struggling with

communicate many aspects of our identity:

a sense of overwhelming worthlessness.

who we are professionally, our position in society, our culture where we come

Although extreme in their expression, the themes in

from, and even how we feel. Whether

their stories are not that different from the themes

it is surgical scrubs, a firefighter’s uniform or an

in our own narratives. In some ways, the choices

Italian business suit, what a person dons can dictate

we make in style are really an attempt to be seen, to

how they are perceived, both by self and others.

be noticed. And underneath this is the desire to be known, to be accepted for who we are, in essence, to

Clothes serve as a second skin of sorts, helping us take


on a specific persona while projecting what we want others to think about us or maybe even protecting us

Beneath all the fabric and stitching, who are we? Do we

from our own insecurities. There is an interdependent

let our clothes—the designer, the label, the size—define

relationship between our wardrobe and feelings. What

who we are? The more important question is, how do

we wear impacts our mood and our mood can certainly have an effect on what we wear. And just because society says you may look like a

we “wear” ourselves when we are with others? Are we confident without being arrogant? More self-assured and less self-defeating? And sometimes we are quick

million dollars does not necessarily mean you may feel

to make a judgment about someone—their feelings or

as good as you may look. Unfortunately, some of the

income level or intelligence or sexuality —based solely

most wounded and insecure stumble their way into

on what they are wearing.

the fashion industry in hopes of feeling empowered and validated. I recently visited with a cover model

Our own unique sense of style accentuates us, it does

who has participated in runway shows in New York

not make us. Being comfortable in one’s own skin,

and throughout Europe. She painted a very painful

regardless of one’s body shape or size of garment

picture of some of the young women in the modeling

or what others may think, is the strongest fashion

industry: hooked on cocaine, ravaged by eating

statement of all. IN FLUENTIAL 13