Clothes & Mental Illness: Grief, Depression And Weight

Darkness, Clothes & Mental Illness
Darkness, Clothes & Mental Illness

An Unusual Topic

This article is going to be different, because it will be about Clothes & Mental Illness.

It will not feature images, fancy SEO Google Tricks or anything you have read on Misiu Academy before.

In fact, this was the first time in 249 Weeks since I started this blog that I was on the brink of writing nothing.

Right now, I am in a state of grief, burnout and loss (not literally) from losing a person who was special to me.

And this week, with all the calm I could muster, I took a long look at my current state of life, well-being and clothing.

We will talk all about it and I hope you accept me for who I am.

Clothes Can Promote Mental Well-Being

Let’s begin with the obvious.

Especially when you manage to acquire well-fitting, beautiful and stylish clothes you can instantly feel better.

Maybe they make you feel like a grown up, maybe they make you feel like a million bucks.

Unless you are wearing Alain Dupetit suits, in which case you will feel more like $29 and have a rash from the polyester.

This feeling and invertedly how people treat a well-dressed person might encourage you to be, look and feel better.

I remember when I got my first MTM Suit from Suitsupply back in the day and I looked myself in the mirror and I said “I look and feel amazing”.

In fact, during Covid when I was in Sweden it was my coping mechanism since I could actually go to my office since there was no lockdown.

Every day during my measly 10 minute commute I wore a suit and looked my absolute best.

When I needed a confidence boost, I put on my best clothes.

When You Give In To THe Fear, The Darkness Comes

Not everything is rosy however.

I love the quote above, because I consider it interconnected and omnipresent to all things in life.

Clothes will not always make you feel better about yourself, in fact the can have the opposite effect.

Take for example my situation, when I was extremely fit and athletic 2 years ago with a lean body of just 9% fat.

I had a bunch of custom suits which fit me like a glove.

We all know how hard it is to maintain weight, but when you go way over (or under) the limits and you start having trouble fitting in them it starts to hit you.

It makes me extremely uncomfortable knowing I do not fit in my clothes anymore and my $10000 investment is sitting collecting dust.

I am not wealthy by any means and every purchase is calculated and smart.

You could say that I need to hit the gym (which I have now) to get my form back but it is a marathon that requires motivation and dedication.

These things are hard to come by these days.

For one, this is a hobby and I run a 7 figure business for 4 years now driving it mostly by myself.

As much as I love shoes, I am having a hard time keeping it all together and I overworked myself to the point of a burnout.

Then you can add my private life situation which we all know feels like a dagger piercing through your heart in the beginning.

When you battle with depression or a rocky patch in life, there is often little motivation to dress well.

Picture those people in movies and sitcoms that spend months in the house wearing the same jumpsuits and growing their bear exponentially.

Clothing As “Comfort Food”

We all have an addiction we are not proud of, or we refuse to acknowledge.

For some people it’s drugs, alcohol, money, eating and of course compulsive buying of clothes.

When I started cleaning out my closet of clothes and shoes 1.5 years ago, I realized what a daunting task that would be.

I had over 50 pairs of shoes and 20 suits.

Can you believe that I am down to less than 10 pairs of shoes now?

Then there is people that are so sucked in this world that it brings the worst out of them.

Once I was in Prague in a nightclub 4 years ago with a girl and we met some fancy dressed people.

I was wearing a very expensive suit and clothes.

The young guy there asked me who made my suit and I told him it is custom.

He replied by “flexing” his financial muscle and telling me he wears expensive Boss.

Boss is as good as a used tampon mixed with baby diapers by the way.

Then there’s this group on Facebook where a man called Kevin considers himself dapperly dressed.

Someone called him out and Kevin went on a tirade mentioning how he is an authority in menswear because he worked for 15 years.

Confidence is good, but when it becomes arrogance and a personal attack it really shows a person’s psyche.

The Media

I hate social media and I hate the word influencers even more.

Their portrayal of a fake perfect word can contribute to this negative feeling clothes can give you.

It creates this fake body image that we base our judgement on.

“This is not appropriate because my body sucks”.

“Society doesn’t see this as ideal”.

This overthinking can contribute to depression and low self-esteem with a lot of negative thoughts.

In truth however, the way we dress can absolutely show our current mental state especially if it’s a big change from the norm.

All About Strength & Motivation

For some people, it is even harder to find the motivation to dress better.

But even that, it is ok as long as you don’t lose your connection to the world and your desires.

There is a point for many, where you hit rock bottom and the only way from there is up.

I for one, decided that I will once again focus on myself and try to once again use clothing as a positive instigator.

Eat healthy, work out, take care of my body, smell and focus on the good things I can find.

We draw inspiration and strength from various sources such as our families, pets, work and hobbies.

If you do so from clothes, use it to your advantage but try to avoid it becoming a pitfall.

End Of The Line

This was my short article of thoughts about Clothes & Mental Illness.

Possibly there was no point in writing this and it is more than likely it will be skippable content for many of you.

At the same time, someone might find this as motivation or simply appreciate the openness.

I rarely speak about my private life, but maybe writing about it will help me push forward to becoming the best version of myself once more.

Thank you for reading and being here and remember you are not alone.

My comment section will always be open to you all.

Thank you for reading,

A Kostas without his Kooshkis


Comments (6)

Hi Kostas,

One of the best investments in my life was in getting a help from a professional therapist.
It might be very hard to come by a good one, might need multiple attempts, but in the end it pays off big.
I just hit the same problem with my body as you – after 2 years of work from home I totally lost shape and having a hard time fitting into most of my suits. I can’t afford this as I spent way too much money on my clothes, so there’s no stronger motivation to hit the gym than this.
I hope you’ll get through your problems and things will get better for you once again

Thank you.

I am seeing a therapist for over a year now and is something I recommend to everyone.

I concur 100% with what you say here. When push comes to shove, I have to admit that I am a messy dresser who doesn’t pay as much attention as I should to my appearance. An exception to this is my attention to my health and physical fitness: I am very careful about diet and nutrition, and I make sure to stay very active and in-shape. It’s not easy for a 63 year old, but the payoffs are immense.

I attribute my in attention to my clothes and the image I project to a number of causes, but the bottom line is that my haphazard attention to my appearance doesn’t bother me a lot and my partner says that it doesn’t bother him. Also, I should note that I live in a very rural location where I don’t see another soul – except for my partner – for days on end. I’ve gone entire days without looking in the mirror, and have patted myself on the back at the end of the day for this weird trick.

All of this changed for me a few months ago. My developmentally disabled brother, who I loved deeply and who loved me more, began a health crisis from which he never emerged. For three grueling months, he was in the hospital ICU and mostly intubated. As his 88 stay in ICU unfolded, his health issues multiplied and multiplied. I spent a good deal of this time sitting by his bedside in the hospital, doing what I could.

During this time, I was staying at my parents’ house and I happened upon an old pair of semi-brogue cap toe shoes that I bought in Paris 25 years ago when I was a bit dandier. Mainly for reasons of nostalgia, I put those shoes on and wore them to the hospital. (Sorry Kostas, my everyday shoe ware is one of the many pairs of Saucony trainers that I have been wearing for years now.) A miracle: as soon as I stepped out of my car at the hospital parking lot and walked towards my brother’s room, I felt like a million bucks even though I was going through the most difficult period of my life. That was a complete surprise to me, a confirmed slob. I could feel the difference in my posture and I stood taller and straighter, I could feel more confidence in my stride which reverberated into my inner self as a greater confidence, and I simply felt better equipped to deal strongly and efficiently with all the difficulties that beset me.

That first step-out with my old Parisian cap toes was a lightbulb moment for me. I am selling myself short by not putting my absolute best self forward to the world. Still, I pass most days in relative seclusion on a small ranch, but when I go to town or meet friends these days, I do so in style. I’ve bought many new clothes – mostly unique pieces on eBay that appeal to me – and I make sure that I look as good as I can muster. I even find myself wanting to go out more, to be seen as a put together and confident person, and in so doing I actually feel like a more put together and confident person.

I think you’re doing great Kostas. Follow your intuition as to what brings you peace, joy, and confidence. Stay the course.

The only thing I can say is thank you for reading and sharing this life changing story with us.

Thank you so much Steven.

I found out I had a rare, dangerous health condition last year. Making the lifestyle changes necessary to deal with it has caused me to lose 35 pounds in eight months. At first I was excited to lose weight (thinner!), but I just kept losing weight and now have an entire wardrobe of wonderful clothes (including custom) I spent many years putting together that doesn’t fit in the slightest. I’ve been stuck wearing clothes from my teenage/college years (nearly two decades ago), while I try to put together a new wardrobe for what feels like someone else’s body. The wise man who always helps me at my local menswear shop told me it was useful to have two sets of clothes: one for the lean years and one for the not-so-lean. I hope he’s right. I appreciate your blog and wish you the best.

PS Your next post should be about the ten pairs of shoes that have survived the cull.

Thank you so much for sharing all this!

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.