This Thursday, January 28th is Bell Let’s Talk Day. The stylists at espy discuss their thoughts and experiences around the relationship between fashion and mental health.
At espy, we are all about spreading love and being a positive force within our community. Therefore, mental health awareness is close to all of out hearts. This is why we make sure to do out part when Bell Let’s Talk Day arrives each year. Not only through taking part in their fundraising intiatives, but also by reflecting on the relationship between fashion and mental health. It makes us think about how what we do – helping people discover their true self through fashion – can help give our clients a mental health boost.
First things first, what is Bell Let’s Talk Day?
Bell Let’s Talk Day is an annual initiative by Bell Canada that started in 2010. Their aim is to raise awareness about the importance of mental health and to end the stigma around discussing mental health issues. They have also raised a ton of money to support mental health programs and resources. It has been an incredibly successful intitiative since it was first launched, with over $100, 000, 000 raised and committed to mental health initiatives across Canada.
The main way this is done is through their calls to action across social media platforms and their network. On January 28th, Bell will donate 5¢ more towards mental health initiatives whenever you do the following:
Twitter: Each time you tweet or retweet #BellLetsTalk or watch Bell’s official video.
Facebook: Each time you use the Bell Let’s Talk Facebook frame or watch Bell’s official video.
Instagram, YouTube, & Pinterest: Each time you watch Bell’s official video.
Snapchat: Each time you use the Bell Let’s Talk Snapchat filter or watch Bell’s official video.
TikTok: Each time you upload a video using #BellLetsTalk or watch Bell’s official video.
Text Messages: For every text message sent by a Bell wireless customer (excluding iMessages).
Calls: For every call made by Bell wireless and home phone customers.
How does fashion and what we wear effect out mental health?
It’s been shown through a study conducted in 2012 that what we wear not only affects how others perceive us, but also how we perceive ourselves through a phenomenon called enclothed cognition. When this idea and the discussion of Bell Let’s Talk came up at the store, we asked the team how they have seen and experienced fashion effecting people’s mental health, and we got some incredible feedback.
Megan, our superstar owner, believes that enclothed cognition is a powerful force: “This is what we do at espy! We help you see yourself in a positive way by highlighting your very best! […] and that doesn’t mean being dressed up in the latest trends, but styling yourself in a way that suits you and your body best.”
Looking good makes you feel good!
Megan easily sums up what most of our staff said: looking good makes you feel good. When Joanna, one of our womenswear stylists, is feeling down she puts on an outfit that “makes me feel my most beautiful and powerful self.” Our menswear stylist, Puneet, finds that fashion brings fun and excitement to her life. “When I am well dressed I feel more cheerful and confident. Fashion keeps me motivated to dress well and stay in shape (when I am not pregnant). It is the sparkle in my life.” And our boutique associate, Loriana, says that when she wears an outfit she feels confident in her mood is “instantly lifted, I feel more productive, and I feel like I project those positive emotions to others.”
Sometimes fashion is the pick-me-up you need!
What we wear can also help us overcome challenges that we are all facing during covid. Our head buyer, Nikki, had to change up her mindset when she realized she had stopped putting the same effort into her looks every day by the end of 2020. “Not putting effort into what I was wearing affected the way I was carrying myself. Since the start of 2021, I get up do my morning routine. I make sure I do my hair, makeup and pick an outfit that makes me feel good. It’s not always easy, but by simply slapping on some makeup and putting on a nice blouse you can improve your mood.”
We can see fashion effect out clients!
As a company that works closely with clients, we get to see first hand when an outfit we have helped a client pick out makes them feel good. “I see it everyday in my clients’ smiles, the glint in their eyes, their raised chins, and the spring it brings to their steps,” says another of our womenswear stylists, Effie, “People are at their best when dressed up.” Carmelita, our visual merchandiser, sees fashion as an escape from reality when needed. When she is working with a client she can often see them “escaping their problems as well by getting lost in the good feelings the outfit I style them in brings them.”
Mental Health Resources in Calgary
If you or someone you love is struggling with their mental health, know that you/they are not alone. With the increase in awareness of how many people out their require mental health assistance, there have been some amazing organizations and reasources made available to those who are in need. Mental health is a part of your overall wellbeing and should be treated just as seriously as your physical health.
Togetherall: An anonymous online peer-to-peer support community for mental health with access to trained practitioners. Available 24/7.
Access Mental Health: An Alberta Health Services program you can contact for guidance finding the right help for your mental health.
Canadian Mental Health Association Calgary: Provides support and education to individuals and families living with mental illness and/or addiction.
Woods Homes Eastside Family Centre: Immediate and ongoing professional help for individuals, families, youth, and couples. Available online, in-person, or over the phone.
South Calgary Health Centre: Provides most health services for adults and children, including urgent mental health care.
Distress Centre Calgary: 24/7 crisis support line for Calgary and Southern Alberta, plus free couselling for continued care.