in 
(Life)+Style

How Fashion Helped My Relationship

Jasmine Diaz
W

hen I first met my husband, I was a young, totally clueless 18-year-old girl with no fashion sense.

I always had a passion for fashion, but it wasn't until I became a proper adult that I realized how my self-esteem directly correlated with what I wore.

Shortly after marrying and relocating to "no-where USA," I found myself wearing baggy clothes and flip flops to get by. If my mood could talk, it would say, "I give up." I stopped caring about my maincures and cute outfits. I didn't feel up to the task anymore.

I am grateful to have a husband who didn't ridicule my fashion choices, but our relationship was going through a rut. We were coasting on autopilot — two comfortable people living an OK life.

I loved my man, but we were missing something. Arguments on my unhappiness and divorce were occurring on frequency. It was then when I decided, "Well, if this is going down, mind as well do me."

Focusing on me meant giving a shit for the first time in a long time. I started paying attention to what I wore and realized how far I had slipped into despair. I needed an entirely new wardrobe that would challenge me to stop wearing flats and flip flops and start dressing like the person I wanted to be.

The shopping was ridiculous, I'll admit. My husband, bothered by the coin I was spending at Nordstrom, didn't notice the transformation I was making until it finally happened. Soon, I was rivaling Rihanna on her best day (OK, maybe not really), and I quickly realized how this minor change shifted the pace of my relationship.

I was more confident, so we went out more. I felt better about myself, so we had more sex. We stopped arguing about my unhappiness because I felt happy about who I was becoming, which, if honest, was not my husband's responsibility. To find my happiness, I need to see me.

I spent more time checking in with myself than I had in years. I started feeling myself and quickly realized what I needed more from my life was me. I don't know how I got lost, but when I turned to fashion, it changed me. I didn't need validation because I validated myself. I didn't need high self-esteem because I was looking like Rihanna (OK, maybe not).

Our relationship troubles didn't clear overnight, but when I decided to work on me, it gave my husband a license to do the same. After 17 years together, we've managed to weather the storm, but I haven't given up shopping. There's no going back.