Sartorial self-care with Rikesh Chauhan

By Rikesh Chauhan | 10 Feb 2022 | Style, Leaders

The menswear expert and CALM ambassador shares how dressing well can help clear the winter blues

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“If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed,” said Admiral William H McRaven, in his 2014 commencement address at The University of Texas at Austin. By making your bed, you have already achieved the first task of the day. I’ve always loved this sentiment as it helps break down seemingly overwhelming tasks into small, achievable steps. The next step, therefore, should be getting dressed.

Working in the menswear industry, dressing up is somewhat of an occupational hazard. Whether I’m on Savile Row or hanging out in my local London haunts, I’ll always spend a good proportion of my morning (or the night before) selecting what to wear. I want to dress to make an impression on people that I meet and pass by – and looking good on the outside almost always helps me feel good on the inside. I feel productive, like someone with purpose. Most importantly, though, by taking pride in my appearance and in the clothes I wear, I show respect to whomever’s company I’m in.

I’ve always struggled with my mental health, through depression, self-image and anxiety. The former was particularly difficult because, often, you struggle to find the motivation to even leave your bed, let alone make it. Alas, I had to get up and go to work, so I would pick an outfit that almost always consisted of a double-breasted jacket, bespoke shirt, silk jacquard tie, full leg trousers and an overcoat for the colder seasons.

Often the simplest of things can elevate your mood if you genuinely enjoy it; by spending that time getting ready, I allowed myself a little distraction from my thoughts and, by the time I was ready to head out, I would take a passing glance in the mirror and suddenly feel a touch more confident.

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It’s part and parcel of why, whenever it comes to investing in clothing, I take my time to make sure it fills a gap, is made of lasting quality materials, and makes me feel good about myself. This is especially important once the clocks go back and you suddenly find yourself waking up and going home to darkness.

Add in the cold, and you suddenly realise why they call it the January blues.

Self-care is something I believe we all need to invest more time into, and dressing for the day is one of the easiest ways to accomplish this. Before the pandemic, nights out were always a good enough reason to dress up. Fast-forward to now, and dress codes have rather unsurprisingly become a little blurred. It’s important to remember that ‘dressing up’ doesn’t necessarily mean being suited and booted, but rather to wear things that get you excited. It could be the coat you’ve always wanted to stride in, the jumper that feels like a hug, the shoes that have that extra polish.

Whatever it may be, take your time to appreciate those early morning moments when the only thing you need to care about are the clothes that will take care of you.

To find out more about the Campaign Against Living Miserably, visit thecalmzone.net or call CALM’s helpline on 0800 585858