I have been a huge fan of the British sci-fi show Doctor Who for several years now, and one of the most important things I’ve gleaned from it is the concept of regeneration.
Regeneration is the process the Doctor goes through to switch from one actor to another. For us non-aliens, it means the process of changing from one version of yourself to another—especially when it comes to fashion.
I’m going through this process right now, so here are my own struggles and triumphs. Learn from my chaos!
Step 1: Admit the Truth
They say the first step to recovery is admitting that you have a problem, and regeneration works on a similar level. This is like the denial stage, where I emphatically refused to believe that I had finally caved. But eventually it became impossible to deny what I knew to be true:
I love floral prints.
I know that’s not shocking, but as someone who has, historically, adamantly rejected traditionally “feminine” styles, florals were at the top of the list of things I would never wear.
So as you move into your own period of transition, try to curb the denial early on and buy the gorgeous scarf, if it calls to you. The sooner you admit to yourself that your fashion sense is changing, the sooner you can move on, to…
Step 2: Purge
This is a difficult time for the Doctor, who is still wearing all the clothes from his previous self. Before establishing the new, he must get rid of the old. And so must you.
Now is the time you take an honest look at your closet. That shirt that used to perfectly represent your aesthetic? The one you haven’t worn in six months? It needs to go. This was a difficult step for me, but now that the stuff I’m not wearing is actually gone, it’s so much easier to get ready in the morning, because I know that no matter what I put on, I will feel like myself.
Allow yourself the freedom to accept that while your previous style wasn’t bad, it’s not yours anymore.
Gather everything that doesn’t make you feel joy, stuff it into a box, grab any scarves or jewelry that are also outdated, and take ‘em on down to the local thrift store. Some of these stores will actually pay you for your stuff, or at least donate what they won’t take, so you’ll get some cash and a good deed out of the deal.
Your closet, like mine, is now much emptier and slightly sad-looking, so now is the fun part:
Step 3: Try Everything
One of the best parts of the Doctor’s regeneration is getting to watch him come to grips with his new tastes. The Eleventh Doctor spent a good bit of time trying to figure out what kind of food he likes, and he tried everything before settling on fish fingers and custard (which is not as bad as it sounds—trust me).
In the same way, consider this your time to play. Every time I go out and I see something that resonates with me, I take a picture (or I buy it). I spend *ahem* hours scouring Pinterest for anything and everything that fits my new aesthetic. Try only to take pictures or save pins of things you would actually wear, not just things that you think are cute.
This is the stage where I realized that Converse are still very much a part of my aesthetic. I still want to wear them with every outfit, so I do. It’s good to recognize the ways you’ve changed, but don’t feel like you have to change everything. Some things, like Converse, are timeless.
While it’s definitely fun to find cute things, the goal in this phase is to redefine your aesthetic, and that means figuring out what you want to wear. When you have defined your aesthetic, it is time for…
Step 4: Try it on for Size
Every time the Doctor regenerates, there’s a definitive moment where he has settled into his new aesthetic: new body, new tastes, and yes, new outfit.
Now that you’ve accepted this new change, purged the items that don’t feel right anymore, and defined a new aesthetic, fill out your closet again (with thrift store items if you’re broke like me), and take your new self out on the town for a spin.
Try to savor the newness and excitement that come from embracing a new sense of style, and don’t shame yourself for looking in window reflections. This is the second round of acceptance, where you become familiar with the new you—don’t feel bad for enjoying it a little!
And hey, while you’re at it, maybe you’ll even end up saving the planet.
What do you think?
Have you seen Doctor Who? Which is your favorite regeneration of the Doctor? What style elements are you changing right now? Do you have tips on how to regenerate?