Is it just us or can getting dressed feel like pulling teeth when you have Dissociative Identity Disorder? With so many ages, personalities, and preferences, finding a single outfit that works for every fronting alter can feel next to impossible. So what can be done? We’ll talk about some different ways your system can approach the body’s wardrobe so your system can start feeling more streamlined. Let’s get started!
WARNING AND DISCLAIMER
Because of the nature of D.I.D., it’s possible that something in this article could be triggering to your system. Please use caution and your best judgement when reading this article. Safety first!
Disclaimer: We are not doctors, therapists, or mental health professionals. We’re just a bunch of alters that are speaking from personal experience to help other systems live their best lives.
When it comes to picking out your system’s clothes, you’ll need to have some kind of framework. This will help your headmates to be a united team when it comes to getting dressed and purchasing clothes. There are five main methods:
Free For All
With this method, everything goes! Whomever is fronting when the body gets dressed for the day has full say over what the body wears. This option is especially ideal for systems that often have one alter front for the whole day.
When you think of Steve Jobs, you think of the black turtleneck with the jeans, right? Your system would be kind of like that. You’d all pick a single outfit that everyone can agree on and you’d wear it all of the time. This is a great method for systems that have a fairly utilitarian relationship with clothes; not idea for fashionistas!
Pro tip: When our system had a uniform, we practiced the “Free For All” method with things like earrings, shoes, jackets, and hair accessories. Our system donated everything that one of the alters truly could not stand and the rest was fair game. This gave us the stability of the Uniform Method and the self expression that comes with the Free For All Method. Win win!
This one is similar to the Uniform Method but it’s not as strict. If with the Uniform method you always wear a black tee shirt and an exact pair of jeans, with the Formula Method your system might have any t shirt of the same cut and jeans of the same style. This is a great method for systems that like the simplicity of the Uniform method but still want some variance.
With this method, your system would always wear outfit A to work, outfit B to recreational activities, and so on. Each of these individual occasions could use either the Free For All, Uniform, or Formula Method. This is ideal for systems where specific alters tend to do the same activity over and over for the system. (Ex: alter A works out, alter B handles work meetings, alter C plays with the kids) This way, each alter gets to pick what they wear for their activity.
For this method, your system would divide out who picks outfits for the days of the week. So the body would wear outfit A on Mondays, outfit B on Tuesdays and so on. This is good for systems where several alters want to get to wear the specific clothes that they like at least once and everyone is ok with taking turns.
Things To Consider With The Clothing
No matter what method your system picks, there are some things to be aware of when selecting the individual pieces of clothing so that there will be less issues later. Every system is unique and every alter is unique so here are some things to consider when choosing clothes.
What colors bring your system joy? Are there any colors that make your system extra confident? Are there any colors that your headmates don’t like to be seen in (for whatever reason)? What colors are very flattering for your system? What colors are appropriate for the season/your work environment/etc?
What textures are enjoyable for your system? Do any of your headmates find certain textures annoying or triggering? Is this texture likely to snag? (If it is, are all of your fronting alters willing to deal with that?) Is this texture likely to get lint? Is this texture likely shed?
Do these shoes/fabrics make frustrating or triggering sounds?
Are all of your fronting alters willing and able to wash this item correctly? For dry cleaning, is your whole system willing to pay for it to be cleaned and willing to pick it up?
Do you have any fronting alters that are minors? Do the clothes make any of your alters feel exposed, vulnerable, or uncomfortable? Does the clothing conflict with any alter’s religious beliefs?
Pro tip: Whatever you may personally feel about showing some skin and dressing sexy, keep in mind that what one alter wears, every alter wears. There are likely a few modest alters in your system as well as some minors. For your littles’ protection and healthy development, we encourage you to consider not wearing anything that a child should not wear outside of planned intimacy times.
Would this clothing negatively affect the reputation of anyone in your system? Are all of your alters ok with the message that this clothing sends?
While it can be a bit of a pain to go through all of this with your system, we can tell you that it’s absolutely worth it! No matter what option your system picks, it’s totally possible for everyone to be happy and confident with the way the body is dressed. It may take some trial and error but we know you can do it!
Now that you know how to design a wardrobe for your system, where do you go from here? Learn about the Golden Rule of DID here. Get ideas for setting up your house for your system here and click here to improve your system’s relationship with food. To learn how to become a united front with your system, check our our course Of One Mind!