28 February 2007, 23:38
Have you ever thought about what message your clothing is projecting & what it says about you? What story do you think your outfit today told the world?
No, no. Don’t keep reading. Pause for a second & think about it. When you leave the house in the morning (or the evening), what are you & your outfit trying to say?
Really, it’s worth considering. How many times have you walked down the street & made a huge judgement call on someone else, PURELY based on what they’re wearing? (I know. It is awful, but it happens.) Do you dress for yourself or for other people? Are you trying to fit in with your friends, or impress the opposite sex for your own ultimate gain?
I was on my way to buy sushi on Friday night when I passed a girl wearing an extremely short dress with her boobs hanging out. She wasn’t unattractive, but seriously, I barely noticed her face. It was all about the boobs. What was she thinking before she left her bedroom? I am trying to be as non-judgmental here as is humanly possible, & maybe I am completely wrong, but I don’t think she was going to a rotary meeting. She looked like she was out to snag a mans (sic). I’m not talking about a first date at a little restaurant & flowers, I’m talking about nightclubs, bumping & grinding, & waking up in the morning feeling like a troll. (I think that “if you’ve got it, flaunt it” can be taken the wrong way sometimes.)
I have to tell you that this is hard to write without it sounding like I am judging casual sex — which I’m not. Maybe it wasn’t a good example. I also feel bad for really skinny girls who wear tracksuit pants so no one will notice.
People are free to do as they choose — all I think is that you should value yourself & your clothing should reflect that.
I like short skirts as much as the next girl, but I think there is a point where you stop dressing for yourself & start dressing for the benefit of others, & that’s when we start to have problems.
What you’re wearing & how you’re wearing it says so much about you — how you feel, which parts of your body you like & dislike, how confident & comfortable you are, & where you think you fit into the world. It is so interesting to think about all these things when you’re people-watching, but it is best applied to yourself: before you leave the house, before you buy a new dress or before you buy another pair of Converse to replace your last pair.
Are you a “scene” kid, secure in your goth, metal, emo or hip hop uniform, happy to fit in? Do you walk around clutching a Louis Vuitton bag in front of you, & if so, what does that say about you? Are you concealing nipple piercings behind your conservative blouse in a secret act of rebellion? Are you going for a European look, & does that mean you’re ashamed of your heritage? Are you dressed to resemble the latest celebrity-du-jour — & does that mean you’re completely devoid of your own style?
Ultimately, only you know what’s going on in your own life, & only you hold the secret decoder ring to your own outfit. But you don’t need to buy into all that scene crap, you don’t need to follow trends & you don’t need to impress anyone else. If you feel good it will mean more than any compliment a stranger could pay you.
Dress as if you are celebrating yourself in a room full of sleeping people.
Just do whatever it takes to make you happy. Your external appearance is yours & yours alone — yours to do whatever you please with. Clothing can transform you into anyone you want to be, which is something that I think International Dress-Up Day helps with. It reminds us that we can do whatever we please, that we can dress like our idols if that’s going to help us become more like the people we admire, or the person we imagine ourselves being. There is a whole secret language in the fabric we cover (or uncover) ourselves with, a secret language that bellows down the street in all directions.
“If you aren’t enjoying your clothes, then you really are missing the point.” Betty Halbreich.
Where is the real value in dressing for other people, anyway? Why not try impressing yourself? If you still really want the external validation, don’t worry — when your clothing is truly flattering & you are obviously happy in it, people will notice — but the point is that you will look good without having to devalue yourself or buy into anyone else’s ridiculous agenda.
If you can manage to untangle yourself from that huge part of society which says we must be liked, admired & fit in at all costs, you will start to realise & develop your own true style — the perfect gift to yourself, which no one can ever take away.