Who Do You Dress For?

Have you ever wondered why you wear what you wear, who you dress for, what you’re trying to say about yourself with the look you put together?

I had to write this post because I was out with a girlfriend and her two small kids this morning. It was cold. Now I get that Brisbane is temperate, we rarely see zero degrees but we’re also all acclimated to warm weather. So when the temps drop we feel it, and we are quick to rug up!

So there we were, walking along to buy Ms G an icecream (!), in the shadows of four-storey buildings trying to not breathe in the icy wind in our faces, tucking our jackets and scarves more tightly around ourselves.

A woman trotted past us with her two kids, late for the movies I guess.

Her kids were well rugged-up . She was wearing a summer-weight short dress with a bolero jumper. The dress was above mid-thigh. She was also wearing thickish flesh-coloured tights.

My girlfriend is a runner, very fit, model-slim, way more fashion-conscious than I am.

She looked at me and said: “Why would you? That is only about getting attention!”

I laughed, kind of happy it wasn’t just me thinking that (and trying hard to not judge – sigh…)

It just got me thinking – how often do we dress just to be looked at?

Dressing scantily in the middle of a cold winter isn’t practical or sensible. So why do it?

It could be she’d misjudged the weather, but her kids were very warmly dressed.

It could be that’s normal for her group of friends, so she dresses similarly to fit in. How would we know and really, why would we care?

I was processing my thoughts later in the day with a colleague. She sighed:

“There’s a girlfriend I meet for coffee and I really would rather be wearing my trackpants, and she’d probably rather be wearing hers too. But she always dresses right up so I feel like I have to do it as well,” she said.

“So you don’t dress for you, you dress so your girlfriend doesn’t judge you?” I asked.

“Yep, it’s annoying,” she said, laughing.

“That would be an interesting conversation to have,” I suggested.

“Never going to happen,” she said.

Why aren’t we having those conversations though?

Why aren’t we opening the door to easing upon ourselves, to easing up on the image standards we think others are holding us to?

Isn’t it enough to be dressed appropriately, meaning formal when it’s formal, business when it’s business and  jeans or even trackies for a casual coffee?

And that opens up a stack more questions:

Is not being judged ever possible? The truth is we can’t ever control what other people think. (Governments try: it’s called propaganda!) No matter how much we turn ourselves into what we think other people want, we can’t ever be sure of gaining their approval anyway. So why do we try?

What would happen if you went to meet a girlfriend for coffee and dressed in clothing you felt comfortable and happy wearing, instead of what you thought she’d approve of?

Or is your clothing choice really about dressing to be more put-together than she is, to win an unspoken competition?

When did you start dressing to gain other people’s approval, or to compete with other women?

When did other people’s approval become more important than your own preferences?

When did winning the appearance wars become more important than genuine friendship?

Is your main purpose on the planet to be looked at, to be an ornament? Or are you here for some greater purpose?

What would you do differently if you didn’t care what other people thought of you?

And here’s the biggie:

Can you ever imagine yourself doing those different things?

It occurs to me that one answer to all the above is: But Fashion!

And if you love fashion for the sake of it, do it! If it makes you happy, do it!

Don’t do it if you feel like you’re less than anyone else if you’re not doing the things they’re doing.

You’re worth more than being a pale imitation of any other person on the planet!

You being more you and less that cookie-cutter woman is why I designed the Body Bliss Breakthrough Program – it’s for women who are ready to break free of giving a toss about what everyone else thinks of their body!

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