Who you really dress for
And why it’s not really for yourself
So I’m one of those cliché girls that use to say: “I dress up for myself, not for anyone else.” And then I started noticing that I would dress differently depending on who I would see.
The first time I noticed this was during my First Year at University. We had our opening university dance-thing. It was semi-formal, and any knee-length dress would do. So with the idea of simply wearing the newest one, I went home to get ready. But after 2 hours of trying all 16 dresses on I had, I fell down on the pile of clothing — very dramatic I know, but I was first year okay — and jokingly sobbed because I had “nothing” to wear.
Who was I kidding? I had a very wide variety to choose from, of which at least half was less than a year old. And then I realized. I was thinking of all the other people who would be there, what they were going to wear, and if what I chose, would be “okay”.
I always thought that I didn’t care, because my Matric Farewell dress took me 2 minutes to choose (walked into the dress shop, picked the first dress I saw — literally) and I felt liberated and in control because I could make such a decision so quickly. I realize now that I was just lucky, the first dress I saw was actually very pretty and in style at the time, that’s why it was hanging in front. Haha — I know.
The second time I noticed that I cared, was when I attended a welcome-home party of a friend. All my old friends would be there. I hadn’t seen them in ages. I was planning on wearing jeans and a t-shirt. Determined to keep it simple, I put on my jeans and tee. And then another jean, and another. And another. (Disclaimer: I own 29 jeans — really). After trying on all of my jeans, and all of my t-shirts, I ended up wearing the first one’s I tried on, convincing myself that intuition was the way to go. I enjoyed the evening.
So why do we do this?
Yes, in a sense you dress for you. You want to feel comfortable. You want to feel pretty, you want to like what you’re wearing. I strongly believe that that’s why the ladies can buy pretty undies, is to love yourself, it’s for you. But when you meet with different people, you dress accordingly.
Many of us are the type of girl who either looks homeless or perfect. With no in between. So if you dressed for yourself, always, then the homeless look would be unacceptable I guess?
I know what my husband loves, and what he doesn’t. I’ll wear red lips on a girls night, and nude lips when I’m on a date with him. I’ll wear heels to work, and sandals to the date. Etcetera etcetera.
The reason behind this influenced mindset is this:
It is influenced by how we feel. Yes, our dress code might not be influenced by individuals, but rather how we feel around those people. I dress professional at work, so I can feel confident, I can feel like I deserve to be treated professionally as well.
There’s a lot of truth behind sayings like “Dress for success” and “Get up, dress up, show up.” How we dress influences how we feel. And how we feel is greatly impacted by other people, and their opinions, thoughts and perceptions of us, and sometimes just their presence.
The way you dress for a “just me” day and the way you dress for a first date, will vastly differ 99% of the time.
So after doing some reflection and self-analysis I realized that I dress for other women, definitely not other men. I care what other women think of me, but not in a self-conscious way. Dress shabbily and they’ll remember the dress, dress impeccably, and they’ll remember you. I care what they think, because I care about myself. Coco Chanel said it so perfectly:
So in the end, we dress for ourselves, yes, but not in the way I always thought. Other people, and who I’ll be seeing, influences the way I dress. I feel different in different clothing. I feel good, I feel confident. And I like to take care of myself, most days. (We all have the horrendous outfit for watching movies all day and eating pizza — or is that just me?)
Let me know what you thought of this piece! Some random bubbling, but never underestimate the power of a good outfit on a bad day
Follow me on Instagram (@everydayesti) to see my outfit of the day!