Dress Your Body, Not Your Ego
You’re not any less of a human for wearing a “basic” outfit.
10 of which are used while the other 90 lay there as a cradle for my self-esteem.
“This shirt doesn’t fit today’s trends.”
“That shirt still has a price tag.”
“This shirt looked great on the mannequin but not on me.”
“That shirt would look horrible without the logo to bolster how expensive it was.”
My drawers were filled with junk I no longer wore — clothes that dressed up my ego more than my body. Possessions that devoured the dollar bills in my starving wallet, items that gave me a false sense of accomplishment.
No pair of shoes, t-shirts, pieces of jewelry, or any garment to decorate our bodies can truly provide us with the sense of belonging and acceptance we delegate our possessions to give us.
Doesn’t it seem crazy to expect these inanimate objects to dictate the self-perception of living beings?
As wild as it sounds, it’s what’s happening when we obsess over the clothes on our backs, the kicks on our feet, and the bling on our wrist as if they hold the key to happiness.
Dress to Impress Nobody But Yourself
“Take pride in what you wear, but don’t let what you wear take your pride. Live according to your style and values, not others.”
When our social media feeds are bombarded with trendy looks, overpriced products justified by the brand name, and folks who are buying into the hype — we tend to follow suit with a herd mentality provoked by our desire to fit in.
Part of that desire is fueled by the absurd expectations society and peer pressure has stitched together in an attempt to convince us that we must “dress to impress.”
Unless you’re attending a wedding or job interview, this idea that we‘re obliged to impress others by what we wear is baloney. It puts out the false message that our external adornments are what define our character, rather than our personal qualities.
I hate to break it to you, but it is our character that defines our character.
Not our shirts, not our shoes, and not our jewelry. While our fashion style may be a part of our character, it doesn’t make up the whole.
You can drive a brand new Tesla or a used Toyota, and you’ll still end up reaching the same destination. Similarly, you could wear a Gucci sweater or a sweater from the swap meet, and you’ll still be the same person regardless of the logo.
If you’re worried about not “looking the part” by failing to meet the materialistic standards of your peers, remember that anybody worth your time won’t give a damn about what you’re wearing.
This doesn’t mean that you should go around town wearing your pj’s, but that you shouldn’t concern yourself with folks who will solely judge you based upon the outfits you wear.
So if there’s one person you ought to impress with how you dress, it’s yourself. If you can’t find comfort or confidence in what you choose to wear, don’t expect others to find it for you.
You Are Not Your Possessions
“‘Trendy’ is a euphemism for ‘soon-to-be-out-of-date.’”
I don’t care if you indulge in designer fashion or anything with 3+ digits on the price tag, as long as you appreciate the value and it’s affordable.
I don’t mind if you rock a fanny pack across your chest like Pancho Villa’s bandolier or a pair of sneakers that belong in the father time starter pack.
How people choose to go about fashion is completely up to them, so the problem doesn’t lie in our material possessions.
I realized that it’s not the objects themselves that are causing us problems — it’s the interpretation of what they represent that creates our expectation for lifeless objects to bring us life.
Such an expectation has led to the ridiculous consensus that what a person wears is a representation of their whole identity.
Not to say that clothing can’t be a form of self-expression, but that we tend to jump to conclusions about a person’s character because of how they present themselves through their attire.
For example, a plain white T from Walmart means that you’re broke, while a plain white T with the words “Saint Laurent” in the front means that you have money to splurge.
These are the flawed interpretations we’ve placed on fashion — a subjective term that we treat with an objective definition. Is there a right way to be “fashionable”?
Am I any less of a man for rocking a “basic” outfit versus the person wearing $500 worth of garments to cover their naked body?
When we learn to move past the peer pressure to fit in and the marketing campaigns of the fashion industry that overwhelms as if there are more than 4 more seasons to dress for — our interpretation of clothing can be one of appreciation rather than obligation.
Don’t Stress, They’re Only Things
At the end of the day, clothes are just lifeless objects. It isn’t worth stressing over what outfit you should wear tomorrow to work, or whether or not you should buy that sweater because it looked good on the mannequin.
When you know your values and recognize that you are much more than what your outfit portrays, then the concept of “fashion” becomes something you can appreciate rather than stress over.
I’m still on my minimalist journey of removing the things that don’t align with who I want to be, and the first steps meant peeling away the excess clothing that crowds my dresser like a mini landfill of impulse purchases.
Purchases I made because I thought that looking “cool” would boost my self-esteem when in reality it did nothing but eat away at my wallet and ego.
Take pride in what you wear, but don’t let what you wear take your pride. Live according to your style and values, not others.