Who Are We Dressing For?
I’ve read that women don’t dress for men, they dress for other women. This sentiment is meant to be empowering, but I don’t find it to be accurate. We dress for all kinds of reasons that change on the day. It’s limiting to tie ourselves to a single notion or philosophy on dress. It’s all fine and good to have guidelines, but what good are guidelines if they hinder our ability to fully express ourselves?
We fight with a significant other, then dial up our outfit to go out with friends. When we go to brunch we wear looser fitting clothes to accommodate the extra plate(s) of French toast and breakfast breads. Carb loading aside, we also need to account for bodies that fluctuate due to angry bowels, menstruation and water retention. I can’t even look at salt without moving a belt loop. Sometimes we just want to be comfortable, sometimes we want to look cute, at times we even try for both.
Aside from dressing our temperamental human bodies we may also have ulterior motivations for the clothing we choose to wear. The reason award shows pull so much attention has little to do with the merit being awarded and more to do with the over-the-top gowns and outfits. The Met gala is a perfect example of this. Every character is trying to out-dress the other in an unspoken quest to capture the title of “best dressed”. I think this type of competition is healthy. It keeps us from showing up to events in sweat pants and unwashed hair. Though, that’s an entire look unto itself.
You don’t have to be in competition with anyone else to want to shine. Some of us are in it for the love of the game. It’s not uncommon for creative people to express their individuality on multiple levels. I find myself dressing the way a friend once described making a drawing. They said that they always set out to make the most rad thing they can imagine. Why would you settle for anything less? It would be pointless. The same goes for pulling together an outfit. If given the time and the tools, why would you put on something you didn’t want to see in your reflection?
No matter what, or who we dress for, it’s important to remember that it’s not always what you wear, but how you werk it.