Is wanting to look good while simultaneously “not caring what people think” a paradox?
Are you or I hypocrites for wanting to be seen as beautiful but also wanting to dodge the judgment?
Maybe, but I want to explore it more. Because I don’t feel like a hypocrite. Although I’ve heard women being called one for this reason. I understand that people judge based on looks first then character 2nd… or 3rd or 4th depending on the person….
I think there is a layered symphony of reasons why we dress and look the way we want but is it hypocritical?
“I don’t care what anyone thinks!”
Let’s first address the “not caring what people think” attitude. To clarify I do care what “some” people think. Not all people because it’s nearly impossible to impress or make everyone happy. Plus, I don’t even care if some people don’t like what I look like or what I wear. I just don’t. And I think that is a genuine and healthy “f-it” type stance on appearance. You are an individual and you are unique in how you express yourself. Not everyone will love your leggings with that print or your chrome gel nails or your jeans with the rips or your nude sandals… not everyone will love it and that’s ok. But let’s be honest, we are dressing partly for ourselves (which is GREAT!) and another side of us is dressing for others.
Humans have expressed their religion, culture, art and anything through what we put on our backs. Fashion has been there for as long as we have. Along with that we dress for others to see that expression. Much like songs, paintings and stories – clothes also communicate what and who we think we are.
I grew up with the saying “don’t judge a book by it’s cover.” While I always liked the saying, because who WANTS to be judged by their outer appearance only, it’s not really a complete saying. Whether we like it or not humans do judge by sight first. It goes way back to survival reflexes. But aside from that we determine a lot about someone with our eyes. We don’t even think about it! It happens so fast we can’t even verbalize what has happened. You don’t really know why you do or don’t trust that person… you just don’t… or do. Scientists have been studying this for years.
Should we dress for others?
Should we dress for others? Yes, to a degree we should. For example my husband loves when I wear blue, and if it happens to be hugging curves all the better. I don’t always wear a bodycon dress in blue but I do own one or two and they are for date nights with him. To me that’s a good way to dress for others. Or I want to show my respect for an event. Say I’m invited to a friends baby shower. It’s at a lovely restaurant and it’s going to be a beautiful day celebrating a new person coming into the world. Well, because I “don’t care” what I look like I could wear yoga pants and a cozy t-shirt. Who cares right? I’m being me. Or am I saying to my friend thanks for the invite and all the effort you put into this event but I don’t care, me first? It’s not a completely crazy assumption to think the mother to be might be hurt or insulted by the lack of effort right? Maybe you could call it disrespectful. If a friend put the time, effort and care into creating the event AND inviting me I’m going to put effort into respecting the time together and dress the part. See my thinking here?
At the end of the day I can wear something beautiful, comfortable (ish) and unique-to-me without giving the whole world the finger.
I think we get lost in the either/or argument: either we care about our appearance and therefore are shallow and manipulative, or we don’t care about our appearance and are “real” and edgy. What if it’s really about what you want to say to the people you care about, yourself included?
What if dressing how you want is really saying I don’t care what the magazines or media says I should look like to be accepted? I know what true beauty is and this is what it looks like. I’ll put the effort where I want and I’ll dress for the events and people I care about. I’ll dress for my well being and not for others acceptance, “others” being the people that you don’t care to know or will never know. AKA judgy strangers that will never benefit you.
What about the science earlier? About the book and it’s cover thing? Well, that again is up to you my dear. I don’t dress to impress the wrong people. If you want to get to know people and start relationships with people you admire than your clothing can help you get there by giving confidence and getting past that “first impression” thing. Be you, be authentic AND put your best foot forward. You don’t have to go broke wearing expensive clothes to impress them, just wear clothes that look good on you, that are quality and that you love. That they WILL notice. And let’s be honest, we do want to be accepted and loved. It’s not wrong to want that. So just make sure it’s the right people you focus on. If you have to go broke or wear what you hate than something is off.
This is the real nitty gritty of why we dress. Otherwise we’d all be wearing some uniform because who cares, right? I think when we dress we are saying something about us and how we view the world.
Be aware of what you want to say and don’t worry about what others are saying you have to be. I guess it’s not a paradox after all. Whoa!
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