It’s been a long time, years perhaps, that I have been wanting to write a blog article on why how we dress matters to who we are! Before I begin however, if you would so kindly allow me, I would like to get a couple of things clear; just kind of clear the air:)
This blog site is all about opening up, exchanging ideas, unraveling the mind, and passionately divulging what inspires us to live authentic and purpose-filled lives, and what pushes us to make our communities and the world at large, a better place. As such, myself plus, from time-to-time, guest writers (for guest writers, see Guest Guess), will continue to share anything and everything that motivates us and drives us to be the people that we are, and anything and everything that pushes us to live excellent and joyful lives! I say that to say, please do not be surprised by some of the articles that pop up on this site! They are all part of the larger canvas of an artist pursuing knowledge!
Moving forward, I just want to share that through this blog article, I am not by any means advocating for consumerism (you don’t have to go and buy more and more to present your best self) or mainstream fashion (you shouldn’t have to be follow fashion trends to give the world the best of who you are). Furthermore, I am not policing how you might choose to dress or telling you to dress in a particular fashion! I am after all a feminist :D! Rather, I chose to write this blog article to motivate you to think about and reflect on why you choose to dress the way that you do, and what kind of message, most importantly, you send to yourself, and the message that you send to the world! I wrote this article to ask you to join me on this journey of excellency, where the joy, inspiration, intellectual prowess, faith, eclecticness that we fill inside, is evidenced on the outside (more about this in an upcoming post)!
One thing I want to be clear about is that you shouldn’t be fooled by the idea that people no longer judge a book by its cover! Unfortunately, that is still not the world in which we live, thus, in the same way that you care what someone else looks and smells like, as does the rest of the world. They too care what you look and smell like. Also, keep in mind that as you become even more accomplished, how you look and dress becomes even more important. People start to pay even more attention, and as such begin to raise their standards only to see if, so you succeed and grow, you will meet them.
Therefore, I implore you to care, for your own sake. Don’t let someone close the door on you because you’ve become too passive about what you look like! I understand that any opportunity where someone cares too much about what you look like, isn’t a good opportunity to begin with, but the truth of the matter is that, most times you won’t even know that the door was closed because you didn’t care enough about self presentation.
I know I am getting into some elements of the politics of respectability here, but please bear with me. Especially for those of us who live in spaces where the majority doesn’t look like we do, and where society functions on a bed of assumptions about what we are, it becomes even more important for us to always dress like bosses. We have to be proactive, dress more fabulously, and work twice as hard. Sadly, that is the ugly reality of the politics of respectability that govern the prejudiced world in which we live (I’ll come back with a post on politics of respectability).
Moreover, and most importantly, beyond the world might say, dress to impress yourself! I cannot stress enough how important it is for you to dress for yourself and to impress yourself before anyone else (yes, that includes your partner and boss)! Trust me when I say, what you think about yourself ultimately matters a thousand times more than what anyone else ever has to say about you! Thus, you have to present yourself in such a way that the world will know you respect yourself, that you woke up and took the time you get yourself ready to handle some serious business.
When you think of yourself as the top boss, as the CEO of your life, and of your purpose, you will act like a CEO, you will dress like a CEO, you will talk like a CEO and guess what, others will also address you like a CEO! It’s really that simple! If you step outside your door polished (clothes ironed, hair combed, nails groomed, teeth brushed, shoes polished), confident and ready to conquer the world, everyone around you will feel that positive attitude, energy and vibe and people you come across will respect you for it!
Dressing well for yourself has nothing to do with fashion or over consumerism or being carelessly normative about gender appropriateness! It rather has everything to do with what makes you feel good and what represents the best of who you are! I mentioned earlier that there is a message that you send to yourself through the way that you dress. You might never have thought about it that way, or you might never have thought about it at all, but there is a clear and strong message! I’ll give you an example.
Even though I made a commitment a long time ago, to always feel and look my best, there are from time to time some days where as I am getting dressed, I feel frustrated with my clothes, or think I don’t have enough of this and that, and as such, as I start to feel overwhelmed, I end up opting for a look that is less that what I have told myself I would always give to me!
I promise you that on the days I have chosen to be lazy, and have, as a result, symbolized the stress I was feeling through the way that I dressed, the way that I was felt inside did not change throughout the day because, like a self fulfilling prophesy, how I was dressed just reminded of everything that I was feeling. On the other hand, even if I wake up feeling lousy for whatever reason, if I dress to impress myself, and I dress like I’m a boss, as I go through my day, with the positive reassurance I am getting from how I fabulously adorned myself that morning, my attitude and energy begins to change, as I start to act and behave like I’m fabulous. For you doubters out there, this has nothing to do with putting too much emphasis on physical appearance, but everything to do with human nature and how we respond to different stimuli. I’ll give you another example from my bachelor’s degree and another one that I have experienced in meetings time and time again.
I know college students have a propensity to “dress down” during exams! I used to do it in my bachelor’s degree. Even though I would dress sort of well during the rest of the semester, the story and attitude completely changed during exam week. Ask my mentor, and she will tell you the number of conversations we had about me retiring these particular yellow sweats that only came out during those periods. For whatever reason, as students, we convince ourselves that to show how serious we are, we have to look like we have stayed up all night to study (even though I rarely ever did).
For whatever ever silly reason, we think that we get extra stickers by showing everyone on campus that we are so serious about our exams, we didn’t even have enough time to properly get ready the morning of! What ridiculousness! I quickly changed that game plan when I started my master’s degree, and as I did, I saw myself lose the anxiety that I used to have about exam day mornings. Additionally, dress like a boss at a meeting and watch as your language and attitude change to reflect that of a boss. Dress like a hobo and see yourself slouch in that chair and start to behave and talk like one as well! I mean the choice is so easy! I shouldn’t even have ask you which one you are going to take right? 🙂
Whether known to us or not, I think that we all have different degrees of fabulousity. We can and should all personally define fabulosity for ourselves and live along that idea we create! The most important thing for us to remember is that being well put together or representing fabulosity, is about presenting your personally defined best self, which includes in it, the way that you look to the world every single day. Wake up excited to get ready, and to conquer the world with your very best performance.
I know that my attitude and confidence is very much inspired with how I feel when I walk out of that door. Moreover, God expects, as well as, yearns for us to be excellent in everything we do. Why limit it only to particular aspects of our lives. As I finish unraveling, my dear reader, friend, artist, I implore you to make a commitment to yourself to always do, be, and look your best! I assure you that when you are at the top of your game physically, mentally, spiritually, psychologically, emotionally, and aesthetically, you will give the best of your authentic self to those around you and your larger community! I promise you that you will without a doubt succeed, inspire others along the way, and make a difference where you are:)
-Unravel Away Artist-