And by “dress up” I’m not talking about formality or fussiness, or being perfectly turned out or overdone. It’s about making a conscious effort to put oneself together.
I’ve never been comfortable hanging out in pajamas all day, even if I have no plans to leave the house. Perhaps it’s compulsiveness but I need to feel ready for whatever might come my way. Dressing up, and by that I mean in street clothes, chosen with the conscious intent of creating a cohesive and hopefully pleasing whole, an outfit if you will, has become a habit of self-care.
We talk a lot about the impression we create with our style, and while that’s important, even more important I believe is the message we send to ourselves by making the effort to dress well. A conscious choice to dress in a way that expresses who we are is affirming. It’s powerful. On a good day it puts us in harmony with our inner selves, projects confidence and integrity and those around us respond well to that. On a bad day, it can be a boost to a frayed self-esteem. It may sound a bit woo-woo, but I do believe that the universe reflects back to us what we project.
There’s no one way to dress well. Lifestyle, budget, preferences, personality will all factor in. But I think there are a few common denominators:
- Clothes, shoes and accessories don’t need to be new, but they should fit correctly, and be clean and cared for.
- Nothing should bind, pinch, itch or hurt. It’s hard to feel good about what you’re wearing if you’re physically uncomfortable.
- Likewise, styles and aesthetics should be emotionally comfortable, and aligned with your values and personality, as well as appropriate for the venue (the parameters of “appropriate” being broader than in the past, but I believe some limits still apply).
- Dressing well to me also means a certain harmony…the elements of an outfit are balanced and don’t fight with each other. Even “more is more” looks are best when that balance is achieved.
I should add that personally I don’t feel fully dressed without earrings, lipstick and just a hint of fragrance.
I believe that dressing well is a present you can give yourself every day, even with a limited wardrobe or budget. And wear your “good stuff.” As my grandmother used to say, “there’s no point in having nice things if you don’t use them.” Life is short.
How do you define “dressing well?”