Why Bother Yourself with Style?

Isn’t there enough to worry? Things that matter more than what to throw on yourself in the morning?

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Source: lemonde.fr

Of course they are. Clothing and style aren’t really important in life – it’s something we choose to be important for us. To be able to occupy myself with style means I’m lucky enough to have all my basic needs met. Here, we have no war, no poverty; if I want something, I can go straight ahead and reach for it; food as well as ideal career. To write a blog about style is, compared to the rest of the world, luxury. And I’m grateful for it.

But luck aside, style is a way we communicate with others. A way how to be a part of a whole, regardless how much is this part in harmony with the rest or how it expresses itself. By picking specific garments you can tell others that you respect them. You can tell them if you consider yourself one of them or not. You can insult them. By the way you dress, you can show what are your interests, where you are from and how worthy you consider yourself. And on and on. We are not only brought up to think about it but also to perceive it in others. A person who is underdressed and a person that dresses tastefully would certainly bring you different feelings though you may not be aware of it.

Well, of course there’s so much more to your appearance than few pieces of fabric. The way you walk, your posture, your voice, the look in your eyes and more: all of these create the impression you have on others. But doesn’t the way you dress influence them, too? If I’m about to have an important meeting, I make sure to choose such clothes that help me look my best and that give me confidence to face whatever challenges are about to come. If I wear something that flattens my figure and complexion and I feel comfortable in it, my posture and expression change.

The other day I was going to a lesson. It was a lovely sunny day in the beginning of May and everyone seemed to enjoy it. I wore a blue and white dress with flower pattern; the rayon fabric it was made from was soft, flowy and the cut was decent but relaxed in the same time. The shoes I sported with it were easy to walk in. I felt this combination would carry me through whichever situation the day would bring. It made me feel relaxed, confident and I could focus on important things that day without single thought given to how I was dressed. I thought: Isn’t it what clothes should always do, beside covering you enough so you’re not cold?

I believe it should. That’s the main reason why to build a versatile, curated closet that works like a well-oiled machine so one can be sure it represents and enables him or her to do whatever he or she needs to do, without feeling self-concious.

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Some of us are used to pay more attention to their appearance than others. It’s commonly believed ladies do it more frequently than gents and it reflects in the inproportion of clothing offered. (Which is what my boyfriend hates because hello, being a man doesn’t mean you don’t want to look good!) Women are socialised into belief that their look is one of their most important traits; those who think they weren’t gifted with “beauty” either need to take extra care of themselves to “look good”, compensate their self-worth in other fields or basically have to overcome more obstacles in their life than those considered pretty. There are certain standards for how an attractive woman should dress and many of us undergo pain and incomfort, risking our health and safety in order to meet them – though the men aren’t those requiring us to walk in high heels, wear deep necklines and showing skin. Whoever does it, it’s only us in the end who decide to do so. The style is chosen by yourself – not the opposite. Here, we are blessed with freedom to wear whatever we like to.

Or, as Sartre puts it – we are condemned to be free.

Freedom comes with much more responsibilities and choices and maybe that’s why it’s so hard for us. We can’t blame anyone else for our mistakes but ourselves. The outer world doesn’t have that much influence. That’s why I consider important the matter of dressing as a part of how we communicate ourselves. You choose what message you’ll be sending to others – and therefore a hint, how you can be treated with.

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4 thoughts on “Why Bother Yourself with Style?

  1. I love this essay. Beautifully written.

    I want to say, style goes beyond having money. My husband wears his cracked boots with style and hardly buys anything at all. Patti Smith, for example, shopped in thrift stores and frankly had a bizarre style from what she could put together. But she was consistent and loved what she wore. The opposite of good style is not bad style, but not having a style at all.

    But it is easier to experiment if we have the money to make some mistakes. Its saves on time too.

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    1. Archana,
      I always admired the ease and simplicity of how some men sport their garments, mine including. He has only a few pieces but totally functional and worn with love. It’s funny that while I need to think about dressing, how to be more systematic about my buys etc. etc., he has never had to invest extra time in it and manages to live somehow naturally everything I’m trying so hard to implement in my life. My everyday inspiration I guess. 🙂

      Also, it warmed my heart that you like the essay. Thank you.

      Like

      1. Upon some thought, I take it back. Perhaps style requires time, money and effort ? Thrifting for gems is easy in America. It wasnt the case in India.

        And men ! perhaps not having changing fashion and the idea of them being ‘rustic’ helps. We are supposed to be delicate and feminine which evokes an image different from us in shabby shoes.

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  2. Well, I don’t know where it came from – the subconcious belief that women should care about their dressing more, that they are supposed to have more clothes, etc. Perhaps from the traditional attribute of beauty that is present since old myths and fairytales. But your idea about men seems very likely.
    Regarding the economical aspect of style, I agree. The relationship is not linear, however one has to invest certain amount of resources to be able to create his or her own style.

    Like

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