Dressing up: masquerade worth an effort?

In nature, it is common among many species for the males to be decorated in a very elaborate manner for the purpose of impressing the females. The females, on the other hand, are usually wearing camouflage, as they should be unnoticeable within the surrounding to potential predators while caring for the young.

In human species, the dressing-up part somehow has been passed onto the females instead… Not to ignore the well-dressed men out there, as there are plenty, but it is usually women who go through all the insane sacrifices that any metrosexual would never even dream of.

Discounting those who are somehow obliged by their industry to wear something ridiculously inadequate for the weather, occasion and any laws of physics, I am puzzled as to why the otherwise relatively sane, often very intelligent and multi-competent women turn dressing-up into a religion. I am not talking here about having some style, liking to look a certain way, hiding bad skin under a thin (please mentally underscore 😉 ) layer of foundation: I am talking here about wearing a thin mini-skirt and a pair of stilettos over the fish nets… when it’s -10 ‘C outside… while having to take public transport to the other side of the city… in a blizzard… I’m talking about wearing thin stripper-heels when going sightseeing… in a city covered by cobblestones… I am talking about missing out on proper nutrition and favorite activities in order to buy something that happens to be “in” this season, or happens to be in the possession of an “impressive label”  (and thus ridiculously overpriced) to impress, predominantly, complete strangers…

I like fashion – in the same way that I like art. Some of it looks lovely to me, some of it funny, and some utterly ridiculous. Neither is my branch of specific interest, neither pays my bills. It could be nice to have some items, if possible and affordable, but I won’t die if I never will have that questionable honor to sport some world renown label. And no item, regardless of its beauty, has the power to force me to give up my food and my hobbies, my plans and interests, my health and my comfort.

Fashion magazines, movies and other media scream at us women, trying to equate looking good with success in any area of life – love, work, happiness… I call bullshit on all that!

Maybe you will turn a few extra heads if you always look amazing, but what will allow you to find your soul mate, interest him/her in yourself and (isn’t, like, this the most important part here?) keep him/her is unlikely to have too much to do with your wardrobe. I’m not saying turning into a smelly shredded monster is a better option, as extremes are something to stay clear of in many situations (and this is one of them). I’m saying it’s your character, lifestyle, interests, personality, behavior that would decide if anyone would want to stay with you or not. Unless you are a doll-faced, Barbie-built (although you probably don’t want to have her exact proportions, to be honest…), prize-item-looking babe, why don’t you scrape this stupid dream that someone would stay with you just because (or mainly because) of how you look and/or dress. And in case you are one of those rare beautiful people – are you sure you will be happy in your life being nothing more than a decorative accessory to something/someone?

Dressing up may make you feel good, but it’s an instant-fix. I have just recently read a feature on an underwear model – a beautiful, well-paid and definitely well-dressed girl. She hates herself, her life that is void of any intimacy of any sorts, and is on the brink of a mental break-down. Covering your inner sorrows by a new piece of wardrobe material is just as effective in the long run in making you happy as thinning down house maintenance to refreshing paint every other year. It may look bright and beautiful, but in its proper lifetime (probably way too soon, too) it’d collapse and bury everyone inside it if not properly taken care of. If fashion-chasing becomes a major manner of entertainment and it is not related to your profession – stop before it gets to the point in which the underwear model is at. Your entertainment should be predominantly something that fulfills you, and not your closet. Consider activities that involve you actively and allow you to grow, become better, learn something, engage with others outside of your normal social setting. Find a meaning to your life, a goal to follow (hint: it is not that LV bag you’re now thinking about) – an immaterial goal. Follow the values you stand by. Do something to change other people’s lives to the better somehow. All that would make you happy. Fashion-chasing, especially alone, would only dry your wallet and soul.

As for work – no sense of fashion would substitute competency, personal skills and passion for what you do.

Back to myself… I had my fair share of dressing up when I was little. I can still do so when I feel like it or situation requires. However, you are out of luck trying to find me freezing my butt in a mini in the middle of winter – even if I somehow absolutely must wear one for where I am going (if you come up with any place like that, let me know 😀 ). In such cases I dress for the weather anyway, take my ‘fancy’ version of whatever with me and change at location. Same applies to make-up, as I either don’t use any, or if inspiration strikes me, spend 10 minutes tops on it. It may not be an option for everyone to ditch make-up, as it may be not simply vain mask-wearing but a way to correct for some otherwise u features, but hours in front of the mirror are only appropriate in a horror-film make-up room, not real life. Spend that time getting some more sleep, exercise, fresh air and fun – you’ll look much younger, fresher and attractive when your eyes are bright with life than when it’s impossible to see them under the make-up.

I am probably at this time of my life the worst dressed person out of all people I interact with. By worst dressed I mean I am wearing the same two pairs of jeans, one pair of sneakers and rotate a few tops about 85% of the times (I have a washing machine, in case you’re wondering 😉 ). Unless I’m out dancing (and even then I stick to the same old items – just from the ‘dancing’ part of the wardrobe), I want to be comfortable. Period. I want to be dry in the rain, insulated in the wind, relaxed in the heat – I don’t want to stress over ruining some ridiculously expensive item at an impromptu brunch on the grass. You catch the drift.

How has this affected my life? Wonderfully! I am happy – I am warm when I want to be, comfortable, able to run after the tram without breaking my leg in high-heels (not an urban legend, actually – a friend’s friend happened to break her ankle exactly that way – running after the tram… in thin heels… on cobblestones…), able to change quickly between dance classes and survive anything that comes my way. I don’t miss out on meeting incredible people. I may not have a conventional career (I was a student up until now, too) – but I don’t want one, I have a better plan (although I admit for that one I might have to at times pay just a little more attention to what I’m wearing… Sigh…). Most importantly – my priorities, goals in life, lifestyle, interests and dreams – they do not become slaves to the minute mood changes of the fashion industry. I watch it, as it’s inevitable, and I may even pick something I happen to like, although I’m most likely to wear it another season, but I’m practical rather than fashion-crazy. Somehow, I don’t think my life is any less exciting (if not more) than that of the people who devote their schedule to fitting in regular shopping sprees, sales and so forth.

So here are some questions, girls and boys: is it really that important to you how someone is dressed? Or yourself? Do you think there is any sense in prioritizing fashion-chasing over other human qualities and activities?..

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About in shade

A cocktail of personality traits hard to digest for some but ultimately soothing for those who can. I observe, enjoy, travel, interact, photograph, dance, contemplate, write and love my way through this life's countless occurrences. This blog is a way to share with the world and its people some of the treasures they give me every day.
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