A while ago I had a disagreement with someone about needing a dress to impress. She told me that I must not like myself because I don’t like dressing up or wearing anything other than what I call my personal “uniform”. Apparently, because I don’t like to regularly wear pretty dresses or “feminine” clothes there must be something wrong with me and that bothers other people.
I am of the mentality that I don’t have to impress other people, with what I’m wearing and that if I’m happy & the clothes I’m wearing are clean and appropriate for the occasion, then it’s really not anyone’s business. I don’t particularly enjoy “dressing” up. I have some lovely, fancier clothes and dresses but I don’t wear them unless it’s a special occasion or I need to dress more smartly.
I don’t care about impressing other people on a day to day basis. For a job interview, I’ll wear whatever is appropriate, for a wedding, I’ll dig out a dress and heels, for a night out, I’ll make an effort, but on a daily basis, I simply cannot be bothered and frankly I’m not out to impress other people with what I wear.
People don’t get that I’m actually very happy and comfortable in the clothes I wear. My clothing choices truly are not a reflection of my confidence.
When I was a teenager I drove my mother mad because I refused to wear anything but baggy black t-shirts and jeans. I liked them, they were comfortable and practical, and I was happy. We would have endless battles because she wanted me to dress in a more “girly” way. I jumped for joy when we were told we could wear trousers instead of skirts at school and celebrated when I was working as a nurse when I got a job where I could wear scrubs with pockets and not the awful nurses dresses I used to have to wear. I like practical and sensible. Pretty is great, but if the only way I am acceptable to society is when I am in a dress and heels then society needs to get a grip.
I don’t actually feel comfortable when dressed in anything other than my standard combat pants or boy style jeans and a comfortable jumper or shirt for every day. It’s not an image thing or a how I feel about myself thing, it’s just how I’ve always felt. I’ve tried. I make an effort, and dress up and I’m miserable until I get home and can get back into my normal for me clothes. Dressing up is fine, but not for every day.
I kind of object to being told that I need to dress up to impress people or that people perceive me as a certain way because I’m not someone who dresses up or likes it. I also don’t think that men are generally given a hard time because of how they dress. If a bloke likes to wear clothes he feels comfortable in, no one says anything. But because I’m a woman, I must make an effort to look “nice” for everyone else, even when I really don’t feel comfortable dressing in that way. I actually don’t even enjoy being complimented when I’m dressed up or I’ve made an effort because it makes me feel that people only see your worth when you are dressed a certain way. I am a person who literally doesn’t judge people based on how they are dressed because I don’t look at people that way. I don’t care what you wear if you are happy, that’s fine with me.
So, when I say that the way I dress is not a reflection on my confidence, I really mean it. I’m finally comfortable in my own skin, I wear what I want because it works for me. I’m what you might have called a tomboy. I’m happy in my baggy jeans and a jumper, and I wear them because I want to. Don’t worry too much though, I still love pink so I guess that doesn’t make me a real tomboy!
When, do we think, will we stop telling women what standard they have to live up to, in a way that we never expect of men? No one would dream of telling a man he needs to look nicer to please other people. I live in hope that my daughter won’t have to face this. Sadly, I fear she will.