I don’t want or need to dress to impress

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.

dress to impress

Posted in Friday's Rants from The Soap Box and tagged Attitudes to women, feminism.


  1. I like to dress just for me and how I feel on that day. Sometimes I am in jean, other times joggers and sometimes dresses. People judge you all the time don’t they!? I wear joggers I get the look, jeans; that look and dresses with my favourite mustard tights and people stare!! Hehe, I love wearing them and not going to stop wearing what I like cos the woman in the supermarket can’t take her eyes off me!! I always think wear what you love and feel comfortable in as someone will always have their thoughts anyway 🙂 🙂

  2. Yes! Preach it. I dress ‘well’ but contrary to what people may think I actually have very low self esteem and confidence. I like that even as a teen you stuck to your convictions because at the end of the day we all have different personal styles and if comfy and baggy works for you then it works for you. After all fashion is always connected to a sense of identity.

  3. Why anyone thinks it’s ever acceptable to pass comment to someone about the way they dress is beyond me. You do you, and that’s all you should ever do. Surely dressing the way you want to dress makes you more happy with who you are? I know if I was wearing clothes I didn’t feel comfortable in it would make me feel miserable. Just keep being yourself!

  4. For some people, like you and I clothes are more functional. Some people have an interest in clothes and fashion and that’s OK too. I think it’s good you’ve written about this as no one should put their feelings on other people

Comments are closed.