My husband, who knows me for 30+ years, tells me every so often that I think about things a lot…. He’s told me that I make connections that most people don’t. I used to take this as a criticism, believing there was something wrong with me. This was my perception, not his.
So it comes as no surprise that in the midst of foregoing makeup, I would consider my motivations behind daily choices I make about my appearance.
I worked with a client via Skype today, which is fairly typical for me. When he requested a visual connection, I laughed. It was to be my first face-to-face contact with a client au natural. I established visual connection and proceeded with the session, admittedly relieved that he was a ‘he’ and wouldn’t be as conscious about my appearance as I believed a woman would be.
I had to question that. While I’ve heard and read much about men’s reactions to women’s appearances, I haven’t seen as much regarding women’s responses to other women. On outings with my daughter there’s the inevitable once-over directed at her whenever we encounter other females, regardless of their age. There have been occasions where I’ve been shocked by the venomous looks she’s attracted for no apparent reason other than her appearance.
It was also fascinating to observe, once I was able to get past the momma-bear-don’t-mess-with-my-child instinct. I got to thinking that it must be programmed into us instinctually as survival of the species or something, because I know that don’t have that impact on women and am pretty much invisible. (I guess I’ve reached the age where I am no longer perceived as competition.) Now that I think about it, I never had that affect on women, and so it makes me wonder if expectations of women have changed or I really was invisible?
Which of course, got me to thinking once again of my meeting with Gary last week. I remember pointing out to him how conscious I was of other women’s appearances during this month’s experiment and how curious I was about my own unconscious judgments of women’s appearances. I recall being acutely aware of the unexpected standing out to me as he and I talked… things like fuchsia pink hair color, or full winter gear complete with down coat on a balmy autumn day. It was just my noticing what appeared out of place in my expectations of a typical experience at Whole Foods.
But my simply noticing these women felt like a judgment in that moment.
Which then got me to thinking about my own choices of clothing. Do I ‘dress for the occasion’ — the way one would put on old clothes to paint or do some heavy duty cleaning? Or do I dress to impress and fit in, like when I wear black clothes on trips into NYC? Or still, do I choose my clothes to express how I feel, as when I put on a bright color on a dreary day or wear a funky jacket I from a thrift store?
The answer to all of these questions is a resounding ‘yes.’
Yes, I dress to impress and express.
I dress depending on my mood and I dress for the situation I will be in.
And the common theme in all of my decisions is that I am true to myself in what I wear.
As long as I know why I know I’ve intentionally selected what I wear, it is an honest expression of who I am.
What’s the most outrageous item you’ve worn when dressing to impress?
Copyright by Donna Cerame, 2014