The Language of Clothes
It’s an amazing thing, really. I get flack from my family and close friends sometimes over my preoccupation with clothing. I change several times a day for different activities, wear what some(Dad) would consider impractical shoes, and when pressed, will expand on why a particular garment does nothing for your figure.
Here’s the thing though: I’m not trendy. I follow the trends in magazines, and will occasionally buy an accessory or piece that’s uber current if I like it a lot. But for the most part, I have a style and I stick to that. I don’t have a uniform, I’m a little too creative for that, but I do know what works for me and what doesn’t. I’m on the short side, I’m curvy and I’m not a toothpick. I know that skinny pants will make my legs look like ice cream cones, anything with ruffles on the front will make my boobs appear 4 cup sizes larger, and the current flowy/80’s/extra fabric/no waist tops, if not expertly paired with body conscious dark clothing underneath, will most certainly start rumours of me being pregnant.
So I buy simple clothes for the most part; slightly flared jeans to compliment my hips, tops with defined waists (ruching is the best thing to happen to me in recent years), structured jackets, pencil skirts, and pointy-toed 9 West heels. These are the greatest, they make me look and feel taller by extending my leg line (remember: short). The feedback I get from people who know me and people who don’t is very good, not because they see I’m on-trend, but because they see ME. Let me explain. Clothes say something about you, whether you want them to or not. They’re what you’ve chosen to represent you wherever you go where people can see you. We aren’t born choosing our bodies or colouring, but every single day we do choose what we wear. Going outside in sweatpants and a wife beater communicates something to the people you encounter, as does wearing mink and a tiara. No message is wrong, you just have to care enough to be intentional about what you’re saying. I always think it’s a shame when people don’t get this, it means they could be working hard in life doing something, but putting themselves behind the 8-ball with unintentional communications. How many of us know that bright young business woman who gets snickers and rumours instead of praise around the office because she wears too low tops and too short skirts? Or the young guy who can’t get a date but insists it’s not because of his daily sweatpants and dirty t-shirt uniform? And the deadliest of all: the person who is capable and intelligent and should be running the company but wears frumpy, old, shapeless clothing so that no one actually notices him or her?
Now back to me, because it’s my blog. It bothers me to think that I could work hard and have that negated by what I’m wearing, so I’m very intentional about what I wear, all the time. Hey, people are everywhere, and you never know who you’re going to bump into. I don’t leave the house without makeup or wearing anything I’d be embarrassed to run into an ex in. I choose clothes that make me look good, not clothes that overpower me. I’m not a label whore, brainless consumer is not an image I’m cultivating. I don’t cheap out on dress pants or shoes, because you can always tell. I have clothing tailored, I have shoes repaired once before I throw them away. I spend very little on fancy dresses so that I only get photographed in them once or twice. I make sure that all my shirts hit my hip bone so I look proportionate, and I always wear earings. I get my nails done and keep my hands moisturized, I learned that from my Mom. I almost always have a scarf with me in case I get cold.
All of these little rules have taken me years to figure out, and they may seem a little binding. Honestly though, they free up my time and money considerably. I don’t agonize over what to wear too much because everything I own looks good, and I don’t buy stuff that looks good on the hanger but not on me. Over the years, people have noticed. Being the woman who’s always nicely put-together has it’s advantages at work and personally. My style communicates that I’m capable of handling whatever you throw at me. It shows you I’m self-aware, grounded, and creative. Most of all it shows you that I care enough about every person I meet that I’m going to put that effort in to dress intentionally. Anyone who takes the time to think about what they’re putting on in the morning sends a message that what they’re communicating matters. It’s not about looking a certain way; it’s about looking the way you ARE. We could all use a little less fashion and a little more style, don’t you think?
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