Dressing for “Real”

Last week’s Facebook weekend quiz asked which of the depicted women was dressing to show her “real” self. I was jazzed that so many of you responded.

We hear a lot about dressing authentically these days. But what being real in appearance actually means, and what most fashion writers say about it, are two different things.

From the viewpoint of the media, only those women who dress in an avant-garde manner; are overly dramatic in their clothes, make-up and hair; and/or are highly stylized or artistic in their appearance are dressing to show their real selves.

Yet, that’s not true. Dressing to show our real selves means just that. The woman who dresses from her inner self doesn’t let others’ opinions influence her much and doesn’t take fashion dictates too seriously. Instead, she chooses to look the way she does based on her preferences, personality, activities, interests, location, and worldview.

From this perspective, all of the choices in the quiz or any one or a combination of them could have been dressing from their “real” self. So, any answer given on the quiz could be correct.

Midlife copy

In truth, we can’t be certain of why the women were wearing what they had on because we aren’t given enough information about them (Thanks, Ashley Whittenburg, for pointing this out). Unless we know someone pretty well, we have no idea why she dresses the way she does. The woman who wears the most conservative clothes and the one who always makes an outrageous  statement may both be dressing either straight from the heart or because she feels that this is what society expects of her.


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