Fashion & Confidence: What’s Stopping You From Wearing That?
Despite the feeling of impending doom that August brings as school approaches, one thing I will always look forward to is starting the day with an outfit that will make me stand out in the midst of the hoodies, jeans, and sneakers. While most people will say that they don’t care what other people think and will always be true to themselves and speak their mind, dressing uniquely does not often apply in the same way.
Having really begun to experiment with wearing more unusual outfits, I’ve had many people – some of whom I don’t know at all – come up to me and tell me that they wish they could dress the same way, but don’t have the confidence to do so. What used to be confusing to me is the fact that many of these people seemed to possess so much more confidence than I did when it came to socializing with people they don’t know or being more outspoken in class. Fashion tends to be a more indirect form of communication, whereas going up to someone you don’t know and introducing yourself is very direct. Someone may not like your outfit, just as someone may not want to be your friend, but surely a rejection of friendship has the potential to be much more awkward?
I think everyone can admit they feel good about themselves when they know they look their best at a formal event. So what makes the idea of getting dressed for school (or during your day-to-day life, if you’re no longer a student) more intimidating? From my own observations, I’ve come to the conclusion that although fashion is an indirect form of communication, it reaches a much larger audience. When you step out and walk through the halls in a bold outfit, everyone who walks by will see what you’re wearing. Inevitably, people will form a subconscious opinion – it’s human nature to create preconceived notions of someone before we’ve even met them, based on visual characteristics. By wearing an eye-catching outfit, you put yourself out there more than you would when introducing yourself to someone. Therefore, the way we dress may actually be a much more powerful form of communication than one might think.
Let’s go back to my initial comment on hoodies, jeans, and sneakers. I have nothing against these garments – and I firmly believe that everyone has the right to wear what they want. I’m more concerned that there might be people who dress this way even though they truly wish to dress in bolder styles, but don’t because they worry about what others might think.
People will undoubtedly stare. Some will even make comments – for the most part, they’ll be positive, but there may also be negative ones. In my experience, there is nothing to be feared when you encounter staring. We tend to assume that if someone is staring at us, it must be because they think our outfit is strange; we forget that people will also stare if they think you look really good! What I tell others is this: if anyone has the nerve to make a derogatory comment to you about your outfit, their opinion is not worth acknowledging. It takes an incredibly rude and self-centered person to think it’s okay to put someone else down for expressing themselves through their personal style. Why should the opinion of someone like that even matter? It doesn’t. And most of the time, the people who do make such comments are those who don’t have the confidence to put themselves out there through the way they dress.
So the next time you decide to leave that adorable dress, high-waisted pair of pants, or daring wedges in your closet: don’t let your worries about what other people may think hold you back. You should wear what you want, and when you wear it with confidence, who has the right to criticize someone who looks good and feels good? As Dr. Seuss would say, “Those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”
Do you tend to wear more out-there styles when going to work or school, or do you verge on the more conservative side? What do you think of fashion as a form of outward expression? Leave a comment and share your thoughts, I look forward to hearing some more opinions!
Written by Jennifer Wang
Visit her fashion blog, Art In Our Blood!
Header image courtesy of flickr.com/72213316@N00