I hear a lot of people say “I dress well for myself, because I like to look good”. This has come up especially when people talk about certain things they find look nice, but one of their friends will say “hey you know girls don’t really find green shoes to be attractive” or something to that effect. The fall-back answer is “well I don’t care, I dress well for myself”. I think that’s kinda bull.
Most people do most things for themselves, most of the time. So it would be hard to argue that people don’t dress well because they want to. The distinction I want to make though, is that people don’t actually understand what they’re saying when they say this. In reality, people want confirmation and want to feel good, and they get that through other people. Someone will dress in a certain way (or see people on TV or in the media dress that way), get confirmation from friends, family and strangers (via compliments, looks, attention, etc.) and they will be happy. They’ll then continue to dress in a way that repeats this feeling, until the point where someone says that something isn’t attractive to others and they have to defend themselves. They defend themselves by saying that it’s not for other people, it’s for them. They think that the choice of clothing or behaviour is for them when in reality, it’s the positive feedback and acceptance that they need, so dressing a certain way is just the middle step between the positive feeling and their choices.
I’m not even entirely sure why I’m writing this, I guess it just bothers me when people are stubborn about things that they don’t understand, and have come to believe (as in this case) that it’s a conscious choice that they make that has no connection to what other people think. Another defense might be “but I don’t follow the trends”. Well, that’s another way of differentiating yourself and making yourself more attractive to potential mates by choosing a certain style. It’s for you in the sense that you will get something out of it, but not directly.
Then you might say “Oh but I’ve always thought this dark lipstick looks good even though everyone says it’s bad.” Well, that’s also not you. You weren’t born with the opinion that dark lipstick is nice, attractive, or even suits you. You saw commercials for makeup and hair, beautiful TV show hosts, paintings of noble women, and your gorgeous aunt wearing it. You then formed the opinion, over many many many years, and have come to accept it. Those people aren’t doing it for them. They’re doing it because it’s considered attractive, and that in turn promises a dream of good relationships, attention, and more.
I’m not asking or suggesting that anyone change the way they dress, I’m simply suggesting that behind the choices you make there are bigger, more substantial drivers that people often ignore. I like to think that being aware of what drives your decisions, in general, will lead to better decision-making abilities in any walk of life.