Who do we dress for?

LogoIn a comment thread on another fashion blog that I read recently, several women objected to the idea of dressing to work from home during the pandemic. They felt that they were just as productive in their sweats or pjs. One reader brought up an interesting question, however. “Who are we dressing for – ourselves or others?” she asked. “If we wear nice things outside the house, but not inside, do we do that to be complimented, to impress, to influence, or perhaps to display wealth?”

I think women, especially younger women, often dress to impress or attract men. I wish I could tell them not to bother! There’s absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to look attractive, but if a man is only interested in you for your looks, he’s not worth it!

More often, though they may not realize it or want to admit it, women dress to impress other women. Looking good in the eyes of other women often makes us feel better about ourselves.

To me, one of the best things about growing older has been reaching the point of not caring so much about what other people think. I choose to dress the same at home as I do to leave the house because I’m dressing for me. Wherever I am, I want to look like I matter, like I care about myself, and I want to have fun with how I dress. Of course, I also want to be comfortable and appropriately dressed for whatever I’m doing, so I’ll probably change if I’m going out to dig in the garden or wash the car!

I don’t suppose I’ll ever dress like Iris Apfel, but I definitely agree with her philosophy!


Who do you dress for?

5 thoughts on “Who do we dress for?

  1. Back in my much younger days, I probably (did) dressed for the public, be it fellow students or later on co-workers and of course, fellas. Poor reasons for dressing but I think that showed a huge insecurity on my part. Self-esteem plays such a large role in our lives. We want to “fit in” with what we think are the popular kids or respected adults. This may not be the answer to the question you posited but if you look at the dynamics of a group of women, you may see these characteristics. Love yourself, ladies! My late MIL loved all the adoration she got from her “church ladies” because of the way she dressed. If you knew her childhood and marriage, you would understand her feelings. Finally at almost 73, I dress to please myself and am comfortable with who I am. There is only one Iris and I applaud her attitude!

    • Thank you for your very thoughtful response, Donna! I think that insecurity is probably the biggest reason that women dress to please others instead of themselves. I suspect that many of the women that we look up to, that seem to have it all together, and who always look their best are hiding insecurities that we know nothing about.

  2. I listened to an Oprah podcast today and in it she mentioned looking into her closet recently, which anyone who has watched her over the years probably knows is a palatial dream closet, and she realized it had no meaning. All those designer items that showed her status to everyone mean nothing in this pandemic. No one see’s her clothes.
    Lately I often find myself getting dressed only because I have a video meeting or have to go out of the house to run an errand. When I choose clothes to go out these days I more often choose for comfort and function over fashion, but what makes my clothing functional has changed. I now think about things like if I can take a layer off to remove a layer of contamination after opening doors with my hip, elbow or touching a public surface. Will the sleeves be in the way for frequent hand washing? Will my hairstyle or headband keep my hair from getting in my face so I don’t have to touch my face to sweep it away? I had a funny realization the other morning that even deodorant, a basic staple of my morning routine since I was a preteen, has become somewhat optional… no one should be close enough to smell me anyway!

  3. Pingback: Function over fashion? | Following Augustine

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