the forest through the trees

Someone asked me a couple weeks ago about what kind of clothes boys respond to and how to dress flirty but not overly so, and my initial reaction to that question was almost confusion. Like, why would you even want to dress a certain way to make boys respond to you? I guess it's been a while since I was in high school. While I was never one of those girls who had boyfriends, I did wish I had more attention from boys, especially since my friends got a lot more attention than I ever did. Looking back from where I am now, I realize that I'm just not one of those girls who will ever be a boy magnet, nor would I want to be. I've come to discover that my quiet self confidence actually kind of intimidates men, and I rather prefer it that way. But the question still makes me think about how much differently people can think about clothes and the role they play in life
For myself, clothing and style are more of a description of my inward self, rather than a way to get a certain reaction out of other people. I realize that clothing certainly can function as a reaction-inducer (if it didn't, there wouldn't be a club-wear industry, I suspect), but I just have no interest in wearing clothes for other people.

pastoral hide & seek dress/courtesy of modcloth :: cardigan/gap :: boots/minnetonka

I think maybe my dislike of this concept began in Church. Granted, I never went to a church that required that you dress up to attend, but I would sometimes sit in church as a kid and get annoyed by the idea that God would want you to dress up for him. It confused me, like, wouldn't God take you as you are? Isn't that what the Bible said? And yet there were whole groups of people who would be offended if you wore ripped jeans to church or if you had a hat on when you prayed. I guess I understood dressing nice to honor him, but the concept still rubbed me the wrong way.

But I digress, I guess I just don't like the idea that you should alter your personal style to please or get attention from someone else. At the same time, I think everyone should know that appearances do matter. We have eyes for a reason, and no matter how well intentioned people want to seem, we all instantly judge based on what we see. Maturity allows us to evaluate whether that initial visual judgement is accurate, but it's still true. Why people still go out in public wearing pajamas is still beyond me. I guess this could seem contradictory.... "dress for yourself and your own personal style! Unless that personal style is wearing pajamas to the grocery store." But really, is wearing sweats or PJs in public anyone's self professed personal style? I doubt it.

My stance has always been that you should dress for yourself, and if a guy or anyone else doesn't like it, then they clearly aren't meant for you! They way you dress expresses yourself, so why should you change yourself to get someone to like you? Ultimately, you'll just end up unhappy. This doesn't mean that I won't dress up to go on a date, but when I do dress up it is in my own style and in a way that first and foremost makes me happy. When I look in the mirror I want what I see to reflect who I am. I'm not always completely successful, but at least I put some effort into it.