August 26, 2021

Dressing to Impress is so Overrated.

Oscar Wilde once wrote, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness.”

That is true in some areas of life, but definitely not when it comes to being true to oneself, especially with how we dress.

History shows how fashion has always influenced social norm and class. The more elaborate your clothes, the wealthier you were or at least that’s how people perceived you.

Fashion styles also seem to repeat themselves every so often. Currently, the stores sell a style that was popular when I was a teenager. Personally, it is fun to not only travel back in time, but seeing all the teenagers and adolescents wearing it, thinking they are the coolest kids in town, brings a smile to my face.

However, always having to conform to a specific style every season and year cannot only be exhausting, but also quite stressful. We can probably all recall the painful pressure of having to fit in and the disappointment when our parents could not afford buying us the latest style of jeans, shoes, or jacket.

To be honest, I never encountered this sort of pressure until I moved to the United States. I was immensely surprised that there was an actual “back to school” shopping season. In fact, I thought it was (and is) ridiculous of companies to advertise specific styles specifically targeted to kids and teenagers, applying pressure to belong! This already starts in kindergarten!

I grew up wearing hand-me-downs from my older brother and neighbor kids. My parents only bought me new clothes when I actually needed them. If I had holes in my pants, shirt, or socks, my mom would patch them up nicely and sometimes even embellish my pants with different fabric stickers. That, I thought, made me the coolest kid, because nobody else would have this pair of pants.

My mom always had me wear whatever I wanted. If it didn’t match, she didn’t care. I loved that! I would wear things that felt comfortable.

As a matter of fact, I appreciated this fashion freedom so much that I continued it with my own kids. At a young age of two, my kids would pick out their own clothes and would later decide what style they wanted to wear, regardless of much the colors or patterns clashed.

I also shopped at thrift stores early on and still do, although I took a short break from doing so by request of my daughter (peer pressure). She absolutely embraces it now, though, because she finds clothing items as unique as herself.

It’s a bit disheartening when I walk down the street and see girls and often guys look like clones. They all have the exact same types of pants, shorts, boots, and hair styles. I’m not saying their personalities are the same, but they all dress the same. Fitting in is important, I get it, but completely disappearing in a crowd due the current fashion style? Where is the creativity? Where is your true self-expression? Where is you?!

Once we feel the need to be just like everyone else, we lose a part of us. We start not only looking like the people around us, but we start acting like them, too. What made us unique and special might not be accepted, or so we think.

Yes, nowadays we are much more flexible in our acceptance of people who are not like us, but somehow, I still observe this need of “cloning.”

I find joy and relief in seeing others embracing their blissful ignorance in style when I see them walk through a “crowd of clones.” It’s like an everyday superhero parting the sea of people. You can just tell how much enthusiasm they carry within themselves.

I love thrift stores! They not only sell unique clothing items, but the pieces themselves get a second or third life! And, they don’t follow current fashion trends. As a person on the shorter side, “super high waisted” makes me look like grandpa Joe whose pants sit right under the armpits. Not cute!

Thrift stores don’t abide by the heavy thumb of current fashion trends. They carry pieces from all past decades and seasons. It’s like a modern-area fashion treasure hunt! You never know what you can find. And guess what? You decide what’s in style, not the industry. It’s freeing!

No pressure to fit in. No fashion cloning— just you expressing your personality by jumping outside the box of conformity. Did I mention the money you can save? Thrift away!

Free yourself from the chains of fashion gurus. Resuscitate clothing items and rescue them from the “island of misfit” items.

Be adventurous. Be outlandish. Have fun with your style. Break the norm and barriers. Go against the grain! Your wallet and happiness will thank you.

Dressing to impress (who?) is so overrated!


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