Dressing to Impress: Are you Ever Enough?

Getting dressed each day is a pretty standard activity. For some of us it can be done with very little care and effort at all, whilst for others getting ready for the day can bring about great distress. The conundrum of what to wear!

Quite often in choosing an outfit, I will refer to my plans and ask a lot of questions of myself: what appointments do I have? Who am I meeting with? Will I be working in the laboratories, public speaking, running an event or doing administrative work in my office? And, of course, what about the weather?

One morning I was drawn to a halt as I was preparing to get ready for work. Flicking through the clothes in my dressing room, I asked myself a new question:

Who are you dressing for?

Such a simple question but with so much for me to consider.

I realised that I was dressing either to impress others or to display an image of myself that I wanted others to see. I wanted to fit in and be accepted.

With this as my motivation, it meant that I started each day already feeling imposed upon by the pressure of what the world wanted me to be, rather than accepting myself and bringing all of me to the world.

It felt uncomfortable and unsettling to start the day like this, and I was forever looking for confirmation from others that I was OK. It meant that I was coming from a “I’m not enough” mentality as I tried so hard to make myself be what I felt others wanted me to be.

So, I started again on this day and asked:

What do you feel to wear today for you?

I chose my outfit and noticed how different I felt in it. It felt lovely just being me for the whole day and so much more supported working in an intense environment. It was like an added level of self-acceptance had been applied to my body, just by dressing for myself. The clothes were the same clothes that I had worn on other days, even in the same combinations and with the same accessories, but how I felt wearing the clothes I had chosen for myself was vastly different.

I had fallen for the embedded ideals and beliefs that are imposed upon us as men and women: that it is all about our looks and our image. I felt how hard I had tried to reach those standards but never got to feel that I was ever enough.

We are constantly fed messages that our hair needs to be luscious like models and movie stars, our makeup must boldly enhance our eyes, our skin flawless with a soft, powdery glow like in magazines, our lips glossy and full and our body curvaceous in just the right spots. We need to dress sexy for some occasions, casual for others, and professional too – and these all have a very different look.

It isn’t about whether to wear make-up or not, or whether to wear this outfit or that outfit – it is about preparing and dressing ourselves for a day, deeply honouring how beautiful we are from the inside out. From here, we do not allow ourselves to be jostled around by the expectations and pressures that this world wants to place upon us, forever telling us that we are not enough, that we must strive to be more, and that we are somehow terribly flawed.

There is a freedom that comes with you being you.

By dressing for yourself, you are already enough; in fact, you are gorgeous just as you are by being your sweet, tender and sensitive self. By feeling good in your own skin, your eyes will sparkle and show a depth like never before, your body will move in a way which is naturally elegant, graceful and even sexy, without any trying whatsoever, your complexion will change as the muscles in your face release from the holding on that comes with trying to be something for others, and you’ll have a confidence to wear your hair in whatever style you wish it to be on that day.

This simple change to how I start my day has brought about a profound change to my life. I now allow myself to accept more of who I am and to deepen the Love that I have for myself to a level that was not there before. Dressing to impress others is loaded with so many beliefs of how we are meant to be, that its outward focus leaves an emptiness and a longing for acceptance that is never fulfilled, and which isn’t at all honouring of all that we are.

So only one question remains… What do you feel to wear today, for you?

By Maree Savins, Australia

Further Reading:
Fashion Styling – Embracing and Appreciating Ourselves
Who Are You in the Latest Fashion Stakes?
New Haircut, New Perspective – Exposing Investments in Appearance and Letting Go

749 thoughts on “Dressing to Impress: Are you Ever Enough?

  1. Getting dressed this morning I paused and asked myself “What do I feel to wear today?” and instead of grabbing any old thing I went back and chose my outfit from this stance. Reading this was a great reminder that how I dress gives away how I feel about myself.

  2. This inspires me to look at where my each and every movement comes from, and what the motivations are, to be in the world, and how they might come with critique and judgment about myself, and how I should be and present myself to the world, and sometimes I don’t even know the difference between what I truly feel, and what is ‘right’.

  3. Until we learn to accept us, we will never accept the world. Our constant reactions to rape, murder, theft, political lies etc. have not changed anything in the world, the fights, the marches – it has all just added fuel. If we truly want the world to change it has to start with us.

  4. How exposing these two questions are regarding the consciousness that women have been so regulated by for aeons – dressing to impress others rather than feeling the beauty within and to dress from this.
    Who are you dressing for?
    What do you feel to wear today for you?

  5. Who do I dress for; who do I put my make up on for; why do I wash and dry my hair? I understand and am working on the fact that until I do these things based on a deep value and care for myself, I am still feeding a performance and ‘keeping up appearances’ model of life that is not true.

  6. When we get caught up in dressing with what others might like we lose the naturalness of ourselves as we become stiff in our movements because we are not truly comfortable, and when we dress from how we feel we have a flow in every step, not to mention how great we feel too.

  7. “how I felt wearing the clothes I had chosen for myself was vastly different.” It is not the price-tag of the clothes you put on but how you feel who you are that is priceless.

  8. I am very aware of this pattern – waking up in the morning and thinking about what I am doing rather than who I am dressing for. And is it truly to celebrate myself? When I do dress from how I feel, it is very confirming, and I do not go into the day wanting recognition in my clothing because I had dressed for a particular event.

  9. Dressing to impress is indeed an empty gesture, because it is the sparkle in our eyes and the glow from our skin that comes from living in joy and love for ourselves that truly expresses our beauty and sexiness to the world.

  10. I realised that I still use my head to choose what to wear for the day, am I meeting clients, will I be walking a lot?, is it going to be hot cold, rather than truly feeling what colour to,wear and what outfit to wear from the body. Yesterday I put all the mental thoughts to one side and deeply appreciated wearing a crisp clean white shirt which was A line in cut and very cool to wear as it allowed the air around me to flow and a lovely sludgy green skirt. The process of taking the time to iron the shirt and lovingly prepare myself for the day felt really beautiful from my normal rushed approach and every time I caught my reflection somewhere or looked down at what I was wearing I felt complete. We put so much importance on what we wear without putting any importance on honouring ourselves.

    1. ‘We put so much importance on what we wear without putting any importance on honouring ourselves.’ This is so true Fiona, it is a love of the superficial, the outside, the clothes, but where is the love for ourselves?

  11. We are so familiar with wearing clothes because of what we are doing rather than who we are that it has taken me a while this morning to truly feel what to wear for me. I started to use my head to rationalise what I was thinking and wear something that is suitable for going to a dirty building site and do some cleaning. When I stopped all the chat what I really felt to wear is a beautiful expensive crisp white shirt (which needs to be ironed – another reason for dismissing it as too much effort) and so that’s the shirt I will wear. I will take care when I’m cleaning and at the end of the day I will wash my shirt so it will be free from dust once again. This is such a lovely experiement and I will report back on how I felt wearing clothes to confirm me.

  12. This is a great question to consider, ‘are we ever enough?’ Do we stop and appreciate who we truly are throughout our day? Do we appreciate the commitment we give to learning to be all we are in every walk of life? Appreciation supports me to build a sense that I am enough and the more I feel that the more I am able to learn.

    1. I have spent my life keeping clothes for best and not wearing what I feel to wear for fear of it getting ruined which underpins that feeling of I’m not worth it so today I’m going against what has been my norm and wearing my very lovely crisp white shirt to a dirty dusty building site just because it’s what I feel to wear.

  13. There are social contracts we are part of that affect us in elementary activities which have a social connotation. You get acceptance and recognition in exchange for you confirming them that living below our value is the way to go and the relief you offer them that you abide by the contract and will do not dare to cross the line.

  14. Such a needed blog to break the illusion we buy into of how much we need to conform as women to be a certain way. It is a trap when we give our power away to pictures and ideals as we can never be enough. But when we focus on appreciating ourselves for who we are, then we start to dispel the hold of materialistic ideals that have grasped us.

  15. I also used to dress like this, in response to what I knew was coming in my day. It’s stereotyping yourself, like today I am an office worker or today I am the nurse. This already squashes down the everything that we are and tries to force it into another shape. So we start off less than who we are and already feeling imposed on by the stereotypes we have taken on.

  16. I went yesterday to an great presentation by Kate Greenaway, a physiotherapist who made me aware how I still was holding my belly a little inside because people will say something to you when you have a big belly.
    She made me aware how important it is to relax our belly completely to give our lungs the space they should get to breath life in it fullest and to relax the pelvic area all the way.
    The rounds of our body as women are beautiful. We just put all images on it.

    1. I love what you are sharing here Sylvia. Thank you. It is these seemingly little things that make a huge difference. When we become more aware how much we hold our body in certain positions we can allow ourselves to let go which allows in return for us to feel our body more and more.

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