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

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

  1. Dressing to impress takes us deeper into the glamour of life as it makes us think that our worth is reflected by material things instead of connecting to that which already lives within ourselves.

    1. Clothes should never make you feel more worth- they should support and confirm but never excite your way of being . And as you rightly said Francisco you can connect this way to any items or material thing you every purchased.

  2. Our soul knows exactly what we are to wear each day, from the selection we already have in our wardrobe. And our soul also knows when it is time to purchase new items of clothing.

    1. this is true- when I am connected to myself I know instantly in the morning what to wear .And when clothes don´t fit to my way of being anymore I can feel this instantly too. It just does not feel right to wear it then anymore and it is a great support to declutter them from my wardrobe

  3. This is something that needs to be taught in school. We have so many ‘important’ subjects in school, but the daily ones, that let us go strongly through the day and give us a solid base to stand on, are not deemed worth learning or seen as unimportant.

  4. All of this resonates with me, and so I can share that the more you let go of any beauty ideal – the more space it gives to explore what this true beauty is inside you. Learning that it is not in the ‘looks’ but in the ‘beingness’.

    1. No amazing piece of clothes looks great on someone who is actually not carrying it with its own beingness and inner beauty. You would probably say to someone: nice jacket, but if it emanates more than just a beautiful material depends on YOU in it.

  5. I chose a dress from my wardrobe today and it didn’t feel so great, I took it off and put it to the side and realised that it was too short and too baggy in places where it should be snug – in short – it made me look shapeless. I folded it up and put it in a pile to take to the lady who does dress alterations for me so my clothes actually fit MY body and not some generic body a clothes designer made up. To have clothes that suit and fit my body is super important, for people can then see more of me and how i live through my body as it moves and walks in this world.

    1. Interesting that the latest fashion is all about wide and very unshaped clothes for women. There is so much hiding in oversize tops etc.. What a shame..That´s why it need women like you, who show themselves and move in a way, that inspires other women to have the courage to come out of the closet of hiding their body and love themselves.

  6. Yep, the pressures of how and what we are meant to look like are a hundred fold. But all along there is our own expression that we can choose to put our focus on, as opposed to paying attention to the gawdy billboards that scream at us. When we listen to our own voice and our own expression, our wardrobe takes a different shape and choosing what to wear for any occasion is nothing less than a joy in the making because it has us in it, adorning and playing with us and our unique expression.

  7. I love how a little stop moment to notice what or whom you are dressing for could make such a difference in how you felt about what you chose. I noticed this goes as well for shopping for clothes, when I am really with myself it is more a feeling of what I love to wear and buy and not based on how I should look.

  8. I still have these daily dilemmas. I feel to wear a particular item, usually a dress, and then the internal dialogue starts – is this too fancy? Is the colour too bright? Its not really appropriate is it? When I sit with this for a moment I realise I am usually dressing down because I don’t want to get too much attention.

    1. Great point Debra. So often we dress to communicate that we are less but this is really the same as dressing to impress. Both choices result in a situation that projects an image that is not us rather than providing support to simply express who we are.

  9. Reading this blog I could feel that when we dress to impress we are denying ourselves the opportunity to feel the loveliness we feel when we dress according to how we feel within ourselves.

    1. So true Elizabeth, and boy is that a big one to miss out on….. silkily sliding everywhere we go during our day…. so lovely.

  10. “What do you feel to wear today for you?” A great open question that allows us to simply connect and move from our impulses and creates a great stop moment to play and express exactly as we feel. Thank you Maree.

  11. For women, our makeup is also part of what we are wearing for the day. The way we move our hand as we apply the makeup is all part of what we wear and share each day.

    1. Great point Vicky. Yes, it is not only what we wear and the purpose we take with it, but the movements we are in during all the process and also the movements we sustain during the day.

      1. That’s true Amparo. Even down to the thoughts that we allow to run while doing anything. This all determines the quality we are reflecting and representing.

  12. Rather than dressing to impress, we can dress to be very preciously with ourselves at the beginning of the day. When we dress from how we feel, confirming ourselves in what we are feeling, it is amazing how an outfit can be very beautifully put together. And because it is a confirmation of you and the qualities you can feel more poignantly that day, it is something that supports you throughout the day. I have come to love this ritual every day – it’s a sweet little discovery every day of what is needed for me for at that particular point in time – and when it comes together more often than not, I look in the mirror, and go – wow-za!!!

  13. There is a certain irony here in the sense that we we finally begin to start dressing for ourselves and not others, we realise we are not dressing for our ‘selves’ at all but for the all – meaning that the reflection we offer to others by honouring a truth we feel deep within, helps us all to grow and makes it ‘safe’ to live more of the Soul’s light (our true self) here on Earth.

  14. Thank you Maree, it seems a simple thing to change our focus on how we choose what to wear everyday, but with big results. This was a very powerful line for me “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.” The truth in this line can relate to so many parts of life and how we feel, not just dressing.

  15. When we honour what we feel to wear we naturally take more care of ourselves as we apply our makeup or dry our hair. Even the way we put our clothes on changes as we bring more awareness to the quality we are dressing in. When I dress like this, I’m left with an inner glow that stays with me for the rest of the day.

  16. Feeling what to wear brings us back to connecting with ourselves rather than living for the outside world in disconnection from our truth.

  17. Feeling the expansion in my body as I wear the clothes that honour everything about me and how I am in my day, I can also feel how this reflects and also honours every person that I am with that day.

    1. I recently had a situation when this sentence ‘It was like an added level of self-acceptance had been applied to my body, just by dressing for myself’ popped in because I was wondering what to wear in front of 15 women and my first thought was to dress down and then I could see the clothes I had chosen were being used to hide. Then when I chose to wear what I wanted to wear, I felt great.

  18. Dressing to impress may offer temporary satisfaction but never true confidence or lasting contentment. Most if not all know this although in my experience it is rare to meet someone who is dressed completely based on how they truly feel rather than what they have been told (implicitly or explicitly) or assumed to wear.

  19. Today was a great example of dressing so deeply confirming that I couldn’t stop looking at myself. My eyes became so full And radiant by confirming my beauty with a glitter top and jeans and that ‘ even’ I was home alone whole day.

  20. This has been a timely reminder today as I have been noticing that the more I dress with the innate love I feel inside of me makes the difference between over dressing and feeling less no matter how much the outside may look appealing to others.

  21. Choosing what we feel to wear is another movement unto which we can explore, enjoy and play from our expression. It also offers the world another opportunity of what it means to simply be who we are without the pictures, beliefs and or judgements that may get tangled up in our clothing choices and hold us back from exploring and enjoying who we are in full.

  22. Beautiful simple question. We are offered so many reflections during our day that we are often shown that we are either going around in the same circle or have come out of a certain one and move into the next movement (which again is a cycle)! But this time another reflection and another depth of truth and love.

  23. I am slowly working on why I wear what I wear, and still I get caught on dressing for others or for an occasion. It is a pattern in my body that is calling out to be broken and this blog supports me to understand that it is possible to ask myself who am I dressing for -and to honour my body rather than the circumstances.

    1. It is a step by step process and the beautiful part is that we are giving ourselves permission to explore ourselves. We get to know ourselves more deeply and closely.

  24. Beautiful when getting dressed in the morning or for an evening out can be so simple. And the deeper our relationship with ourselves the easier it seems to be.

  25. I LOVE to take my time and tune into what colour is the best to support myself (and others in effect), when I choose what to wear. It really initiates the quality of focus and honouring of myself during the day. It starts with the underwear and ends with the lipstick 🙂

  26. Blogs like yours are so very important to raise our awareness how much we are influenced by the images about beauty that have always been around. And wanting to fit a picture of how to look is becoming more and more extreme to the point where it is absolutely normal in our society today to change our body’s shape and looks by surgery. How far are we wanting to go until we realise that this cannot be the answer.

  27. How great that you became aware that it felt uncomfortable to start the day as you had been doing, ‘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.’ This is a big pattern of so many, and contributes to keeping us small.

  28. “So only one question remains… What do you feel to wear today, for you?” A beautiful question to read as I prepare for my day ahead – ‘for you’ being the really important part of the sentence.

  29. So true Maree when we try to look good we often miss the mark. I can remember as a child I would love to watch the brides get out of the car at the local church. I recall thinking even then if only the bride hadn’t tried so hard to look good as I could see that they had put a little too much makeup on and it had taken away their natural glow. . .. when we feel self-conscious we do all sorts of strange things to our self all under the banner of ‘trying’ to ‘look’ beautiful when as you say all we truly have to do is ‘be’ our beautiful self.

  30. ” Dressing to Impress: Are you Ever Enough? ” When I read this title , I got a bit of a laugh . I started to think do babies dress to express . For I find babies are fairly expressive when just wrapped in a blanket.

  31. As a mother to two young girls, I love standing back and watching them choose their outfits for the day – a party dress for a home day, a tutu for the supermarket, ballet slippers for the beach… I used to try to control this but who am I to thwart the expression of another if they are dressing in a way that is honouring of how they feel? Ok…so I did slip in some flip flops for the beach but some practicalities need to be seen to!

  32. It is really great to read that by choosing what to wear for you, felt much more lovely, ‘It was like an added level of self-acceptance had been applied to my body, just by dressing for myself.’

  33. Such a simple yet powerful question that we can ask ourselves about so many aspects in our life, who and why are doing it for? Is it for recognition, approval or acceptance and if so we are moving further away from who we truly are.

  34. Love this question Maree. Much of the time I notice I am either dressing to hide or to stand out but either way I am not truly dressing for me. Thank you for inspiring me to find out what it’s like to dress for me.

  35. I love this Maree – I have recently been considering this when I feel which clothes I may buy and I can feel that over recent years the way I choose to dress has been progressively changing.

  36. I have found that as soon as I think about what to wear I am fed pictures of why I should dress a certain way. When I feel into what needs to be worn the answer come spontaneously and there is an ease in the body when I move with these garments.

    1. I’ve had that also when I was due to start teaching a group of Muslim women, the pictures of what I should and shouldn’t wear came in. So, I let that go as it all felt too complicated and I now just wear what I want, and every week they compliment me on my clothes or my figure. Dressing this way has smashed some of the pictures I had about not wanting to stand out or hide in the background.

  37. Last year when I had the honor to marry friends I got a new question about what to wear, instead of asking ‘what would I wear for me’, the question was ‘what does the wedding need?’ and in that question everyone was included.

    1. That’s taking it to another level Monika, that you in expression of what is needed for an event, certainly changes the focus of me, me, me to the all.

      1. It was actually very liberating to do it like that and take all into account, me included. The dress I wore was fabulous and I felt and looked very sacred and beautiful in it.

  38. What do we feel to wear today is revolutionary and changes everything, so honouring and absolutely lovely to live our day from here ” it is about preparing and dressing ourselves for a day, deeply honouring how beautiful we are from the inside out.” So differernt to what we should wear or need to wear to fit in or not be seen.

  39. I dressed to impress before in life which was a pattern I stopped after starting to study with Universal Medicine. Then I started dressing to fit in which I didn’t realize at that time. Now I am choosing my own expression more and more which feels beautiful and confirming.

  40. I recently had a phenomenal session with a stylist and removed about 80-90% of my wardrobe as once I felt the true energy of the clothes and how I had bought them, they had to go. I had bought so much of it in wanting to present myself to the world in a certain way, they were loaded with ideals and beliefs and much of my wardrobe was about presenting the clothes first, and me second. Now the selected items that remain, are lovingly hand picked and present me first and them second.

  41. It doesn’t stop at dressing to impress however – it’s talking and behaving to impress to and goodness knows what’s going on within the mind – it’s a whole 9 ring circus to impress. Cutting that and stepping into the responsibility of such stepping up – that is much needed by us all.

  42. Some days I get dressed in an effortless way and feel great. Other days, usually when I am going somewhere a little bit special I allow complication in and go into huge concern about what to wear. There is something about dressing to impress that seeps in here. My attention is on how I will be perceived rather than how I am going to feel. A lesson in learning to stay present while dressing where ever I am going.

    1. Totally Rebecca as soon as it becomes about another we lose our connection and then we aren’t going to feel great no matter the outfit!

  43. Love this question. When I choose an outfit that doesn’t feel quite right I feel off all day and I can really tell that I haven’t worn what was needed. I also feel this is an important question to ask myself when buying clothes in the first place.

  44. ‘There is a freedom that comes with you being you.’ – I love this line Maree. When we accept and appreciate who we are, all of who we are, what we choose to wear then is a confirmation of the love we are, the love we hold for ourselves and the joy of sharing this, ourselves, with the world.

  45. So interesting today I met someone new and I felt over dressed, I wanted to match the person in their expression rather than me being ok with simply being me! I had thoughts oh no they won’t like me now, they will think I am stuck up. For one thing how arrogant am I !!! Presuming to know what another will think! And another who am I not to actually show I took care with my appearance and if that then is uncomfortable for another that isn’t a reason to hold back.

  46. ‘by the pressure of what the world wanted me to be.’ Is it possible that it’s what we want to be so the world will accept us, so we can engage with having ‘fun’ in the world at what ever level, at the expense of what we have truly been incarnated to bring and live in the world.

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