We all have certain styles we like and ways of dressing for the things we do everyday.
I like to dress professionally for work. I work with people who prefer a casual look, so I am used to being the most dressed up person in the building. But I am ok with that because I would feel uncomfortable being casual at work.
Yes, it is possible to be uncomfortable in comfy clothes.
Where we are going makes a big difference in how we dress.
This past weekend I had two events to attend. One was an afternoon get-together at a friend’s house and the other was my Going Away party.
The get-together was something my friend does every year, around her birthday, that is just to celebrate her. It’s about bringing together all the people in her community and spending time together.
I knew that it was going to be at her house, and that it was going to be casual. I knew the food would be vegan, gluten-free health food and that the other guests would be super laid back. They’d fit my definition of under-dressed.
So I didn’t shower.
Yes, that’s right. I went to a party dirty.
I brushed my teeth and put on deodorant. My hair went up into a pony tail and I put on a pair of comfy pants and one of my brother’s old school shirts. It took me less than 10 minutes to get ready. I was a total scrub, but I knew it didn’t matter. In my rule book, if I’m not going to get all the way dressed up, then I don’t need to shower.
On of my besties calls it my “Dirt-A**” look. I’m ok with that.
I felt totally comfortable at the get together. I was not the most casual person there, and I didn’t stick out at all. Nobody knew that I hadn’t showered. And even if they had, they wouldn’t have cared.
When I left my friend’s house I went home to get ready for my party. That meant showering, doing my hair and make-up, and spending time picking out the perfect outfit. I wanted something that said Summer Fun, but with a touch of Miami style. I wanted to find the perfect balance between backyard bar-b-que and cocktail party. Because that’s exactly what it was.
I figured that anyone who knows me knows what kind of party I would have. Fancy drinks in martini glasses and bite sized, bacon-wrapped h’orderves.
Most of my friends came dressed for the occasion, in dresses, skirts, and cute summer capris.
Then my friend who had the afternoon get-together showed up, wearing the same jeans and t-shirt she had on earlier. I hadn’t thought to warn her because I figured people should wear what they want to wear. And I assumed they knew what I’d be wearing.
But I was wrong.
When I talked to my friend about it later, she told me that she hadn’t thought much about where she was going and what kind of party it was. She said she was usually so comfortable in her skin, that she thought she’d feel comfortable no matter where she was.
But she was wrong, too.
She felt uncomfortable, out of place, and under-dressed.
And that totally changed the way she behaved. She went from being the confident, out-going, fun girl I know, to being the wall flower in the corner.
It was so strange to see what someone was wearing completely change their personality. It made me realize that we don’t dress to impress other people, we dress for ourselves. When we know where we are going we can dress in a way that will make us feel not just comfortable, but confident. Then we can let our true selves shine through.
Not everyone owns a cocktail dress, or wants to. I know that. But if we plan to dress for an occasion in a way that will make us feel good about ourselves, we can go in confident from the start.
Does the way you dress for different occasions change the way you feel? How do dress to feel most confident? Do you change your look depending on where you are going?