THEORY: The Pros of Dressing Badly

THEORY: The Pros of Dressing Badly

I wanted to try writing a Take where I don't assume authority on a particular topic, but rather talk about something that's been bouncing around in my mind and that I've experimented with. I'm hoping the lack of assumptions will encourage others to express their point of view in agreement or in contradiction to mine. So here it goes...

So, in the 90's it was all about gelled spikey hair, leather jackets, basically looking sleek and cool. The Yuppie Rise was in the late late 80's early 90's where Wall Street and consumerism became very dominant in American society. What you had were people with huge incoms who were interested primarily in one thing: buying stuff. Consumerism was pushed incredibly hard on the culture that even if you didn't have a big annual income, you still spent all your money and money you didn't have on Christmas. Credit cards were maxed out and suddenly not having that Burberry Trench even if you were a guy was a sign you weren't good enough and didn't belong. Because of this, a great leather coat could make you really cool. Watching MTV and knowing all the music videos that were popular that week meant you had a great sense of music. Knowing the funny expressions that someone who no one knows came up with "i really like you...NOT" for instance made you funny. This is still going on with memes to an extent but not like it was....

Then in recent years what happened and is stil happening is what we can call the Rise of Self Esteem Generation. Parents who had worked their entire lives and were miserable suddenly no longer just wanted their children to go to college get a regular job a regular family and shut the hell up...they wanted them to be happy and they put a lot of money and resources into securing such things. Suddenly school curriculums were shifting to build the student's self esteem, articles were published to echo the narrative that kids who have great self esteem tend to excel (even tho many Asian countires have children who rank with the lowest self esteem worldwide but have comparatively exceptional intelligence and ability to produce wealth), and suddenly having a burberry trench could easily make you douchey if even one fiber of you was thought to be wearing it for the purpose of looking cool. It wasn't cool to want to be cool anymore but rather the opposite. it was cool to assume you were cool for absolutely no reason...having a reason even a good one like being hard working was contrary to this. Self esteem derives from within--it doesn't need a reason it just exists or it doesn't. Using previous examples, making your own music and recording on garage band even if it was bad meant you had a great sense of music, coming up with expressions that you thought were funny even if nobody else did meant you were funny, and wearing a leather coat didn't make you cool but rather a cool guy who decided to wear a leather coat he found in 2 seconds and decided oh what the hell i have to wear something would make that jacket cool because wearing it might mean to those with less confidence that they could be as confident as said cool guy. It was all built around self esteem. Those who had it were followed, those who didn't have it were crushed. Which finally brings me to my theory...

What if you intentionally dressed without a care in the world to the point where you actually felt like your clothes weren't good enough for you or at least they weren't very good looking. What that forces you to do is to take every reaction you get as a reflection on you and not your clothes and not your appearance whatsoever which is ruined by the bad clothes. When you speak, you don't have an ego of good looking person...you can't draw from that. You're forced to draw from your personality and, in this way, you build self esteem. It's a little like how some people say that the reason white guys tend to be shyer and more passive than black guys and less charismatic is because all girls like the look of white guys...white guys can rely on being white. a black guy had to draw from his personality since he knew his looks weren't the norm. He was forced into confidence so to speak in order to interact with others. He had nothing else to rely on.

I know that clothes and looks to play a part, but the problem is many good looking guys and girls rely on that part whether they mean to or not--if its' there they are going to bank on it. and if they don't bank on it they're going to have an ego about it--oh how would this look if he/she doesn't like me? well, if you don't think you look that good that day then what else can you do but try to have a great personality?

It's less about intentionally making yourself ugly and more about learning to rely less on your looks and to not think that it matters so much how people treat you...to humble yourself so that you can appreciate yourself in a weird way. Anyway, just a theory.


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What Girls Said 1

  • I pretty much create and rock my own style. I have always enjoyed doing my thing and expressing myself. I don't know how much my input matches the description but I have always been happy to do my own thing and my inner confidence draws people to me:) So yes, it's really self esteem like you said.

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What Guys Said 6

  • What if you just don't give a shit what people think and dress however you want? I couldn't care less so I wear whatever is comfortable.

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  • I don't understand what people mean by "style" or why they think it's even slightly important. I would wear plain jeans and tshirts and nothing else for the rest of my life if I could. I appreciate when someone else looks good but I don't want anyone's attention ever.

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  • Always felt this way... this theory can be extended to the point that when people draw out such personalities from materials they cannot however be original... therefore base their choices on group mentality; trying to fit such that when they can't Keep up, their scope of things is disfigured. Interesting points you made, as I am an advocate of self awareness before doing thing for the sake of it.

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  • "So, in the 90's it was all about gelled spikey hair, leather jackets, basically looking sleek and cool."

    The fashion ethos of the 1990s was nothing like what you describe. Grunge music and fashion was the predominant force of youth culture, so it was all about flannel and Doc Martens. Things began to change in the late 1990s with the rise of crap like Britney Spears and the boy bands, but trust me, leather jackets and spiky hair wasn't a popular look at all.

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    • Leather and spikes was the 80's and 70's when punk ruled, 90's were jeans an flannel, when grunge ruled. Now it's well, the same thing? I mean, has it really changed over the last 2 decadesish?

  • So I think what you're saying is if you don't have self esteem you should "dress to impress"? I think you're mixing something here. There's a difference between how you dress and just appearance of your body. Plenty girls no matter how a black guy dresses are not going to be attracted to him. So I guess then you're saying that means they have to be more confident? Very little of that has to do with the clothes you wear though.

    As for me I realize that people treat you differently given how you dress. I've heard and seen it. Someone can walk into a place with a suit on or at least "nice" clothes and people treat them a certain way. Then they could come back in just a dirty T-shirt and dirty, worn out, jeans and people treat that person a different way.

    I feel like confidence within myself is what matters most though. The only time I truly care what I wear is when it comes to jobs.

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  • Until recently I always dressed solely for comfort (obviously with the exception of job interviews and weddings etc) with the attitude that, hey, that was me, and if people were so shallow as to judge by that then I didn't want to know them anyway.

    But this summer, after going out to a couple nightclubs where I had dressed nice because it was necessary to get in, I was amazed to see how much friendlier and open women were when I dressed up. Now I think more about what I wear when I go for an evening out.

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