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Dressing Up or Down

Do you love to dress up? Or are you one of those who likes to downplay things when it comes to clothes?

I used to love watching my mom dress up for a special occasion when I was a kid. I could hardly wait to become a woman myself - it seemed like such a pleasure to make yourself beautiful.

As I reached adolescence and became a woman, I really did love to dress up. I often planned what clothes to wear for different occasions far in advance.

But something changed and it didn’t seem as important, anymore.

It became trendy to dress down. Suddenly it was regarded as a cool thing to turn up in baggy jeans and sneakers for a party. Cool to not care… as if your self-confidence was so high that you didn’t care at all about your appearance.

Maybe that trend was a sign that it was time to release stuck-up conventions and dress codes. Time to become aware of all the silent (and often stupid) agreements on how to dress (and behave) ”properly”. Time for some true freedom of choice when it comes to dressing up, down or whatever feels right.

The role of fashion trends has always been to transcend the limitations of conventional dress codes.

There is a downside to dressing up. If you are among the dressed up minority at a party, you might feel awkward. Unless you really shine from the inside out, it can be pathetically obvious that you tried too hard.

It might actually feel safer to dress down. By doing so you are signaling that you don’t care about fitting into any social setting or dress code. Arriving to a party in your ragged blue jeans might be the sign of someone who is laid-back, a person who rises above conventions.

As you dress down, your statement is clearly written all over you!

But dressing down might also be a sign of an insecurity. If you can’t dress up perfectly, you might as well act as if you don’t care at all. A little bit like a ”screw you” to all those who actually tried, who put in some effort.

All of these patterns have to do with how you appear to others. What about dressing up, or down, for your own sake. Dressing the way you feel. That’s something entirely different. And also much more scary, since there are no rules, no dress codes to follow, no conventions to hold on to.

When we dress up for our own sake, the focus is shifted. And we become visible in an entirely new way…

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