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For Whom Do You Dress?

Have you ever been scrutinized and reprimanded for an outfit? Told that you are too old or too fat to wear something, that particular garments were too colorful for you, or even too plain for you? As if there were rules to follow. 

Truth is, there are clothing rules. Lots and lots of them. 

Some of the more obvious clothing rules are easy to detect, like those that stem from a certain life style, an ethnic group or religion. This summer a woman was arrested in France for wearing a burkini at the beach. The designer claims that this garment was created to liberate women, to give them freedom, while it might seem obvious to others that it was born out of strict clothing rules, connected to an obsolete view of women. Global controversy erupted and feminists raged that women were shamed and punished for covering up too much as well as too little. 

When the bikini was created something similar happened. The pope declared it as sinful and it was forbidden in Italy during a few years in the 1950’s. Whomever defied this rule had to pay fines. Today few are upset about a bikini in the western world. 

This is a tricky subject. Few would argue that a burka, hijab or burkini are all created with one thing in mind; what men want. Still, millions of women claim that wearing these garments are their own choice, which is probably true on one level. But I think very few women would make that choice of clothes if they found themselves on a planet without men.

Most clothing rules are so subtle that we are barely aware of them. 

Do women in the western world have a choice? Most of us would say that we are very free, that we can dress almost the way we want. But… aren’t the mini skirt, stay ups, spanx etc, all created with one thing in mind; what we think men want? Even though millions of women claim that wearing these garments are their own choice, would any woman wear them on a planet without objectification, without an outdated view of women? Seen from the surface it might seem like a person wearing a bikini at the beach has made a choice. In a deeper sense she is a person that hasn’t made a choice at all. 

Don’t get me wrong. I love men. But when it comes to my identity - to who I really am, my own self-expression through the clothes I wear and the way I relate to sensuality - it is entirely up to me! 

As long as we are unaware of the subtle clothing rules of our culture, or just stick to them without even questioning their relevance, we don’t have a choice. Our challenge is to become conscious of the clothing rules that we actually do follow. 

So, what do you choose to wear and why do you wear it? 

For whom do you dress? What are the values behind your choices? Do you dress out of comfort or an identity you were given by family and culture? Were your garments chosen because of a religion? Are your clothes an artistic expression or are they a sense of freedom? 

Become more conscious about your clothing choices! Most of all… make your own rules, in tune with your wild, untamable soul. She is the only one who knows who you really are. 

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