You just can’t dress too much like yourself. Oh sure. Situations. But … even so. You should always look like YOU in those situations, whatever they are.
I worry often about dressing just … too too. Too too sweet – am I becoming mutton dressing as lamb? Too too bohemian… do I look like I’m wearing a costume? But when I get compliments, that’s how I’m dressed. Not sensibly. Nope. Utterly insensibly like myself.
My two dearest friends could not look more unlike. One of them is tall and slender, and she looks amazing the more dystopian and punk she dresses. I have – no joke – seen her rake in compliments dressed in a plain black dress that she’d slept in the night before! (Do not try this at home). She currently has one side of her glorious mop of red curls shaved… and it made her look more like herself than ever. I keep trying to convince her to wear woad stripes.
The other friend has the delicate coloring of a Waterhouse mermaid – but her personal style runs classic Americana. A classic pair of boot-cut jeans, solid shoes and a tasteful sweater? Her grin stretches from ear to ear, she relaxes, and so do you. Calvin Klein is her designer of choice, and (her shades of ) red, white and blue are always favorites.
Do you have any idea how horrible I look in a plain black t-shirt dress? I assure you, if I were to wear one, you’d try to hospitalize me, not compliment me. And while my bestie can rock a sailor blouse, it’s too blocky and formal for me.
We are not meant to dress the same way. Praise the Lord, it is no longer 1970, and there is no reason to protest a department store because you hate the new hemline. You have freedom of choice! Yes. Styles go in and out, but there is so much leeway now – you can feel free to dress in the clothes that look best on you and not give a hang about what the latest trend might happen to be.
Yes, of course we have situational rules of dress. My dystopian friend should probably not wear distressed t-shirts to an office job (if one can imagine her in such a prison), but she certainly could dress like her version of David Bowie and be both appropriate and fabulous. My mermaid hates getting dressed up these days, but if she does – it’s not in five yards of lace. It’s more likely to be something understated and elegant.
Dress like YOURSELF. If it’s like you – the real you – do it. Take a chance. Push the envelope. See how it feels.
You only look like you’re wearing a costume when you’re trying to be someone you are not.