You’re (sub)consciously dressing for…?

Do you know what or who you dress for? When you choose your outfit for the day, i’m talking every day events – do you know what defines how you select what you wear? Is it comfort? Is it a uniform? Are you dressing to impress? Or do you have a defined style that prescribes every piece of your wardrobe?

If you’re dressing to impress, who are you dressing up for? Colleagues? faux Friends? Evening drinks? A first date, third date or an ‘I wish you would ask me on date, look how cute I look’ encounter?

In the weekdays I choose my outfit based on a few factors, firstly – am I going out after work? Second – the weather. Third – How outrageous am I feeling today? Fourth – Can I be fucked being outrageous or would I rather be perched in those comfy jeans all day?

Usually there is some kind of balance between all four of these factors. Sometimes there is complete disharmony and I spend the day irritated at what i’m wearing and it makes me feel crap.

Last night I watched this interesting Ted Talk which discussed love and the theory of ‘seduction capital’. Initially it made me feel totally better about my spending habits because ‘hey it’s in the name of (potential) love’. Subsequently the thought of ‘who do I dress for’ popped back into my  mind. I tell myself that I dress for myself – but do I really? Of course there is always going to be an element of wanting to impress others, we all want to be desirable to a certain extent, non?

I am a 24 year old, single woman with a (slightly) disposable income. Style and fashion are serious interests in my life, interests which I have focussed on much more since starting on my career path. I work as a graphic designer in an advertising agency, and I know this has a large effect on what I wear. I would say that 80% of my outfit choices for work are chosen for their style and colour over their comfort aspect. But I would also say that I am happy about this because feeling stylish, bright, and personalised in my outfits makes me feel comfortable. Comfortable in my clothes, and in my own skin. After all, clothes are an extension of who I am. They are a quantifiable way to measure general aspects of who a person is without exchanging one word. Judging a book by it’s cover? Absolutely, which is why i try to be a New York Times Best Seller everyday of the week.


I also socialise a lot, and I have been dating a bit in this past year. Like proper dates with people I don’t know through friends, or relatives of friends… or friends of relatives haha. Anyway, so I’ve been on a bunch of dates and the important question of ‘what am I going to wear’ is usually one of the first questions thought of and am asked by friends. Many have said ‘keep it simple’, and in the most part I have. I went on three dates last year with this one guy, who had a weird name. I started off classic; black jeans, tight white top and brown boots. Date went very well. Second date, slim fitted dark purple dress with pointed black boots (seen here), another relatively good date. Third date, black jeans and a lace neon pink jumper, and I had just (accidentally) dyed my hair black. Never spoke again. Now I would say that’s probably because I was giving the ‘fuck off vibes’, I paid (which isn’t common lads), and  neither of us got in contact again. I think it wasn’t meant to be, but what if it was the neon pink jumper and black hair? Was I just too styled and bright for him? As much as I wasn’t interested in another date, wasn’t he? It’s an interesting thought. Just this past week I was going round to a guys place, and I was choosing what to wear, naturally I grabbed my black and gold ‘Michael Jackson’ jacket as my colleagues so fondly refer to it, but reconsidered and grabbed my emerald green jumper. After all, it was just watching movies at his. Considering a more subdued outfit for me is strange (in different circumstances) because I would normally dress in my own style and if you like me, you like me. I mean, I don’t dress crazy or anything, i just know what I like, sometimes that’s a mustard yellow skirt suit with love hearts patterned on it, and sometimes that’s jeans and my beetle-juice shirt. Am I thinking too much about impressing the other person over expressing myself now? I seem to have subconsciously bought into ‘seduction capital’ without a thought registering until right now.


Photo cred. Sarah Pannell