Why Caring About How You Dress is Important
I made this African Print suit almost half a year ago for the African Print Fashion Exhibit event I hosted at the Brooks Museum. I wanted to take special care in putting thought into how I would fabricate the design. I searched for inspiration online from African designers and bloggers I follow. There was something I noticed during my research, many of the creatives and fashion inspirations were Nigerians. To add to that, there was a recurring philosophy and approach to fashion & style for them. It was that they invest in their appearance and make a conscious effort to be dressed. Many feel as though it is a reflection of the character of the person. I came across a personal essay on style by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, author of Americanah, Why Can’t A Smart Woman Love Fashion that I’d like to give honor to while sharing my thoughts and this outfit look.
Western culture has placed the look of being “ungroomed” on a higher moral pedestal than actually making an effort to think about your day to day presentation. Americans casualness is almost parallel to entitlement. We feel like we shouldn’t be questioned by our neglect to put forth an effort to get dressed before leaving out of the house. We wear what we want even if it’s an unironed overly baggy teeshirt with wrinkled jeans or pajamas to the grocery store. But why? When you look good, you feel good and it can quite literally change your day. Making an effort is important. It says a great deal about who you are, whether you like it or not. I don’t buy into the argument that it’s shallow and fickle to care about your style – everyone cares on some level.
Some feel that you posses some sort of higher level of intellectualism if you don’t think about clothes. I hear it all of the time, I don’t care about fashion. “I’m not a fashion person”. Leading into the thought of “I mean when you are smart why should you put forth an effort to look great and care about how you present yourself to the world”. How insulting? As women, our interest in fashion, among other topics, does not minimize our intellect. You can be in the fashion industry and be intelligent. You can appreciate a well tailored look and a literary piece.
Of course, I love fashion and personal style. I have never felt like I had to choose between being a smart woman as well as lover of dress silhouettes and a good lip color while presenting branding packages. What I realized and was assured, is how crucial it is as a woman to care about how I dress. Your personal style and grooming is your first impression. Not just to the world but to yourself. Putting forth an effort to dress well and pay attention to your appearance gives you the confidence to take on the world.
I’d love if you read the article and share your thoughts. How do you feel about America’s casual way of dressing? How do you use personal style and grooming to reflect who you are?