Dressing for Success is Overrated

In a shop window in Boston, this dress called to me! Loudly! In CAPS! Notice me! I’m fun! Audacious! Confident! And whimsical! Obviously its purpose was to lure me into a shop where clothes are still made of fabric and most are factory made in places I can’t begin to pronounce. I never walked through the door. I shot a photo and continued on my way imagining the response I’d prompt while wearing that dress. Envy from those who didn’t have the guts to wear it, but secretly wanted to. Hilarity from those who thought I looked like I had partied way too long the night before. Questions from those who just don’t understand whimsy. What it meant for me was dressing as who you are and not to meet their expectations. Although I’m not sure I have ever met the collective “they”,those arbiters of taste and appropriateness who whisper in our consciousness at the most inappropriate times. People won’t take you seriously! What if your stem gets caught in the copy machine? How could you even think of wearing that out? Why don’t you dress like Ms. Gray Flannel? The worst part is that often it’s our own voice we hear. Our fear of being noticed or worse, being accepted as creative and risk-taking, keeps us from wearing on the outside what we feel on the inside. While I’m not sure the flower dress wouldn’t meet a tragic end if I wore it to school, there are parts of it that I can wear today. I need to start.

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About unsouthernbelle

I am a native New Yorker , transplanted to Memphis, who is a photographer, teacher, and wanderer. I am inspired by the beauty and stories that resonate from abandoned places and found objects. View all posts by unsouthernbelle

2 responses to “Dressing for Success is Overrated

  • Mike Powell

    Wow. Your statement, “Our fear of being noticed or worse, being accepted as creative and risk-taking, keeps us from wearing on the outside what we feel on the inside.” speaks loudly and clearly about the pressure to conform. As one book I read once said, I should ask myself what I would do if I were not afraid, and do just that.

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