Dressing for yourself. It’s been so long since I’ve chosen an outfit purely for myself. Everyday when I wake up for work I choose something that is conservative, muted in tone, non-lacy, non-offensive, and with minimal detail. After choosing a generic white, grey, or black crew neck sweater and throwing on a black or cream blazer with basic black slacks; I was told to make sure my pants are not too fitted. As someone who has lost over 25 pounds about four months back, it can be discouraging to have someone trying to police your body. I get that miniskirts are not appropriate for the corporate world, but I still don’t see how wearing pants that FIT your body instead of being two sizes too big is considered inappropriate. Do corporate men not go outside? Do they avoid the beach, malls and restaurants so they are not “distracted” by the female figure?
Come on now, it’s 2020 if we cannot hold people accountable for their actions about whether or not it is appropriate to comment on someone’s body or resist their urges then we have even bigger issues than the upcoming Presidential election. It reminded me of one of the many articles circulating about girls getting sent home for dress code because their shorts weren’t finger-tip length. I remember my frustration in high school as teachers (usually women) commented on my attire because I was taller than my friends (myself 5’5, them 5’1 and 4’11). My fingertips were closer to an inch above the knee theirs were barely halfway down their leg. I remember feeling angry for being singled out because I had boobs and a butt while my classmates were not as developed. On one occasion my 40 plus year-old health teacher who was wearing a low-cut V-neck and matching mini tennis skirt told me I needed to go to the principal’s office for dress code. I told her sure, we can go together since your skirt isn’t fingertip length either. Her face turned beet red and as she vehemently read me the riot act, I pointed out that the dress code is incredibly sexist and she is a role model to our class. By being a role model she too should be held to the same clothing standards since we are all in the same place of business.
My point is, clothing brings me joy. I don’t know about you, but I dress for my mood. Somedays that means boots because I’m ready to strut proudly and confidently into an audition, other days boho dresses because I’m feeling mellow and want to sit outside and read. When I’m sad and we are talking sobbing depression, I still wear the over-sized grey hoodie I keep in the back of my closet from an ex-boyfriend. It’s the one sad piece of clothing I’ve allowed into my apartment. In a weird way I feel comforted when I wear it because it gives the feeling of being wrapped in a hug.
Everything else in my closet is colorful, lacy, fringe, beaded, and one light pink sequin miniskirt (I can’t let go of) all of which reflect my creative personality. When you dress for yourself you feel empowered and ready to face the world head-on. When you have to dress with everyone else in mind you start your day feeling like you have to apologize for the beautiful features God blessed you with. It’s a way of suppressing your confidence so you don’t “draw too much attention” or “intimidate anyone”. I just want to reach a point where we can teach everyone to be more confident in their self and respect other people instead of policing them.