If you consume any fashion or style guidance in magazines, blogs, or TV shows, you’ve probably heard the advice to always leave the house dressed as if you might meet an ex that day. You know, the ex who needs to see all the awesomeness that is you, the moved-on and totally-got-it-together you? Yeah, that ex. Variations of this advice include wearing something so you wouldn’t be embarrassed to meet the President.
I have found this advice to be useful in presenting an image of myself to the world that reflects the best me. It has helped me fine-tune my wardrobe and encouraged me to take better care of my skin and hair. However, the advice itself grates on me.
The idea that one should dress to impress a person one doesn’t actually want in one’s life* seems misplaced and gives power to someone from the past who doesn’t deserve it. Slightly better is the advice to dress to impress the important person** one might meet, but it still seems off.
Who is the most important person in your life? The answer might be yourself or a significant other or a family member – there is no “right” answer here. Isn’t that person worth seeing the best version of you? Even though your family loves you no matter how you look, don’t they deserve to see you looking confident and beautiful, and not in worn and sloppy old things proclaiming that you don’t care about yourself? As her mother, I’m a critical role model for T, and my presentation of myself and my self-worth affect the development of her self-esteem. It’s the everyday choices I make that she’ll notice, not the special times when I make an effort to get dolled up.
In a similar vein, to what degree do you save things for special occasions? Sometimes it’s nice to receive flowers just because, or open a bottle of champagne without a reason to celebrate. Should only guests in my home get to use the china because they are more important than the family members I see every day?
So I choose to present the best me for the people I care for most. A couple of minutes spent putting on a little makeup and styling my hair boosts my confidence so that I can spend time with my loved ones in the best possible mood. And it doesn’t hurt that when I bump into people while running errands that I’m not embarrassed by what I chose to wear that day. Whether it’s an ex or the President, that person’s impression of me is worthless compared to the opinion of my husband and daughter.
Happy 5th Anniversary, K!
*To clarify, I’m referring to the ex, and not to the President, regardless of your politics
** This time I do mean the President, and definitely not the ex