Do you remember the last time you really made an effort and got dressed up?
I’ve got a confession to make – I’m not dressed up! I feel a bit of a fraud sitting here in jogging bottoms and a t-shirt writing this!! But my excuse is that I’ve just applied a liberal dose of fake tan! I was feeling a bit pale and wintry but a slap of St Tropez has made me feel so much better!
However I’ve been carrying out a little experiment over the past few weeks and it’s proved my theory. I have been applying make up even if I’ve got a day in the office. I also add add jewellery and a nice pair of jeans/top. Result I feel better and am attracting more clients. Somehow I don’t think that the two are disconnected.
Most Of Us Feel More Confident When We Look Fabulous.
For many of us this means wearing an outfit that really makes us feel good.
Reading a forum thread on this subject it was interesting that many of the guys commenting said how much more confident they felt when wearing a decent suit. Many women feel empowered when they wear heels. But so often we dress down and find ourselves relaxing into a casual/comfortable look.
Look back at photos from the 1950s/1960s and it seems like people made more effort and really dressed up when they went out. I remember that even in 1960s my father never visited the pub without a cravat and shirt.
Now it seems a greater social faux pas to be over dressed rather than under dressed. Is it because we have a real desire to fit in or we don’t really have dress codes any more – other than ‘smart casual’? A term that strikes terror into many of my client’s hearts! How do you define smart casual or is it just a cop out?? A subject for another blog, methinks.
So why don’t we get dressed up anymore? I personally believe that there are a plethora of reasons as to why our approach to getting dressed up has changed. I thought I’d explore a few here and then invite you to comment.
1. Price of Clothes And The Value We Place On Them
Fast fashion has seen clothing getting ever cheaper and as a result I believe we don’t value it as much. When we place less value on something we treat it with less respect.
Go back 50+ years and people would have only had a couple or handful of outfits to wear when they were going out. They took more care and pride in their clothes.
2. Cultural Changes
Undoubtedly the huge cultural shifts from the 1960s onwards had a massive impact on fashion. At first this was a trend towards breaking cultural norms in fashion.
Fashion became more about standing out and making a statement. Pop culture, to glam rock, power dressing from 1960s to 1980s. All about making a statement and for most people unless they worked in fashion, PR or the creative arts, a distinction was needed between a work wardrobe and a dressed up look for going out.
The grunge and gothic look of the 1990s started to then set a more casual trend.
3. The World Got Smaller!
Well of course it didn’t physically but in terms of how we started to copy others’ dress cultures it certainly did.
This seems so relevant to the workplace. A European influence of men not wearing ties, to the US ‘dress down Friday’ – that’s now become more Monday-Friday both having a huge impact. This has come not simply from films and TV influences but also US and European companies coming over and setting up in the UK.
Also, as more people work from home whether for an employer or self-employed, the dress down culture goes hand in hand with the laptop lifestyle.
4. Activities Valued Differently
It used to be custom for people who traveled by air to get dressed up. Air travel was a privilege and was treated as such. Cheap airlines and flights have put paid to that particular trend and now (quite rightly) comfort is key.
Although from experience I know that when I traveled for work and took a change of clothing with me on the flight. I felt better if I’d made the effort to put on make up and change my outfit before we landed.
Recently a keen theatre going friend and I were discussing why going to the theatre is no longer an occasion where you get dressed up. I personally don’t believe that this is about theatre tickets being relatively cheaper. But, especially in London, I believe that many of us combine a trip to the theatre with other activities.
5. Athleisure Trend
This sports style dress down look of trainers; jogging pants and gym wear doubling as Streetwear started a few years ago. It started to really gain traction in 2014, and industry statistics show it started to take market share from the jeans market around this time.
The growth in health and fitness trends has undoubtedly also had an influence on this lifestyle trend as well.
Wouldn’t it be lovely if we did make more effort to get dressed up occasionally?
Clothes can be so powerful in terms of impacting the way we feel about ourselves.
In Brutally Honest by Melanie Brown, she describes how putting on sexy figure hugging dress transformed her. She discharged herself from hospital against her doctor’s advice. The dress and make up meant she was able to take up her role as a judge for the 2014 X-Factor Final.
So I’m inviting you as we enter the Festive Season to think twice and get dressed up! Put your sparkly dress on and celebrate with family and friends. Your Onesie or Christmas Jumper won’t be offended if they end up back in the wardrobe!
Why not leave me a comment to let me know any reasons you believe we don’t get dressed up anymore?
My top tip…. If you want a very simple way to get dressed up then simply put on a simple plain dress or top and put on some sparkly accessories to complete the look!