What do your clothes say about you? When you walk down the street or are out in public, what kind of attention are you attracting? Do people smile, stare, point at you and laugh, look away, or simply ignore you altogether? Like it or not, people judge a book by its cover. While it may not seem fair that people develop an immediate impression of who you are simply by the clothes you wear, it’s still true that your clothes tell a story about your personality and how you are likely to be perceived by others.
With current fashion trends as they are, it seems that modesty and dressing appropriately has gone right out the window, replaced by the shortest, tightest, most revealing clothes women and tween-teen girls can find. Astonishingly plunging necklines, crop tops, mini or micro mini-skirts, short-shorts (or daisy dukes), and other provocative clothing styles that leave little to the imagination. The clothes you choose to wear on a daily basis provides important information about you as a person, your approximate education level, your income or social status, and even your level of self-esteem. What story is your clothes telling about you? (Men, What do your clothes say about you too?)
A recent telephone conversation with my 23 year-old daughter really drove home the point about girls and young women thinking they are being fashion conscious, but are really missing the mark. It seems my daughter has been trying to help a friend of hers understand why men have been treating the friend disrespectfully, from catcalls to sexual propositions, and how her provocative style of dress just might have something to do with it. This friend also seems to be surprised by the negative reaction she gets from female peers, and struggles to understand why she has lost friendships since “becoming fashionable”.
When women dress in a skimpy, seductive style of dress akin to a street corner hooker, they shouldn’t be too surprised when men treat them with less respect and dignity than a woman dressed more modestly. You teach people how to treat you. “Is what you wear who you are?” While it may be true that what you wear doesn’t define you as a person, what you wear is a reflection of who you are, so choose wisely. Before you choose your outfit for the day, it’s important to think carefully about how you want other people to view you and interpret your personality and intentions.
There are many clothing personality styles out there to choose from, from sloppy dressers (“I don’t care about my appearance”) to expensive designer styles, but the skimpy dressers who opt to wear the most inappropriate, skanky looking outfits that exude a poor self-image is truly alarming. Individuals may look at these wild, scandalous, “fashionable” outfits as a sign that you may have less than honorable intentions, rather than thinking you have a great sense of style.
Whatever bait you use determines the type of fish you’ll catch. Having your ass-sets hanging out, your padded-bra enhanced “cleavage” falling out of your revealing top, boys and men are not going to be thinking about what a nice personality you might have. They are much more likely to have thoughts of wanting to “hit that” at the first opportunity possible. Is that really what you want? What you wear is a reflection of who you are as a person. Wear clothes that show your individuality, interests and real personality instead of wearing clothes that may illicit obscene and unnecessary misconceptions about you.
Even very young girls are being targeted to dress seductively and inappropriately, believed by many to be fueled by pop music stars, television and movies, teen magazines and clothing manufacturers. Personally, I blame the parents for buying these clothes for their young children and teens, or allowing them to be accepted as gifts from others.
The sexualizing of children, both girls and boys, has been going on for many years now. As soon as children’s television became deregulated in 1984, marketers have been treating children as fair game for the almighty dollar. This new group of consumers are being targeted with lines of toys, clothing and other products with sexual content, imagery and violence. Children and parents are falling for these marketing tactics hook, line and sinker. I’ll have more to say on the sexualization of children in an upcoming article.