Early yesterday morning I stopped in at the Weaver Street Market for coffee. It’s a sort-of semi grocery store/bakery/healthy hot-food-available kind of place. It’s the type of establishment that you like to be seen at ~ you know, that very hip, urban crowd with their Macs and headphones. It’s a totally care-free world in an very expensive environment.
They offer soy creamer with their organic coffee ~ so they get my business (what.the.hell.Starbucks?).
Anywhoo, walking through the aisles of pure goodness I couldn’t help but be memorized by the clothing that covered the customer’s bodies.
A gypsy girl glided by in a billowing blue and red sari towards the chocolate aisle, a guy with his hair in a turban and a straw-string backpack picked through the lemons, and a man in a black business suit seemed content standing next to the coffee machine inhaling its fresh brew.
I couldn’t help but ask myself how much the clothing these people wore truly represented who they really are. Is all the hip-ness just for show? Is the business guy covered in tattoos under his suit? Is looking dirty really a style? Are plaid shorts an indicator of preppy-ness?
I have always found it entertaining that we are told to not categorize people ~ “everyone is an individual” and cannot be judged by the way they dress.
While I do believe this is true to some extent, I also believe that we can group people based on their dress. And it doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing.
I mean, let’s think about it. Clothing represents a type of apparel which matches our activity or style. The biker dude is more likely to wear leather vests and leg thingys (I can’t remember what they are called). A surfer dude, well he isn’t going to wear much, but it will probably still resemble some sort of longer shorts to help protect his thighs from the friction of the board.
Both of these types of guys are decently opposite. One loves the asphalt while the other is intoxicated with water. However, both are considered a sport and both require skill and balance. The clothing they wear also assists with the success of their sports. Imagine the leather-clad biker guy on a surf board…good visual, right 😉
It is the same way with any category of person. Business people require professional clothing, students are often found in comfy gear (although that varies…enough said), “hippies” wear whatever feels most natural on their skin, and on and on.
Putting someone into a classification or category based on their clothes is a natural inclination and isn’t bad as long as we don’t confuse grouping with judging.
As a previous sales rep I was astounded several times by people who walked into the store. A grimy, dressed-down man would enter the store and I wouldn’t rush to greet him ~ only to watch as a fellow sales rep activated ten new lines for his family (while I felt like more and more of a jerk). If retail sales taught me anything it was that you cannot judge a book by its cover.
But I still think it is hard not to.
As humans we naturally categorize the people, places, things around us. If a particular type of person harms us more than once, we are apt to think that “type” of person is bad. If we try a certain “type” of food and find it delicious, we say we like that “type” of food. But it’s never all good or all bad.
I think we have a pretty good chance of being able to tell what kind of person they “might” be if we look close.
The under-dressed man didn’t look wealthy, but his hands were manicured and soft. The “hippy” floated by in her Patchouli cloud, yet she had no problem dishing out $7 on toothpaste and carrying a designer bag.
I like to flirt with all the style categories depending on my mood. I love them all ~ except that sort of gutter-rat look that is going on in places like Asheville, NC where I used to live. Having dirt smeared across my face and walking my dog on an old rope just isn’t me.
I wear “hippy” clothes when I feel like being a hippy, sometimes I want to be “Sporty Spice,” or some funky Rock Star with studs, or a red lipstick wearing temptress (that one never lasts because I always forget to re-apply…*sighh), a casual glasses-wearing student, or a professional businesswoman.
I love all the looks and like changing them up to match my chameleon nature or when the occasion calls for it. Why wear heels to your boyfriend’s house if you are going to watch a movie?
Well, that may not be a good example ~ but you get my point 😉
If I am going somewhere or asked on a date ~ I inquire about the dress code if it’s not apparent. I am an atrocious packer because I bring everything for any possible circumstance I might run in to. If I am wearing tights in the winter I always bring an extra pair. If I think it’s possible it may rain I pack appropriate shoes. Etc.
It seems that as long as I have the appropriate clothes to wear my confidence is able to release and I am able to relax. Hey ~ I just want to be prepared and the truth is that I am a little bit of all those types ~ meshed into one.
Do you think people dress they way they do because it gives them confidence to be a certain type of person or is it really who they are? What is it about the way that you dress that shows off your winning personality?