Why It's Good to Dress Well for No Particular Reason
I like to dress well for no particular reason.
“Why should I dress up today? I’ve got no one to see or impress.” Surely, you’ve thought this to yourself. I know I have. To be sure, dressing well is extremely subjective, but we know it when we see it or do it. It's that step up from the norm or the effort to make a level up the standard, and it's different for everyone, whether it be a nice jacket or a whole damn tuxedo. Whatever it is, it doesn't need a reason, per se.
Walking along most streets in Lower Manhattan, there’s a near-guarantee that you’ll run into a stunning count of well-dressed people. As a remote writer, I have a preference for writing in cafes, and almost every time I go to write in one, I see men and women dressed up all alone, simply sipping their coffee and reading.
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It’s understandable to question why someone would want to dress well for no particular reason. When unprompted, it may seem indulgent or attention-seeking. But the truth is that dressing well for (seemingly) no reason — more specifically, dressing well for the role you wish to embody — can have a profoundly positive impact on your character, mood, or overall goals.
Let’s take me for example. I aspire to be a professor and an academic. Given this lofty aim, I often sport peacoats, wool sport coats, chino pants, oxford shirts, and oxford shoes. Currently, I’m a mere graduate student, working toward my aspiration. Prior to making this change in wardrobe, I didn’t care much for how I dressed. I’d often just go out in a tank top and sweatpants. [It was very comfy, but its consistency did not exactly scream fashionista.]
Once I quit lazily relying on my go-to and thus switched to an outfit more suited to my aims, I began to feel a greater sense of belonging in my own skin. It just felt good to dress well, even if just for myself. My work life improved, as did my level of confidence, both socially and toward my ambitions. Likewise, a nice side effect was a noticeably greater sense of respect from my colleagues and an increased amount of positive attention from strangers, who regularly comment quite kindly about my choice in attire.
This is just my experience, but such a positive experience is not an uncommon result of dressing well for no particular reason. Despite what the common zeitgeist might have you believe, how we feel about ourselves is highly correlated with our appearance. If we’re not satisfied by our appearance, or if others make it clear that they’re not satisfied with our appearance, our self-esteem diminishes, and, therein, so will our confidence and ability to strive.
It might sound far-fetched, but dressing well can help your work performance too. Dressing the part can inherently make you feel the part. Medical students often report that they feel more in tune with their education when donning a white coat and dress clothes; hence, my own experience dressing as a proto-professor graduate student.
Such is the case with dating. It’s fairly customary to dress well, or at least above average, on the first couple of dates. That’s because we implicitly know that dressing well makes us more confident and therefore more engaging. It’s also fairly common for couples to get complacent with how they dress — among other things — the longer they’ve been in a relationship.
Relationship problems can arise from low self-esteem, lacking confidence, and basic insecurity. Dressing well can tend to these issues a bit — dressing well is a fun boost, but it’s not a form of therapy — but it’s indeed a start to leading by example. If a person works to better themselves, it’s often the case that their partner will follow suit. Self-care begets more self-care.
Whether it’s success you’re after or simply feeling better in your own skin, dressing well can deliver a positive impact on your life. Changing your environment does wonders and reworking your most immediate environment seems natural. You’ll be rewarded with more confidence, better self-esteem, and a greater likelihood of succeeding in your ambitions. Plus, dressing well is fun, even if it’s for no particular reason!
— Daniel Lehewych
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