The original title of this post was "If I Read Women's Magazines, I'd Be Broke and Bat-Sh*t Crazy." While that sentiment does not apply to all lady magazines (Hello Ebony and Ms.), many women's magazines have a ridiculous amount of ads that tell women what we should be buying and what to look like. When I really thought about it though, it's not just magazines.
Literally any and every topic directed towards women will talk about clothes. 100 sex tips? Make sure you have that special lingerie handy. Pitching a new workflow at work? Michael Kors got you. Doing research off the shores of Alaska? Dress warm, but get a figure flattering parka. There is no end to the ads, articles, blurbs, and chatter across bathroom stalls about what women should wear, to what, and when. For women, it's never just about the topic at hand.
If it seems like I am this making up, I'm going to guess that you live in a nudist colony with a never-ending supply of milk and honey, and that is OK. The funniest part about this though, is that men actually think we like this. While there are a select group of women who would die if they could not choose blouse vs blazer over and over again, I'll take a leap of faith and say the majority of us wouldn't mind slight variations on the same uniform. (As long as EVERYBODY did it. I'll explain later.)
I recently did a "Closet Audit." At the beginning/end of a season, I go through pretty much all my clothes to see what I may need for the upcoming season. If it was a ridiculously long winter (LIKE THIS ONE), causing me to expand a bit, I'll try clothes on. I will assign "go-to" work, date, and party outfits. Sounds like work right? It is. The alternative, however, is buying every new trendy thing or new versions of that "shirt I forgot I had" only to look at my bank account and wonder where my money went. Gentlemen this is why you still pay for dates.
The point of the post is this. While each woman may develop her own style and decide what looks
good for her, we dress to compete. We dress to survive. It occured to me, in pretty much every culture before the Victorian era the form of dress for women was some kind of long fabric wrapped around the body. Even though it may be a bit tough to manuever 10ft of fabric and there are different designs, it's pretty simple. If the only way your family eats is via hunting, or a farm- blouse vs. blazer becomes a non-factor on the survival list.
|Me (right) in a Wedding Sari|
Before industrialization the competition was nature against man. Although, what happens when you can drive, get a Hungry Man dinner, and be good in roughly 20 minutes? You go for more. Women are not shallow, society has evolved.
Studies show that women (and men) who do not take interest in their appearance suffer. They miss out on certain social interactions, dates, promotions, etc. We salivate over Olivia Pope and Claire Underwood's wardrobe because they look like powerful women. No one wants to be a loser, so we all play the game to the best of our ability. While I laugh when my money management site (geared towards women) shares its 5th post for the week on "How to Look Flawless for Less," I know that they can't help it, and I click on it in spite of myself.
FROM THE AUTHOR
To be clear, I am not referring to any particular style of dress. This is merely about the sheer VOLUME of clothes and appearance talk women are bombarded with. This is my brief commentary on why we (as women) perpetuate and ultimately buy in to much of it. I cheat. I wear dresses most of the time so my brain doesn't melt. Needles to say, winter winds can kiss my ass. Well, if I try to wear a dress they do... Mm. Need to find a better way to say winter sucks. Moving on.
QUESTIONHow do you manuever the appearance competition? On-line shopping? The Express Semi-annual sale? Let me know on Twitter!!!