I recently found myself sitting back in a comfy booth at a nightclub, bobbing my head to retro tunes and taking in the crowd. I looked around and noticed—more acutely than ever—the tired style storylines set on display before me. It was as if someone had stopped the music and turned on the lights. I witnessed desperate flirting at the bar on sky-high heels; dance floor divas tugging down on the hemlines of their bandage dresses; and the clusters of friends fidgeting in the corner hoping to be noticed.
All these women were wearing clothes they’d been told convey confidence and approachability. After all, by loving your body and flaunting what you’ve got, you can “Get and Keep a Man,” as so many headlines promise. But the reality is, there’s usually just a heavy dose of insecurity in the air as we try to fit ourselves into what’s deemed "sexy."
It’s a fine line—I know, I've been there—and it’s not a bad thing to want to look drop dead gorgeous. Whether you're set to go out dancing with your girlfriends or hoping for a chance encounter with Mr. Right, could it be that wearing cookie-cutter clothes with the sole purpose of looking hot may perpetuate the cycle of not feeling attractive enough?
Next time you are getting ready to go out for the night, try dressing with intention, instead of dressing for attention. Dressing with intention is not about denying the expression of your personality, rejecting your sexuality, or the countless other outcries against the idea. Dressing with intention allows you to move beyond the confines of merely "sexy." What is it exactly that you want to say?
A few years ago, I threw away all my little strapless party dresses that covered less than a bath towel. After some time and a lot of patience with myself, I came to realize that I no longer calculated my self worth by how many heads I could turn. Understanding the reality that what you wear says something about who you are, comes from the foundational self-awareness that you are more than a sum of body parts. You are more than a false sense of confidence. You are more than enough.
Instead of lending yourself to a competitive meat market, dress and act in a way that reflects your self worth. And those around you will not help but notice too.
Want to be yourself, wear something you love, look your best, and feel beautiful? Go for it! But, you don't have to don a dress more akin to second skin to prove you're worthwhile. Be bold. Get creative. And remember you’re irreplaceable . . . unlike the myriads of bandage dresses.
(Photo by Daniel Reedy)