One of the age-old sartorial questions, and one which is hotly debated, is whether you should dress for yourself or for other people. You may be surprised to hear that the answer is actually both.
Mastering the skill of dressing for the environment and people around you is an important exercise. This is not simply dressing to confirm or worrying what others think of you, however. The sweet spot lies somewhere in the middle, in whichever way suits your culture and personality.
Clothing is a social practice, and whilst there is nothing wrong with dressing in a way which others may perceive as unusual or rebellious, it would be foolish to imagine that it doesn’t matter what kind of impression your clothes give. After all, dressing rebelliously stands in direct contrast with what everybody else is wearing.
So, how much should we push our sartorial choices? How far should we go against the grain when dressing for ourselves?
For example, if everyone is wearing jeans and a t-shirt, how far do you push your look? Do you opt for a blazer and tie, blazer and jeans, shirt and jeans?
Really – the choice is personal. It’s up to you, and it’s a choice you can make depending on the environment, situation, culture, etc.
Personally, I like to find a balance in my clothes where I look well-dressed, but not overly formal, and don’t stand out too much. I like my outfits to appear clean and well thought out, without wearing something overly flashy and bright that will draw masses of attention.
However you choose to style yourself, you can find your own comfortable place between dressing for yourself and dressing for your environment.
Written by Tom Loughran