Today I want to talk about the looks, as they say, and the importance of our appearance in our lives. This might appear as something out of character; however if you think about it, exercising is a part of caring for how you look as well. Let me start from the beginning.
I happened to be working with a starting up fashion brand in Australia which got me involved in a lot of fashion related activities such as fashion outings, news browsing, trends learning and meeting people of course. If you’ve been reading my blog for some time now you would probably already get an idea that fashion isn’t something I am often interested in. However I am also a very curious person and happened to be putting my nose all over the place (giggling).
A Fashionable Discovery
There is a giant audience online and offline worshiping precious metals, expensive dresses and labeled handbags. I could not care less about it all before getting into fashion myself, hearing what people say, seeing them being so passionate and enthusiastic about their style or color or brand of almost everything from head to toes. It is fascinating how much people care about what they look like.
As a result fashion is an incredibly well paid industry; however madly competitive and hard to get into. Probably just like any business sharks out there, fashion gurus are also on the top of their game. Fashion industry seems to be about a lot of hard work, strong connections, good communication skills and stretching budget. Having a great vision and a talent seems to be not enough. This throat cutting industry is for the chosen ones.
On other hand, here is a customer! Customers are rich or poor, with different tastes and interests. I, for example, never found Prada being much of my taste, it is in fact a fairly boring look in my eyes. However there is also an edgy & odd wrapped in lather and chains fashion which gives me chills. What I am trying to say is that although fashion seems to be so cold and hard to be successful in, customers are much simpler. Fashion game is not about customers isn’t it?
High Power Games
Look at Russia, for example! It is a wast and, for many, mysterious and sometimes scary country, constantly fighting with the USA and China for the better look on the international arena. Conservative and plain backwards (in my opinion of course), Russia has a reputation of being a strong and powerful country with spies all over the world. In other words, nothing can escape the motherland’s eye! Russia has always cared for its ‘looks’ just like any other country on Earth.
If we had aliens arriving to our planet, our entire race would probably stop fighting with each other and become a one single organism working on the Planet Earth’s ”look’. I can imagine France and Italy being Our [humankind] make-up artists, Russia working on our Public Relations look and the USA putting speeches together with Australians making Vegemite sandwiches for all the role players (just kidding) while China and India taking over our business suits making. Politics is all about looks, illusion and perception. Therefore if someone, like me for example, says that they don’t care for what they look like, they are most likely lying to you and themselves.
Although I honestly don’t give too much of a damn about my dresses, jeans or tops I must say I put a lot of effort into looking appropriate when it requires or when I care for the situation much enough. Australia made me much lazier (I say: FREE) though. Back in Russia (Moscow) taking a rubbish out would be a large fashion conference with the entire family choosing my make-up, outfit and slippers. This is ridiculous indeed and hence I’ve always loved the simplicity of Australian fashion. Not only fashion that looks to be simple but the entire country’s appearance seems to be all about fun, Sun and beer – what could have been simpler.
People absolutely love looking at pretty images! Whether it is nature, objects, portraits or people, we all attracted to beautiful or cute images. Awkward or ugly usually makes us want to run away.
For example, a Facebook Page “Boo” is a page full of cute images of two fluffy and absolutely adorable dogs. Whether you like animals or you don’t, these images make you go “Awwwww” almost every time you see them. Check the number of shares, likes and comments out under this image of a little dog sitting in a bag. I am sure I’ve taken a picture or two just like that myself at some point in life and certainly seen couple of these on my Facebook friends’ profiles and only Boo has 278,558 likes.
Not only dogs, cats or babies draw our attention. Although little animals make us feel like a cuddle, beautiful women make us want to stare. Here is another example from Facebook of a beautiful lady loving fashion and herself. Most likely you’ve heard of her and seen many stunning images she posts. However have you ever wondered why do you like her? She would never get almost 65 thousand of followers without your love.
Hercules & Aphrodite Syndromes
I’ve mentioned earlier that exercising is a form of caring for your own looks. Well, you can look at it from different angles. I met many people saying “I exercise to look good for myself” or “exercising makes me feel good” and all of them are true; however not only due to the chemical “magic” exercising makes happen. Trying to get fit and look skinny or ribbed is a part of fitting into what our own society has designed – looking good!
Fashion and passion about pretty clothing has always seem to be very shallow to me. However it is not all about paying a lot of money for a piece of fabric, there is also a whole amazing world behind it. If you are a fitness freak I am sure you often spend hours on the Internet browsing gym tanks, yoga pants or weights gloves. A lot of the sports wear is glamorous, some of it is odd and a lot of it is expensive. Sports wear fashion is no different from any other one (apart from the occasion to wear it to). Sports clothing attracts as many people as Prada would; however it is a different interests crowd. What’s important is that they all share the same passion towards looking good.
Looking good isn’t bad or good, it is just the way world works. This is why many people care for their LinkedIn profile image, gym or running outfit, the style of a car, the label of a bag, the name of the university etc. Looking good attracts everyone. You want to have pretty friends and beautiful items and don’t often hang out much with odd looking people (apart from odd looking people lol) or buy ugly cars. Even our food needs to look good before being eaten!
Judge The Book By its Cover
At the same time, beauty isn’t universal. Living in the Western world you learn that 90x60x90 is the ideal women figure, a triangle body type is the ideal male look, Gucci is an awesome brand, Mercedes is a wealth car, having a boat is a cool perk, living in Double Bay (Sydney rich suburb) is prestigious and so on and so forth. It is not the same for other cultures like China or India or Africa… Although there might be some similarities, a far inland African tribe cannot care less for your animal print Louis Vuitton bag. If Western world managed to put a price tag on almost everything it doesn’t mean that the entire world has done the same.
Looking good or feeling good is good. However what I don’t like about the concept that fashion inevitably produces is judging people by the pretty processions they have. I am aware that we all are individuals and very different but I am confident that some people judge others by their looks and looks of things they have. I once, for example, received a handbag from my relatives as a present with a following comment: “I’ve noticed your bag is looking so bad I decided to give you a new one”. Well, I am still carrying my old bag because it doesn’t look bad whatsoever. It clearly does to the person who gave me a new replacement. It was a sweet gesture of course; however my bag wasn’t old or ugly but different and odd to some people. And this is fine!
I once was patted on my back because I said I’d graduated from UNSW (which is considered to be a good university in Sydney) whereas my friend didn’t even get a look at when he mentioned his less prestigious institution. I was asked to live my car at home so a friend of mine could drive his more expensive one to look better as we enter a night club. I can carry on forever but the bottom line is that we all judge others by the way they look. I am no stranger to it of course. However many carry on making their decisions based on the looks throughout their lives. These decisions are often wrong or even hurtful. And this is why each and single of us gives a lot of damn about how we look and how other people see us.
Dress Up to Survive
We all know that we are constantly looked at and judged by everyone around us. it happens because people need to make a decision whether to be scared of you, feel safe with you, like you or don’t. Interestingly, the way we dress up is in fact a give away for many people. We tell a story about ourselves or making a statement when chose certain item to wear. Do you remember yourself being a teenager when dressing up ridiculous, bright and outrages was a way of communication?! Well, it is the same when you grow up.
Especially in the corporate environment it is highly important to look ‘correct’. In one of the related studies, people rated the senior manager less favorably when her dress style was more ‘provocative’, and more favorably when dressed more conservatively (longer skirt, buttoned up blouse). People write books about dressing up psychology nowadays. It is important to choose our dress style carefully because people will make all sorts of assumptions and decisions about us without proper evidence.
It is not a new trend. Think of a cave man having a brighter or newer piece of clothing covering its grouch. He is definitely a winner! Think of a man with brighter coloring on his skin – he is probably going to war and will use his colors to intimidate. The way we look has always been very important. No matter how you feel about fashion it will blossom and grow so you better get in line with it. Knowing how people perceive you will always give you an advantage. So if you are not a fashion addict, learn from them – it can be of a lot use.