It’s not so long ago that dressing to meet social expectations meant hats and gloves whenever you left the house. Fortunately, (or not), modern social expectations are much less formal.
Alexandria Blaelock, author of Build Your Signature Wardrobe: How to look good and feel confident in four steps says, “I think that where possible, you should always dress like yourself, but lately there just seems to be less scope than in days gone by. There’s also a lot of pressure to conform, so not only do you have to be strong to defy social expectations, but you have to be creative too”.
Here are Blaelock’s tips for dressing to meet social expectations:
- Dress for the task at hand. There’s always a basic level of practicality required from clothing, whether that’s warmth, freedom of movement, or to display status. As long as what you wear meets the needs of the task, most people will recognise and accept that.
- Dress for the venue. You are most likely to be judged harshly when your choices don’t match the location. A common arena for this is wearing high fashion (e.g., athleisure) to a nice restaurant where other guests are dressed more conservatively in jeans and button downs.
- Dress to respect. Your choices in clothing explain who you are, and the people you meet will judge you accordingly. When they feel disrespected, they will be hurt and angry, and you may experience consequences.
- Change expectations. A smaller signature wardrobe, consisting only of the clothes you love and wear often, adjusts expectations of your appearance. This means people will be more surprised that you don’t look like you than for what you wore in that context.
- Ask what Lady Gaga would do. It’s your choice whether to conform to expectations or not, but if you choose to go it alone, go all in and do it with gusto.
These five tips for dressing to meet social expectations will help you choose and wear the clothes you like regardless of what others think.
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