A Reflective Essay: Dressing for Yourself and Ignoring the Rest

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I have a very strong feeling that I’m not the only woman who often feels the pressure to dress for others’ satisfaction over her own when getting ready in the morning. Every time I’m standing in my closet, staring up at the sea of unsatisfactory clothing choices that I either dub “work clothing” or “fancy stuff,” I unfortunately tend to catch myself debating between those options and the clothes in my dresser that I actually want to wear. Sadly, I almost always end up choosing the outfit that satisfies those around me more than myself because part of my job every day requires that I not only act the part of assistant manager but also look the part. This means that I usually have to cast aside my preferred tomboy/California style to dress in a way that may look pretty and put together but doesn’t truly satisfy my needs – a.k.a. conservative dresses, constrictive blazers, and blister-inducing shoes.

A similar internal debate occurs every time I’m standing in my closet and trying to decide what to wear for a night out with friends, especially when there will be males in the mix. However, I’m happy to admit that the usual loss of my personal style preferences to the choices necessary for my career’s success rarely occurs in this situation. While most women tend to give in to wearing what they perceive as the “male-preferred” outfit over their own style preferences, I’m proud to say that I usually take the more selfish road and wear what makes ME happy. Ladies, take my advice and dress for yourselves instead of the drunken guys at the bar who will most likely end up spilling their whiskey cokes all over the uncomfortable and tight-fitting dress that you bought specifically to please the idiots (sorry guys).

Whenever we aren’t dressing for our co-workers or the opposite sex, there is a very good chance that we are still forgoing our personal needs and instead dressing for the same sex. This is almost always done in effort to boost our own self-confidence and induce jealously from our peers, whom we are in constant comparison with. I hate that such competition occurs among women, especially in this age of bullying, eating disorders, and overall self-esteem issues. We should be each other’s support systems and rocks, but instead, we are the ones bringing each other down some of the darkest roads that are sometimes impossible to turn around on. I wish that getting dressed for our peers were more for fun and expression versus what it’s for today – a platform for comparison and competition.

Throughout my years in college, I learned that getting dressed every morning was not only to impress others and serve my basic needs, but it’s also for fun and my own happiness. I realized what my true personal style was after being free of the restrictive dress codes and stereotypes that I had to follow before I left for college. When I started dressing in a way made me not only comfortable but also fit my mood at the time, I discovered that expressing my personal style played a major part in my overall happiness. Every now and then, I WILL happily put on high heels and a form-fitting dress, but only because that particular outfit reflects how I feel at the time and not because I think it’s what the visually impaired guys at the bar or overbearing boss would like me in.

Now, I don’t write about all of this for any particular feminist-fueled reasons, but I simply want us all to realize how important it is to do things in our lives for ourselves…and it is DEFINITELY okay to be a little selfish when it comes to choosing what to wear (as long as it’s appropriate). By choosing an outfit every day based on your mood and what makes YOU happy and comfortable, you are being yourself… which is the key to happiness. If you begin the day by wearing something that is uncomfortable, restrictive, and reflective of everything but your personal style, then that dissatisfaction will only linger with you for the rest of the day. I understand that we all have situations when dressing completely for our own satisfaction isn’t the best option, but there is always place for compromise. Whether it’s by adding a small touch of personal style to your work uniform or by simply changing into what you would’ve liked to wear from the uncomfortable outfit you couldn’t forgo as soon as you get home, there is always a way to dress for yourself.

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XOXO- Happy Monday Peeps

Back To Campus Dressing: From Class to Happy Hour!

When I was in college, the most difficult time I had with dressing myself, aside from those days when I was just heading to class, was when I had plans to hop straight to happy hour from my daytime classes.  It was always a challenge to find the perfect outfit that would be comfortable and casual enough for class but trendy and cool enough for the bars and restaurants afterward.  After plenty of personal trials in trying to find a suitable outfit, I discovered that the best looks featured neutral colors, comfortable fabrics and silhouettes, and boots…lots of boots.  If you share my less-than-confident feelings when dressing for transitional occasions such as this particular one, then I suggest that you take a look at some of my outfit ideas below!  Knowing what to wear ahead of time, you will now be able to use the minutes usually spent on picking out an outfit for fitting in some more beauty sleep- don’t we all need a little more snooze time in college?!

Outfit #1: Punk Chic

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Topshop Leather jacket, Helmut Lang leggings, Zara Punk Tee, Printed jacket, Spiked bar necklaceLeather biker boots

Outfit #2: Western Casual

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Brown Leather Vest, Rag & Bone jeansFree People sleeveless tee

Outfit #3: Bohemian Comfort

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Knit sweater, Loose tunic dress, House of Harlow tribal necklace, Lace bomber jacketFree People wedge boot

Outfit #4: Classic Edge

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Gold cuff, Rag & Bone Newbury Bootie, Stripe Tee Dress, Vans Perforated SneakerElizabeth and James leather backpack

Outfit #5: Cozy and Cool

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Majestic Paris v-neck tee, House of Harlow pendant, Cocoon cardigan, Madewell plum skinny jeansRag & Bone Suede Newbury bootie 

Outfit #6: Tropic Thunder

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Lucky Brand leather bootie, Topshop palm leaf teeMariner skinny jeans

XOXO and Happy Saturday!

Back To Campus: Staying Cozy in Class

Since August is somehow already here, I know that many of you fashionistas will be packing up for and heading back to your college campuses soon!  I wish I could join all of you and drive back to UGA for another fun semester as a college kid, but I must face the reality of being an official grown-up and instead live vicariously through my friends still in school.  Even though I won’t be packing up my own closet and struggling to find a new and fresh wardrobe for the fall semester, I decided to help all of you ladies out in deciding what items are essential for the various college occasions that you’ll soon be faced with!  The first part of this “Back To Campus” series features my top suggestions for what you gals will need during the week when you’re traveling to and enduring through endless hours of class.  Finding an outfit that was comfortable and practical while still being chic was something that I always struggled with when getting ready for class in the mornings, so I knew that the focus for my first post in the series needed to touch on this common challenge for students.  I hope that you get some shopping inspiration from my suggestions below and make sure to keep an eye out for my next post in the “Back To Campus” series featuring styling ideas for the ALWAYS necessary “classroom to happy hour” outfits!

Essential Item #1: The Cool Backpack

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1. Tory Burch Backpack

2. Hershel Supply Co. ‘Heritage’ Mid-Volume Backpack

3. Topshop Pineapple Print Backpack

4. Alexander McQueen Leather Backpack

5. Hershel Heritage Co. ‘Heritage’ Backpack

6. Volcom Canvas Rucksack

Essential Item #2: The Walking Shoe

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1. Vans High-Top Sneakers

2. Superga Classic Black Sneakers

3. Converse Missoni Chuck Taylor All-Star Sneaker

4. Classic Vans

5. Lucky Brand Embossed Leather Bootie

6. Nike Free 5.0 Fit 4 Training Shoe

7. Steve Madden Troopa Boot

8. Hunter Tall Moto Rain boot

Essential Item #3: The Comfy Tee/Sweatshirt

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1. Private Party Sweatshirt

2. Topshop Palm Leaf Tee

3. Hinge V-Neck Sweatshirt

4. Wildfox Monday Tee

5. Madewell ‘Bien’ Tee

6. Sam Edelman Zip Shoulder Plaid Shirt

Essential Item #4: The ‘Class’ic Casual Bottoms

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1. Knit Jogger Pants

2. Madewell Slim Boyjeans

3. Zella Live-in Reversible Leggings

 

P.S. — HAPPY HUMP DAY!

 

Summertime Date Inspiration

Even though the summer is sadly coming to an end, it doesn’t mean that all of you lovebirds have to return to (or continue) embarking on dates that are boring, traditional, or just plain stiff. Don’t get me wrong, I can always appreciate the classic romantic dinner with a significant other, but summertime gives us the opportunity to really have some FUN on our dates that we cannot pass up! I’ve compiled a list of my favorite ideas for summer dates to give all of you cuties some inspiration while the weather is still warm and sunny!

Food truck lunch: If you live near any big city, chances are high that there is a plethora of yummy food trucks serving up tons of unique dishes in your local area. On a nice day, hit up these trucks and chow down under the blue skies surrounded by some local culture and your hot man! Maybe you can both save some room for a sweet FroYo treat to cool you both off after a steamy afternoon?

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Dinner-Crepes

Concert at an intimate or outdoor venue: Do some research on your local theaters or browse the ticketmaster website to see if any awesome bands are coming to play near you. Nothing brings a couple together more than live music, warm weather, and some cold brews.

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Kayaking or paddle boarding on the local waterway: If you live near a river, most areas give locals the opportunity to rent a kayak or canoe for the day to paddle around and enjoy the beautiful surroundings. Also, if you live near a beach, take out a paddleboard or ocean kayak and let the scenery do the rest of the romancing for you lovebirds.

P.S.: make it an extra fun day by packing some snacks and drinks into a small cooler to bring with you in your kayak!

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Take a hike: Get adventurous on your next date and hit up a local hiking trail with your S.O. Pack a backpack full of goodies and blanket for a light lunch or early dinner so that you can reward yourselves once you make it to the top of the trail!

Hot tip: Bring a portable speaker along with you so that you can hook up your iPod or tune into your favorite Spotify station to really set the mood!

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Date at the drive-in: If you live anywhere near an outdoor drive-in theater, you MUST take advantage of this adorably romantic opportunity. Find out when a good movie is playing and bring some snacks and drinks to enjoy while cuddling under the stars with your date!

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Cheer on the home team: Snag some tickets to a local baseball game and cheer on the home team with your man by your side! Nothing says summer like a hotdog, cold beer, and being surrounded by steamy men playing ball; am I right?!

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I mean…Ashton and Mila do it!

Happy dating, lovers!

XOXO