Is There Glamour in Comfort?



Story by Ruchika Bajaj

Madeleine Caraluzzi spends hours on end rummaging through her wardrobe, throwing rejected clothing on the floor, and getting all dolled up to the tune of Wu Tang Clan. She has woken up early, caused herself stress, and cut into her study time, simply to achieve the perfect outfit.

Picking the right look is very important to Caraluzzi, and she is not alone, as many women have this same experience every morning. However, are these women dressing for themselves or to impress others? Are they in the wrong for doing the latter?

 "I’m guilty of putting two hours of effort in to my outfit, for a conversation I am merely hoping to have or for an individual I am hoping to see," said Madeleine Caraluzzi, sophomore English major.

Clothing is seen as a form of expression to many women. Certain style choices convey personality and character, as clothes are predominantly what visually set women apart from others and give them the ability to feel empowered and ready to take on the day. 

Putting a nice outfit together is an exciting thing to do, whether the outfit is for a formal occasion, a date with a special someone, an intimidating job interview, or a birthday. However, should women feel as if they need to dress for others? 

A recent study conducted by Hajo Adam and Adam Galinsky, psychologists at Northwestern, showed that what we decide to wear doesn’t just influence others but also changes our own behavior. Our choice of clothing can alter our state of mind more than we know.

“It's not only your body that can shape your behavior, but the shirt on your back as well,” said, Adam and Galinsky in the Journal of Experimental Psychology.

 Tracey Spicer revealed in her TEDx Talk “The Lady Stripped Bare” the number of hours it takes women to get dressed as opposed to men. For women, about 3,300 hours are spent grooming throughout a lifetime, while men spend about 1,100 hours, about one-third of the time women take. There is nothing wrong with getting dressed up, but why are women willing to put this much time in?

“There is a huge pressure for women to dress, act, or look in order to please other people, especially with how women are represented in the media,” said Katie Nishida, sophomore Public Relations & Advertising major.

Along with media pressure, a woman’s self esteem and poise come in to play as well. 

"I dress for myself, indubitably. If someone else likes what I’m wearing, that’s nice! But at the end of the day I’m the one wearing it, and when I look into the mirror, I feel confident," said McKey Human, junior Broadcast Journalism major.

When women dress for themselves, they boost their self-esteem, confidence, and expression of personality. When we dress for others, we must ask why we do this. Who, in particular, are we dressing for? Is it other women, men, or perhaps both? 

While some women may feel a sense of competition with other women, there is even a stronger pressure to dress nicely in hopes of impressing men. This phenomena can be related back to the mating process. 

Studies in an article on shared insight on this subject matter. One poll showed that of 2,000 women interviewed, two-thirds spent numerous hours getting dressed up for the purpose of receiving compliments from their peers. The same two-thirds also agreed that men will give women compliments simply out of complying with standards as opposed to putting actual thought into their compliment.

"The fact that so many women care about what their peers think about their appearance is only natural," said, spokeswoman for Simply Skincare.

It's no surprise that women to want to look appealing to potential mates. In the early stages of the mating process, first impressions are everything, whether it be a specific outfit or conversation. These moments will be remembered and play a large role in the future of the relationship.

Society has embedded and emphasized in the minds of women the over-materialistic idea of the importance of looking good to gain acceptance for our peers. The truth behind this concept is unclear, as we constantly struggle with understanding how much our outfits matter to others. However, the most important person to please is yourself. 

"While choosing outfits out may be fun and getting dressed up for that guy may sound like it works, it's important to remember to dress to feel comfortable in your own skin. Dress to reflect yourself not to impress others," said Caraluzzi.

+ posts