Why Taking Pride in Your Appearance Isn't Vain, Egocentric or Shallow

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Lately, I've noticed that there's a lot of criticism of fashion and beauty bloggers (and probably every type of blogger ever, but I digress.) Most of the criticisms center around us being egocentric, vain, shallow or self-conscious, but I think all of those are wrong! (Yes, there are self-absorbed, vain fashion bloggers, but I'm sure there are egocentric, shallow engineers and kindergarten teachers. It really has nothing to do with what you do for fun or as a career.) In general, I think people are critical of others who put time and effort into their appearances and I think this is so wrong. There are so many different reasons people dress up, wear makeup and do their hair, and here are mine:

To feel more confident. 
First of all, let me get something straight: I don't need makeup to feel confident, and I don't think anyone else needs makeup to feel confident. I don't think that I look ugly without makeup and neither does any other girl. However, makeup often gives me that little boost to make me feel my best. Melanie Murphy, one of my favorite YouTubers made this awesome video: In Defense of Makeup. I highly recommend you watch it, as it sums up my thoughts exactly. When I take the time to look my best, I end up thinking less about myself as my self-conscious thoughts flee and I'm able to focus on school, work, other people or whatever it is I'm doing.

To be more productive.
I don't know about the rest of you, but if I don't dress up everyday, my productivity goes out the window (there are even studies on the correlation between appearance and productivity.) One summer, I got into a slum of wearing sweats everyday and one day as I was walking into WalMart (where sweatpants are the uniform,) I realized going to WalMart was the most productive thing I'd done that week and I was embarrassed to even be at WalMart because I felt so crappy, just because I wasn't taking a couple extra minutes in the morning to look my best. Naturally, I started taking care of myself better and I got a lot more productive.

To make everyday special. 
I'm the kind of person that enjoys getting ready for an event more than actually going to the event. Naturally, when there's a bit of a social slum going on in my life, I get antsy because I want to wear a dress or red lipstick. Well, after a while (a.k.a.: after watching this video by Mimi Ikonn, another of my favorite YouTubers,) I realized that if I want to wear a dress or red lipstick, I should just wear it on a normal day. Sure, people sometimes ask "Why are you wearing a dress?" like I'm breaking some kind of rule, but I've learned that it helps me feel more confident to stand out a little bit, and most people will actually compliment me, not be obnoxious about it.

To be perceived as more professional. 
Sometimes people act like it doesn't matter one little bit how we're perceived. Sure, it doesn't really matter if the guy in the car next to you thinks you're hot or not, but if you're in a job interview, I hope you care about how you're being perceived. One of my favorite books is The Power of Style by Bobbie Thomas. The thing I love about this book is that it doesn't just talk about what colors to wear if you have blue eyes or what clothes to wear if you're pear-shaped (although it does cover those!), but it also talks about the psychological aspects of style as well, and how what we wear influences what people think of us. Bobbie gives a challenge in the book to dress up like you're going on a first date everyday for a week. I took the challenge and it felt so great! Since I was dressed nicer, I felt like I needed to act more professional when I went to school, the grocery store and even the gas station. Between looking more professional and acting more professional, I'm sure I was perceived as more professional, which is always a good thing.

To be more social. 
Some people say it shouldn't matter what you look like because the truly good people of the world aren't shallow and will love you anyway. While I'm sure there are the infinitely patient among us, I think there are plenty of good people out there that would prefer not to hang out with unhygienic people. Additionally, even if you're not necessarily unhygienic, people can be scared away by your appearance. When I end up sitting by someone wearing sweats and a hoodie in class, something like this ends up running through my mind, "Should I start a conversation with her? No, she looks like she just rolled out of bed. What if she's not a morning person and bites my head off?" While this is probably a bit illogical and maybe even shallow, it's how the world works sometimes (although, if you want to get away with wearing sweats to class, smiling at people might help negate some of the "not-a-morning-person" vibe. )

To have fun.
Personally, I think dressing up is so fun. I love experimenting with my hair and learning new makeup looks as well. However, if you're one of the people who hates dressing up, try to make it more fun. Whether it's by infusing more of your personal style into your look, or getting a haircut you love, I bet there's a way to bring some fun into taking pride in your appearance. Please, if you hate blow-drying your hair, or wearing skirts, or whatever it may be: don't force yourself to do it in order to reap the other benefits. There's always a better way and it won't be worth it if you dread every minute.

To show respect for yourself. 
I love this video by Mimi Ikonn. I hope when you dress up you do it for yourself, not for other people. While taking care of yourself benefits you socially, I hope that's just another perk for you. It honestly sucks to feel like you have to look perfect every single day, and that's not the message I'm trying to portray here. There are days when you don't need to dress up: if you're sick, if you are just going to WalMart, if you're boarding a 5am flight. But, I hope this post has helped you realize that dressing up has more benefits than simply looking good and maybe even helped change your perspective towards the beauty and fashion industry. Have a great day!

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