What Do People Think Of Your Clothes? Who Cares?

by Lani Irving

I’m not really what people would consider "fashionable." For the most part, I either look like I’ve just rolled out of bed and into the first items of clothing I could find (probably true) or like I’ve raided an art school rummage sale (also not far from the truth). Styling my short hair usually means dousing my blue colored bangs with hairspray and blow-drying it upside down. And if I'm being honest, I wear makeup maybe once or twice a month. If at all.

For the most part, I don’t really care what people think of how I look. While it might sound like one of those "alternative cliches," my eclectic, colorful taste means that sometimes people do look at me; sometimes in admiration, other times in what could only be classed as disgust. But I don’t really mind — as long as I am happy in what I’m wearing, that’s fine. So I want to take this opportunity to reflect on — and share with you — some of the steps I have taken on the noble path of Not Giving a Shit. The following list of affirmations can be used daily or as required to help you on your path to enlightenment.

I overslept

I’m not ashamed to admit that I am most certainly not a morning person. I have tried and tried but I am always terrible in the a.m. I have spent the last few years cultivating a blossoming relationship with the snooze button and this is something that has most certainly helped contribute to Not Giving a Shit. Dragging myself out of bed 10 minutes before I leave the house is all too familiar for me and doesn’t leave much time for making a fuss — just time to throw on whatever’s clean, brush my teeth and wash the sleep from my eyes.

I’m working. Hard

If I did care about my appearance before, the feeling would have been stifled by my several previous jobs working in youth hostels. Starting work at 7 a.m. and putting on chef whites means you can’t be fussy about trying to look good. I once pointed out, to the amusement of my colleagues, that in my huge, rectangular whites, I looked suspiciously like a close relative of the fridge-freezer.

Couple this with the knowledge that any makeup applied will no doubt melt off your face — if not in the heat of the breakfast shift, you’ll definitely sweat it off during housekeeping — and there’s just no point in trying. You have to give in to the natural "glow" this type of work provides you with. Working in any job of this nature, that keeps you on your feet and sweating in a synthetic uniform all day, is bound to make you care less about how you look. This is all about function, not fashion. If you don’t think I look good, fine — I’m not trying to look good.

It’s cold (and/or raining)

I'm one of those people who really feels the cold. Sometimes, just seeing what some people wear on a night out in winter is enough to make me feel cold, even whilst I’m wrapped up in my hat, coat and scarf. If you’d rather flaunt your flesh, good for you, but I always choose comfort over spending half the night shivering, even if it does mean I have to pay to stash my stuff in the cloakroom on a night out.

I’m comfortable

I’ve finally admitted to myself that there are some items of clothing I cannot wear comfortably — goodbye jeans, hello jeggings, for example. Some things just don’t fit my shape well, regardless of what size I choose. Even if I’m dressing up to go out, I always make sure I’m comfortable in what I’m wearing rather than squeezing myself into something I can’t dance in but that looks amazing.

I’m also all about the comfortable footwear, dancing in my Docs rather than injuring myself in heels. I am much too clumsy and heavy-footed for heels and, whilst they look great on some people, remember there’s no obligation to wear them if they just don’t feel right on you.

It’s your problem, not mine

If someone doesn’t like how I look, they don’t have to look at me. Simple. As long as I’m happy in what I’m wearing, let them think what they like. I have been shunned by certain people (luckily not many) at school, heckled by strangers in the street and shouted at by men in passing white vans, all because of how I present myself. Whilst the implication that I’m supposed to care what they think does sow the seed of rage within me, it’s also just amusing that they have such a strong reaction to… well, clothes and hair. What’s the big deal? I just like bright colors and clashing prints, there’s nothing offensive about that.

I wear what I like

Whilst I am conscious of the coming and going of trends, it’s through passively observing them appear and disappear on the high street, not through a desire to keep up. I tend to shop second-hand and wear things until they wear out — then fix them if I can.

The way we dress is a way to express ourselves; to give ourselves our own unique branding — this is who I am — rather than someone else’s. And if we follow trends to the letter, we’re missing out on an opportunity to do just that.

I’m not that outrageous

Over the years, I seem to have naturally calmed down a bit and turned to wearing things that are more, well, wearable. When people noticeably react to me wearing something a bit wacky, I just amuse myself thinking about how they might have reacted to 17-year-old me (pictured). Besides, Lady Gaga exists. I’m not that oddly dressed. Get with the times!

There are more important things to worry about

It sounds cliché, but there really are. Like everyone else, I have days when I think I look awful; where lack of sleep and too much junk food have taken their toll on my face and my body. It helps to try and retain some perspective. I am a relatively healthy human being. And I have a functioning body that enables me to do pretty much whatever I want. That's all that matters, no?

Images: Getty; Author; Giphy