The Art of Getting Dressed x Uniqlo
A few weeks ago I attended the The Art of Getting Dressed workshop. It was run by Dr Nadine Cameron through The School of Life in collaboration with Uniqlo. We discussed the fundamentals of dressing, the psychology behind what we wear and how it impacts our life.
Clothes and Contradictions
Dressing can be both pleasurable and painful. It is pleasurable as it allows us to play with our identity and express aspects of our personality. Dressing can also bring us together and make us feel inclusive. Dressing can be painful when dressed too formally or casually at an event. Wearing the same outfit as another can also make us feel uncomfortable in the clothes we are in.
Another contradiction lies in the freedom of dressing. While we have a choice in what we wear, there are also serious social implications if we wear the wrong thing. Clothing can divide and ostracise us especially in certain cultures and communities.
The contradictory relationship we have with dressing: pleasure versus pain, freedom versus restriction is why many of us find it hard to get dressed each day.
There are many influences to why we dress the way we do. Which of the below factors affect how you get dressed?
Early influences from upbringing have an impact on how we dress. You may choose to wear a red sweater because it evokes nostalgia. Or you feel self-conscious baring your knees because of family morals around inappropriate dressing.
People you admire can impact how you dress. You may like what a friend wears so you are drawn to similar styles without realising it.
Context can alter your style including where you work, who your friends are and what city you live in. Living in New York changed my style and sense of dressing. I would even go as far to say that New York was the catalyst for my style.
Gender impacts our style and how we dress. Women are able to wear a wider range of garments than men such as pants. Yet as a woman there is pressure to look sexy enough to be desirable but not too much so as to lose respect from our peers or male counterparts.
Whether you are interested in fashion or not, trends impact what you wear. It reminds me of the memorable scene in the film Devil Wears Prada where Meryl Streep berates Anne Hathaway about her cerulean sweater.
Questions to Consider:
- What matters to you and what do you want to express through your clothing/style?
- How has your style evolved?
- Which aspects of your personality would you want to celebrate or change? How would you do this with clothing?
- Do you dress for your personality?
- Why do we try to change ourselves to fit our clothes? Why is it not the other way around?
WAYS OF DRESSING
There are different approaches to dressing. Do you dress for comfort, aesthetics or to be a change agent?
Dressing for Comfort
Clothing can restrict our mind by bringing us back to our bodies. If garments are uncomfortable we focus on them rather than what we are doing. Some people design a uniform for themselves to remove the thought behind dressing. This frees up space for constructive and creative thoughts. Bill Cunningham, Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein, Fran Leibowitz and Karl Lagerfeld are some famous uniform wearers. Would you create a uniform for yourself?
Dressing for Aesthetics
Many people enjoy dressing for aesthetics. This is not a superficial or selfish act. It is honouring design and beauty principles and gives others pleasure to look at. Dressing for aesthetics can make one feel inspired and inspire others at the same time.
Dress to be a Change Agent
Low quality 'disposable' fast-fashion and unconscious consumerism is damaging our earth. If you want to provoke change, dress to be a change agent. Being a conscious consumer encourages others in your circle of influence to take up this mentality. Actress Emma Watson is a change agent. Her wardrobe consists of quality pieces she can wear over and over. She said "Whatever you buy, would you wear it thirty times? That makes anything ethical and sustainable,".
For her Beauty and the Beast press tour Watson only wore designer pieces made from organic, fair trade and recycled materials. She is a powerful change agent.
Quick styling tips to play with proportions of your outfit:
- Tuck or untuck your clothes
- Alter the length of your tops or bottoms
- Add a belt (consider different widths and placements)
- Experiment with different garment constructions
- Strategic layering
- Camouflage and distract via fabric and print