One much too long ago evening, a friend and i were wondering if this was true – does what you wear affect the way you behave? Based on a few empirical observations, we came to the conclusion that it, in fact, did : He posited that I’d be more playful and well…fritty….if i were wearing a pair of shorts and a tee, act more composed and lady-like if i was wearing a patiala suit. I observed that he seemed more academic and business-like if he wore a collared shirt, and tremendously more flippant if he was wearing shorts and floaters. We mutually agreed that a common friend was much better behaved (like a good little church girl) on days she styled her long beautiful hair into a plait, a bit flirtatious on days she left it open, and sort of aggressive (“i’m going to beat them boys up!”) on days she wore her Converse shoes. Another one’s entire presence varied according to what she had on – skirts would make her all shy and girly, suits would make her matronly, shorts would make her downright naughty. Yet another would unknowingly behave as jazzy as Elvis when he wore his blue suede shoes ( i swear, he owned a pair! ) and would be transformed into the most eligible bachelor, dignified and mature, when he wore his white kurta-pyjama. I’d even observed changes in the way people walked, and their posture – chest out, back straight, one-foot-in-front-of-the-other if they thought they had something flattering on, like a crisp shirt and pleated steel-grey trousers and shiny leather boots; or monkey-like, climbing trees and falling all over the place if they were wearing something casual / unwashed / old….so yeah, this went on for a while because it was just so funny…As an aside, boys can be such bitches, but anyway…..
So, to be honest, I guess how we present ourselves does affect the mood – buoyant, confident, nervous, indifferent – and it lasts for as long as it’s on us. In a sense, what i wear wears me too, molds itself around and into me. But this really isn’t an argument for what’s-on-you being a definitive part of one’s character in the long-term. I don’t know about that. But on an everyday basis, does it work because most of us do look at ourselves through the eyes of those in front of us too? Or does demeanor have something to do with how expensive or fancy your clothes are?
Any which way, how you dress seems to me an important part of our lives. Our lives, specifically, although you might call it elitist, hegemonising or something to that effect. To pretend that you just don’t care about how you look could mean one of two things: you’re either tremendously under-confident or you’re trying to set that casual-i’m-too-cool-for-my-shirt attitude. Because, frankly, if you believe in the dictum ‘first impressions last forever’, you cannot not believe in being what you’re wearing. Or wearing what you’re being.
Split-personalities in order, you say? No, just ruffling things up!
PS – my latest addiction : The Sartorialist. For regular endless hours of gauze-steeped self-indulgence. Scott Schuman is IT! 😀