The Decline of American Style: 10 Ways to Liberate Your Fashion

“Don’t judge a book by its cover.” We’ve all heard this phrase.  Our current culture is rich with the ideal that appearance doesn’t matter. This concept is true when it comes to inner character and important for everyone to remember.

…However, there seems to a large group of people who are forgetting that while it is what’s on the inside that counts, it is still important to let that reflect on the outside.  I’m not saying we need to all look like supermodels to get by (but let’s face it, we all know that would be easier) or revert to the days of fictional Don Draper and sexual inequality, but looking your best will get you a lot further. Research shows we are able to make a decision about someone new in 1/10 of a second, and that impression is nearly impossible to change. This applies to every situation from job interviews to minor interactions throughout our days. So, think twice before heading out the door in those pajamas bottoms even though you’re “just running to Wal-Mart.” Dressing well will not only boost confidence, it also has a direct link to your potential income.

It’s important to remember that looking nice is a decision and not just for Easter Sunday. I’m not saying everyone must wear a suit and tie nonstop. I’m a T-shirt and jeans girl if there ever was one. But we’re setting an example for our country when we go out in public. I, for one, am embarrassed at how a lot of the world views Americans. I know we’re not all the extreme version of that picture, severely overweight and probably eating fast food, but our society allows it. I just think everyone should be proud enough of themselves to let it show

So, for the sake of our nation, I have put together this list as a jumping off point for the re-stylization of America.   

1. Flip Flops. Enough said, right? Over the past few decades, these ‘footwear’ have somehow left the poolside and invaded our everyday fashion. They’re easy to put on in a dash and come in millions of colors and styles. Perfect for our “on the go” lives. Young girls, free of the past’s repressive women’s fashion rules, are even wearing them to prom. Too bad they are terrible for feet and arches. Even the most finely adorned flip flop still looks cheap and negates any level of sophistication you were going for, not to mention everyone knows how dirty your feet get wearing them. So, add that to a sweaty dance floor of hormones and it gets quite pungent.  So unless you live in California or are CURRENTLY at the beach, just don’t wear them.

Hats in the Garment District. New York. 1930. Photo by Margaret Bourke White

2. Hats. There was once a time when no respectable man would leave the house without a hat.  It was an essential part of the whole suit experience. It lent the wearer many instances to prove his manners, taking it off at the table and dipping it to the pretty lady. Sadly, this era is gone and most of the men who wear fedoras now can only prove they have a cat or live with their parents. Then, there’s the trend of leaving all the company’s stickers on fitted caps. To brag about your head size? I’m not sure. All I know is unless you are literally a well-suited gentleman, steer clear of the fedora. The only respectable cap is one that has actually serves a purpose. Above all else, though, if you feel you are worthy of donning a hat, remember when to take it off.

3. Tights as Pants. Ugh. I can’t stress that enough, ugh. Once upon a time it was leggings under a long sweater or tunic that came down well past the bum. It was cute. Lately, the trend has changed to often flashy, printed leggings with T-shirts or tank tops. It is still all right if you can pull it off, I guess. But here and there, I’ve seen pictures of girls donning tights – like, wear under a skirt because they are see-through tights. Just, why? If you are wearing these in a normal public setting, there is no denying anything – literally. If you want to be taken seriously, know your body type and dress appropriately, There is nothing wrong with rocking some leggings or tights, jut make sure they are under something else.

4. Jeans. Ok, I’m not hating on jeans. I love jeans. The perfect pair of jeans can change your outlook on life. However, it’s important to invest in yourself. Buy some nice slacks or a blouse every now and then and mix them into your regular routine. It’s amazing the difference in confidence you will notice when you dress for the life you want. Remember that you never know who you will meet at any time, and you only get to make one first impression.

5. Get Rid of Clothes From Your Previous Fighting Size. Whether you’ve gone up or down the scale, the first part of looking “put together” is dressing for your actual size. Confidence is great, but it cannot make up for a missing button on a protruding belly or looking like you’re wearing your older brother’s hand-me-downs.

6. Animal Prints. I’m sorry, but animal print just does not scream responsible. It screams, ” l like to have fun, let’s get drinks.” It has been making its regular comeback to fashion, but we need to stop this for good. The only animal prints most people pull off well in real life are their comforters. Oh, snap. I love you, Gwen, but you look like a baby giraffe.

7. Bra Straps. Unfortunately, ladies, with all the advances in modern braziers, there is really no excuse for this. It is completely unprofessional, like most of the employee dress codes you have seen. Like flip flops above, the sight of a bra strap kills the air of elegance you were going for. If it is appropriate in the situation for you to be wearing the kind of top that would show a strap, find an appropriate bra.

 8. Get Rid of Anything You Haven’t Worn In A Year. At least once a year, go through your clothes and get rid of anything you haven’t worn in the last 12 months or is too old to wear. Donate the decent clothes and shoes to a shelter for tax credit. Different shelters contribute to different charities helping women and those in need. So, do some research of you local shelters to find a good cause.

9. Take Care of Yourself. The key to your best impression is confidence, and confidence can only come from within. So, taking care of yourself is the first step to attaining your best appearance. It doesn’t have to mean going to the gym everyday, just what you can manage. But, why not strive for more? And don’t forget to take care of your soul. Whatever you take that to mean, remember to keep yourself happy and balanced. A negative attitude is visible and, after time, all those frowns become etched in wrinkles to let the world know what kind of face you liked to make the most.

10. Simple Etiquette. Knowing what to wear is one thing, but you also have to know when to wear it. As I’ve mentioned, dressing well has been known to increase salary for men. Women, however, are seen to be incompetent if they dress too provocatively. How you dress for an occasion is not only an intentional expression of ourselves, it is an extension of our manners whether we like it or not. It is rude to wear jeans to a wedding, for example. Being under dressed for an interview could likely cost you a job. Why not always act like you’re on your way to an interview or maybe a wedding and see how far it gets you?

Also Enjoy:

Mind Tools: How To Make A Good First Impression

Rae Coder


*featured image*


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