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38. What are you trying to achieve when you dress?

Comfort, simplicity, harmony

I definitely think that I dress for other women and I want other women to think that I have my shit together in public. I’ll go through phases of what I want to present. Sometimes it’s a put-together businesswoman and other times it’s a carefree Black girl. I’ve been doing more carefree Black girl lately. It surprisingly takes a lot of effort to pull off carefree Black girl though. In terms of my ambitions, I work in the legal field and my office is relatively relaxed and no one is required to dress up unless we’re going to court, but I still try to be at least business casual at the office and would say I’m one of the best dressed people there and also that they could all read this and would say, “She right though.” I’ve been side hustling as a writer for awhile now and don’t think I own enough hoodies to look like a writer yet.

The main thing I am trying to achieve is covering up my naked body.

Functionality and emotional expression.

I could fuck up badly today but still look competent in these clothes.

For me now, I’m trying to have unblocked continuity between my imaginary self and my external self, to have my clothes represent my vision of how I believe I am. Getting dressed in the morning and having the courage to wear my dreams helps me be brave in other areas of my life. Figuring out what to wear is part of my artistic practice.

I dress to withstand the elements (minus 30 ain’t no joke). I dress to make myself a moving painting, to be as interesting as the Tate (lofty ambitions, rarely achieved). I dress to insert myself into social strata, to be accepted, to pass. I dress to ruffle feathers, to be the content of twitters. I dress to further the cause, breasts hanging un-brad, nipples protruding. But I shave my armpits, so people won’t gasp. I dress to be the least contorted, shaped, infringed upon. But then I wear a corset. I dress to make people think I’m someone they want to know.

A creative expression of how I’m feeling, but also with practical considerations of what I am doing that particular day

I’m trying to best align my outer appearance with my inner landscape for that day/moment/event – the purpose for which I’m dressing, which includes simply being at home too.

Looking unique

I’m always trying to express myself through fashion. Even in my most casual wear. I fancy myself a fun and creative person, and refuse to buy or wear anything I find dull. Which to me means anything too at home in a sad, barren cubicle under fluorescent lights. I’m definitely dressing for the life I want, which is slowly becoming the life I have, and I’d put part of that on me honing my sense of style in recent years.

My number one goal is comfort. I don't always succeed with this – too high waisted, too tight on the legs, scratchy material – but it's a priority. Second goal is not clashing. When I was in grade school people teased me if my clothes clashed. I've never forgotten. This makes me a boring dresser, however, as I tend to balance solid colours. Third, some sort of balance between trying to dress my age (45), but not looking like a teenager.

That really depends on my purpose in going out the door. Sometimes I want to be incognito, like when I haven't showered and just have to pop out for an errand; on those occasions I wear my glasses, hair up in a knot, with muted, low-key clothes, and sneakers. When I have a special event, I want to look pretty and be noticed, but not necessarily ogled—I very rarely wear super sexy or tight clothing. This doesn't stem from shame about my body (for instance, I love wearing bikinis at the beach), but from what I guess is an aversion to flashiness, to showing off, or too obviously crying out for attention. Generally, I want to be comfortable and stylish, without looking like I tried too hard.

The image I currently strive to achieve is one of a spiritual leader or mystical woman. And I believe I do a fabulous job of doing so.

Femininity and simplicity. I've actually never been very clothes conscious, although often wish I was. I think I try to strike a balance between feeling attractive, but not drawing too much attention to myself. I wish I was more brave.

be confident.

Lately I have been wanting to have more of a uniform, just a few things that I really love, and I have been only wearing black, cream/white, chambray, and ultramarine blue. Simple but unique dresses you can wear multiple ways. High waisted black denim with tees and silk button downs. Blazers or oversized sweaters. Black sandals and heals, white sneakers (bensimon or vans), or oxfords. I like the idea and simplicity of this.

I want to look attractive and self-confident.

My clothes have a lot to say. My dress is bold but not screaming. It is smart and knowing. I dress to nod to and reinterpret history. I mix and match eras. I will wear anything if it has a good message to send. I want to be noticed and appreciated, surely. I do not want to be gawked at and bothered because of the way I dress. I do not want others to think I am a snob because I want them to learn from my talent of dressing myself and others.

I want to look good, even when I’m not feeling good. I don’t always achieve that, but it’s the goal.

Confidence, style, comfort, glamour, mystique, originality. I’ve always wanted to be known, to other women, as someone who dresses well and has a good sense of personal style. I also really want to just feel like myself. I hate wearing something that doesn’t feel organically like me

Comfort then stylish

I think I try to match or improve my mood. If I’m grumpy, for example, I can’t wear a cheerful dress with ponytails and cowgirl boots. That’s why black dresses are good—they can harmonize to lots of moods.

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