Fashion - it’s not just what we throw on in the morning for the day. It is a complex, myriad of languages tailor made to speak to the world around you. It’s how we nonverbally communicate our self expression to others and the outside world as soon as we step outside. Maybe we stumble outside in 20 year old sneakers. Maybe we saunter out of our door in stilettos. Personally, I’m sure my neighbors have caught me checking the mail in my robe and sunglasses, to which I’m communicating “look away, I’m better than this. I’m just tired”. But who exactly is the audience that we are performing for? When we skim the racks at Bloomingdale’s on 59th street or Classic Six flagship on main - who do we have most in mind when we pull an item and send it off to the dressing room for angled pivots and over the shoulder glares? Men, other women or ourselves? No matter who you’re dressing for, each scenario offers its own unique challenges to overcome and rewards to celebrate. There’s an art form to each and there are no wrong answers. Let’s dive in.
When I studied at FIT (fashion institute of technology) in New York City, you can say I certainly dressed for girls. The female to male ratio was about 200:1 there and the stylish talent that walked in and out of those doors rendered me broke - from all the shopping I did to keep up with my posh peers. They were playing chess, not checkers. I was Urban Outfitters from some depressing mall in Long Island and they were an abroad vintage shoppe (spelt just like that) in Milan. If you dress for other women you’re a fashion forward thinker and most likely appreciates the art of putting an outfit together. It’s the chic coordination and quiet competition, an unspoken appreciation in the fashion food chain. Now only those apex predators from college could see me now Ha Ha Ha! (sobs).
Dressing for men is just as complicated. Men are visual. That’s why women wear makeup. So when it comes to apparel, you would assume anything that’s driven by sex appeal and tightness would do the trick. Think of those bandage dresses everyone wore to Las Vegas girl trips in 2006. The dress that tried to suffocate you when you first attempted to take it off with your arms over your head, dress over your face like a straight jacket. (Is that why we get called crazy?) But yeah, niceee and tight. Then there’s men who are all like “no no, I love all natural. Jeans and James Tee shirt and no makeup”. The said t-shirt is see through, the jeans shape your butt into a perfect upside down heart and the no makeup cost over 300 dollars to perfect from Sephora. Men - they’re simple creatures. You can’t go wrong.
Dressing for your own approval however, adds the finishing touch of confidence that you can’t rush order off line or borrow from a friend. Dressing for oneself is like composing a symphony for an audience of one – you. In this scenario, your wardrobe is your personal orchestra, and every outfit is a note in the sweet, sweet melody of self-expression. Power is standing at the street corner waiting for no one. As they say in the old country, dress like no one’s watching.