Most of us love to flick through a fashion magazine and appreciate the new fashions and styles but very few would go out and invest in them.
We buy clothes that appeal to our innate sense. And we hardly give a passing thought as to why we choose the clothes that we do. Dressing right is more complicated than just putting to pieces of clothing together.
Our dressing habit is influenced by not just our function or job role in the society; it is developed by what we see, feel and experience around us in the course of our life.
To begin with it is the family that we are born into. Dressing in this case is influenced by our family`s outlook whether it is orthodox or liberal.
According to Dr Samir Parikh, Psychiatrist, our upbringing does influence the choice of dress till a certain age. But we start moving out and getting exposure, we tend to drop our inhibitions and wear what feels appropriate to our present lifestyle. As we grow and learn to make our own decisions, our sense of dressing evolves and we wear things that make us feel good and help us blend in with our peers.
Dressing and looking pretty is also about a woman`s blossoming and growing up. As a young girl or even a young woman dressing comes under parental direction. Only when she marries or goes out to follow her career does she get space to develop her sense of dressing.
While individualistic styles are what everybody talks about, but none of us really like to be so drastic so as to invite unwanted criticism. The common desire is to be able to create a statement without standing out as a different being. This is a very tough task that most of us are trying hard to achieve. Adds Dr Parikh, "Wearing an attire is a reflection of our social life. Most women prefer to wear socially appropriate clothes. They are always looking for reaction to their clothing. It impacts the mind set of the woman if others react in a certain way to what a she is wearing."
Influences On Dressing
While growing up, women develop their sense of dressing from about four or five key factors around them. We learn from observation. According to sociologists reasons like high media exposure, life course, peer-group help develop our dressing habits in a major way. "I would say the key parameter that effects the way women dress is what is portrayed in the media. Somehow they make you feel that what is being shown is the only right thing to wear. Today more than ever the exposure to high fashion that women get through media persuade them to buy clothes that mimic what is shown," informs Dr Parikh.
While our dressing sway towards orthodoxy or liberal depends on how we were brought up but the decision to follow trends or stick to conventional clothes is more from the outside than innate. It is a well-known fact that women, in order to follow certain fashion trends, willingly give up their comfort (or common sense).
The other key parameter that defines dressing is a woman`s course in life. That is her age and her family and status. What is amazing to see in India is that really expensive women, women who wear the maximum jewelry and finery at any occasion are the older women. You will see younger women dressed more modestly than their older counterparts. It is a sort of social statement.
With increasing self-awareness, women today have also taken up dressing as a weapon of attraction. Our dressing sense is developed by a fair amount of peer pressure and our need to attract others. There is also a certain sexual element in dressing. Though not to the extent like in the West, Indian women have also started dressing up to attract sexual partners. While our statistics may be lower than that in the West, but more and more Indian women know the importance of looking good when meeting their prospective partners.
So in conclusion we can say that dressing up and grooming is about developing one`s sense of self worth and feeling a sense of power. Taking an example from everyday life, the days when we dress up in clothes and colours that we perceive as suitable to us, we not only feel but also exude confidence. But if we were to wear attire that we perceive as not complementary to our sense of style, we automatically seem to feel diffident.