on being well dressed

"Being well dressed is a beautiful form of politeness."  

Even an exhaustive query couldn't tell me who came up with those words, but either way, it's long been one of my favorite statements about clothing.  I've never been a fan of people who can't seem to put on a nice enough outfit to save their lives - yes, I understand not having style, but there are a fair amount of people I could name who can't seem to get on anything but jeans and a t shirt for church, or actually bother changing out of pajamas for class.  IN COLLEGE.  Seriously.    

But yesterday, something struck me that made me think of the other side of this.  I was reading Lucky magazine's September issue (which I just have to say is much improved with Eva Chen at the helm) and got stuck on a line from an article profiling the model Hilary Rhoda at home.  

She said "my mom taught me not to focus on a particular style but to work with your environment."  I think that's a wonderful approach to take.  I've always believed there's no need to pigeonhole yourself - just because I wore a white peasant dress and clogs yesterday doesn't mean I CAN'T wear a tweed jacket and trousers today - and I like the idea that dressing appropriately goes both ways!  

For example, if you meet a friend for Sunday morning coffee, isn't it kind of annoying when she shows up in a pretty little dress and pearls, and you're in a sweatshirt and jeans, a la the top left photo?  

Or at a bachelorette party if you show up looking drab in a plain black dress, no accessories & honestly no effort?  Put on some leopard or sparkle, as in the bottom right photo.  You're celebrating your friend's last single days, and your clothes should reflect the occasion!  Lastly, the job interview, of course.  I had the pleasure of interviewing some lovely freelance design candidates for my job a while back.  It was mildly horrifying.  Yes, we work in a creative field, but there were girls who showed up looking more ready to tend bar than interview for a job.  An outfit like the bottom left, even with the funky necklace and clutch would have been a welcome surprise.  

I just thought it was lovely advice, and I wanted to share it with you.  Throw out "it's better to be overdressed, than underdressed" because you know, sometimes it's not.  Sometimes, it makes people feel self conscious.  

"Don't focus on a particular style, and work with your environment."  

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