That seems to be a regular comment for me, but a few comments have made me wonder. Just today, a grandmother came in looking for an outfit for her twin granddaughters that were turning 14. I suggested a few things; some graphic t-shirts, some new shorts, a graphic hoodie, or a couple of tank tops that were buy one get one half off. She looked at me and gave me a simple “Girls wear things like that? Ladies shouldn’t wear jeans and t-shirts. I was hoping to get something more along the lines of a blouse or a skirt.” She then gave me a once-over and said “Oh, I see,” and left it at that. Today I am wearing some jeans I bought at the store, a bright yellow layering tank top, and a heather gray t-shirt to go over it. Apparently that’s not what “ladies” wear.
Does it make me any less of a woman that I’m wearing jeans a t-shirt? Does it make me less of a lady? I know I’m not the most well behaved, my posture isn’t perfect, and my colorful vocabulary leaves something to be desired for some people, particularly my father, sorry Daddy. Why exactly does that mean I can’t be considered a lady, though? Why does that mean that I can’t be treated with the same respect that lady demanded? We can’t all be raised in money, with expensive clothes, and have someone standing over us making sure the book on our head stays straight.
I always joke whenever I belch that that’s why my husband married me. Again, it’s an unladylike behavior, but my husband doesn’t view me as any less of a woman because of it. Though at the same time I feel like I am trying to justify my actions. I probably could act a little more feminine, but that’s never been me. I’ve never been the type to have an air about me that suggest that I’m anything I’m not.
Conversely, I also helped a woman looking for an ensemble for her daughter. She asked what I liked and what I thought was cute. I showed her a few outfits and she laughed at me in a “you’re such a silly girl” kind of way. She then told me that her daughter is more into clothes that were form fitting (at the time I was wearing some fitted jeans, a tank top, a sweater…all purchased from that store) and layered. I smiled and said that the outfit I was currently wearing was layered. She giggled again and then said “well, but my daughter is 24.” I laughed and said “I’m 25. We just have different styles is all, but I can help you find something for her.” I picked out a few other items, after which she decided that I wasn’t the best option to help her find an outfit for her daughter who was less than a year younger than because in her words I dress too old for my age and I need to think about redoing my wardrobe all together.
I understand that different people have different ideas about style, but how do I attract two very different types of…lack of a better word…attacks? How is it that just because I don’t wear a skirt and blouse every day I’m not a lady, but since I don’t wear tight clothing, reveal my midriff, and wear a low cut shirt I dress too old for my age? Why do I need to adhere to a certain set of rules of dressing myself to be perceived as a woman?
I quite like my casual, girly style, and it irritates the shit out of me that that there is such a pressure on women to fit a certain stereotype. It sucks to admit it, but even though we’ve come far as a society, there still is a pressure on women to look and act a certain way or we won’t be accepted by the rest of our peers. I won’t apologize for not dressing a certain way because that’s not who I am. I don’t need to dress in revealing clothes to have confidence and I don’t need to wear something skin tight to get people to look at me. I think I’m pretty. I have confidence, and that’s enough.
I suppose I’m worked up about it because the pressure that mainstream media has put on us pisses me off. We feed images to little girls and sell clothes to them to make them look older than they are. We rarely allow our kids to find their own style, but instead dress them the way we see fit. I’m guilty, to an extent, of this, or at least of dreaming this. Of having a little girl and putting her in pretty dress, cute t-shirts, and adorable skirts, but I have enough sense that if my (future) daughter were to tell me she didn’t like it, I would help her find her style.
Your style is just that, YOUR style and it is, in essence, part of your identity. You shouldn’t have to go from one end of the crazy spectrum to the other. I like to think I’m in the comfortable middle somewhere. I can look like a girly-girl when need be, but I do have my moments when I want to wear something a little sexy. Maybe my wardrobe does suck, but it wasn’t until recently that anyone has said “You need to redo your wardrobe”. The thing is, not much has changed about my style since we moved here other than finding things that weren’t quite as heavy.
I’m beyond baffled. I say, find your own style. Don’t adhere to a certain image to tell you how to dress. Don’t be a cookie cutter Barbie, and don’t be a lady if that’s not you. Me? I’m gonna go bang my head against a wall a few times and try to understand these women.