This week’s Discover Challenge: Outer Layers
I’ve found truth of how you look on the outside reflects how you feel on the inside. Clothing is an expression of who we are, and when worn to that effect, displays either a positive or negative feeling. While we don’t intend to ever give off a negative vibe in how we dress, how we act while wearing certain articles of clothing can tell a big story about who we are.
The concept of wearing a hooded sweatshirt (“hoodie”) has not always had a negative connotation. When worn correctly, it is meant to keep the wearer warm on days where you don’t need a coat, but a regular long sleeved shirt just won’t do the trick. How, may you ask, is a hooded sweatshirt worn incorrectly? A number of incorrect (read: socially unacceptable) ways spring to mind – hot days, hood up and covering the eyes, offensive design on the shirt (which can be said of any shirt). A good example incorrectly wearing an article of clothing as it applies to the workplace brings to mind a girl who was in a closed-door discussion about treatment of an individual she was supporting in the field (I work in social services). While in this meeting, she was sitting (though slumped is a better description) in a chair, wearing a hoodie whose hood was pulled over her head. I couldn’t see her face. I don’t remember the weather that day (it was at least 2 years ago), but we were indoors. If you’re trying to make your case for your apparent behavior while providing support to someone, you’re making a poor case.
I remember a discussion we had in a staff meeting about the really nice polos we had the option to purchase several years back, and we were told that when wearing them, we were to behave in a professional manner, whether it was at work or outside of it. I have worn mine to work (not recently, since it is a little big on me now), and when I’ve gone shopping or run errands after work while still wearing it, I’ve always been extra careful not to do or say anything that is unbecoming of proper representation. The shirt is a source of pride and a conversation piece. Acting negatively would put an unfair mark on what it represents. And why would I want to put a negative mark on a place that focuses on the accomplishments of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities?
I’m not a thin woman – I have hips and a little pudge – so I wear clothing that covers those flaws while highlighting the physical features that work best on me. I like my clothing to be appropriate whether I’m at work (business casual environment) or at home. I do like to wear dresses during the summer, and when I wear them during the winter, I prefer ones I can wear with leggings as opposed to tights. I tend to prefer comfort and function over uncomfortable. I do own hooded sweatshirts and graphic tees, but I save those for outside of work.
I also like my clothing to represent my individualistic nature – when I wear a graphic t-shirt (for example, my Thor shirt), I like the world to know that I’m not afraid to hide my geekiness. Would I wear them in social settings that requires me to look nice? No, never! But in the right crowd and appropriate moments, yes, I will wear the shirts I like. I don’t necessarily like being told “is that what you wore?” so I choose my clothes very carefully.
I’m not huge on expensive trends, and will buy clothes that look great and will last. Some of the stuff I own – my jean jacket, for example – are timeless and can be worn often. I also own a jean skirt. It’s something I love, don’t particularly care if it is dated, and can be worn year round.
Clothing is an extension of who we are as individuals. When I am dressed nicely and wearing jewelry, I feel beautiful and confident. When I’m wearing my more casual stuff, I’m comfortable with who I am and with the clothes I choose to wear.