The clothes make the man.
This is a statement that I have heard numerous times-a word that sounds like a lot, but truthfully only means more than one- but I’ve can’t recall a real life example of hearing it.
Is it true?
If I had to use myself as an example I would say yes and no. I say yes because I’m someone who I believe dresses very well. A ridiculously accurate comparison would be that nine out of ten times I am wearing a button up shirt when the situation doesn’t call for it. I enjoy wearing blazers and nice, but most of the time uncomfortable, dress shoes. I enjoy dressing up. I enjoy looking as best I can according to the standards I have probably been brainwashed with.
I would say no, because it might betray my character. I am in a fraternity. A fraternity I contribute a large amount of my time to, and love very much for what it has done for me. Also, a fraternity I helped prevent from dying and turn into a successful organization.
I am not what one might call a bro. I don’t fit into a traditional fraternity stereotype. Though, by the way I dress, at first glance I might betray that. As I write this paragraph I am wearing a button up shirt, khaki shorts, and flip flops. Not exactly the spitting image of a Chaco-wearing Edgar Allen Bro( that reference alone should get my point across.). I only wear t shirts at the gym or an event that would be ridiculous and impractical to wear a button up. Even then it is usually something socially acceptable like a fraternity/sorority shirt or something with a socially-approved brand such as Patagonia and PFG which I couldn’t care less about.
Why? Why am I more willing to drop more than two dozen dollars on a shirt that only holds the logo of a brand I don’t otherwise wear, than something I actually enjoy, such as one of my favorite movies or television series? Other members of my fraternity don’t feel the need to conform to these standards. What’s my reason?
Insecurity. I have more confidence now than I ever had, I have come a long way from my emotional unstable high-school self. Despite that fact, I am still human. And a human who has a past of anxiety and depression, at that. The depression is pretty well-managed; I have a lot of people in my life who understand and help me work with it. And then there’s anxiety, the ever-present evil, the mind killer. I know that Frank Herbert referred to fear as the mind killer, but I consider fear and anxiety different sides of Harvey Dent’s half-charred coin. See what I mean when I say I don’t fit the stereotype?
I sacrifice comfort for vanity because I am still quite insecure about my physical appearance. I have been overweight for as long as I can remember. I am disgusted whenever I look in the mirror and the anxiety of my shape floods into my mind through my eyes. I feel like if I wear these nice shirts I can cover up myself and act like I don’t have those extra forty pounds that are haunting me like an hateful ghost.
Though, that said, I will still continue to dress up. Even if I lost all the weight I need to I would still do it. It gives me confidence I didn’t previously have. It enhances my personality. I love being the guy who can dress in a blazer and then school anyone in a field of fandom they didn’t expect I could.
At one point I was ranked on Mass Effect trivia on Quizup. I’m still a bit of a film snob from my wannabe movie director days, and my film knowledge rivals most anyone outside the film and entertainment industries.
The question that keeps coming to mind-knocking and then running away like a lonely, mid-pubescent tween-is: Am I doing the right thing?
A question as old as Spike Lee’s career.
Is the impracticality of insisting on wearing a button-up on a rainy day, or to a service project as I have to admit, something I need to change? Or, is it simply one of the many quirks that makes up normal person? We’ve been force fed this idea of the ideal personality that can be contradictory. Be charismatic, but be very humble and not loud; be well dressed, but don’t be too well dressed unless you’re at a wedding;-
(Just to interrupt. Why the hell are weddings to damn special? Why is that the life landmark where we pull out all the stops? Where people who probably don’t even like the bride and groom have to drop hundreds of dollars to conform to the dress code and implied bullshit gift that the newly married couple will probably throw away, regardless. Rant over.)
I find stereotypes and social standards interesting. I am studying psychology, after all. I’ll keep wearing the clothes I like to wear because it’s what makes me comfortable in my skin under my clothes. What makes you comfortable? Then do that. I guess that’s really what I’m trying to say. Huh.
The clothes make the man.