As we all know, fashion and trends are constantly changing and evolving, new fads coming in, then fading out, before coming back round and swinging into popularity again a few years later (chokers, anyone?)
Working in Shoreditch, I am forever surrounded by people who are at the very front of the fashion times, rocking looks I would never be brave enough to pull off – my ‘style’ (and I use that word loosely) is definitely more jeans-and-jumper than anything that could ever be called edgy or fashion-forward.
For men, the current top fashion trends seem to be beards, tattoos and cropped suit trousers, and it’s not unusual to see fellas strolling through the streets of London in more ‘expressive’ outfits than the time-honoured traditional two-piece suit. Nowadays, fashion as a whole is a lot more eclectic and creative, and I could easily lose hours of my time sat in the window of a City coffee shop watching people walk by.
I definitely think the internet and social media has given people a wider scope to be braver and more creative in expressing themselves through the way we look – certainly, I know that I often look at fashion bloggers posts and covet their skills for putting together a badass outfit that I would never have thought of in a million years!
But, aside from being an expression of the person we are, how can fashion affect other aspects of our lives?
I’m sure it won’t come as any great surprise to a lot of you to hear that statistics say that the way you look has a strong impact on your ability to earn. There have been a multitude of studies carried out which tell you that you’ll earn more if you’re tall, less if you’re overweight, and that if you’ve been blessed with the looks of a movie star, your pay packet is highly likely to be a bit weightier! (Being 5ft2, plump and with a face made for radio, this definitely explains why I’m constantly skint!)
Whilst I’m a great believer that the quality of my face has nothing to do with my work ethics and ability to be a strong addition to a workforce, I do believe that dressing appropriately for the environment is important. I’m quite lucky that my office is very laid back (we all have slippers under our desks) so I can wear my casual stuff, but when I went for the interview I still dressed ‘up to the nines’ (as my mum would say) and if I have client meetings, I’ll make sure I dig out some of my better quality clothing from the depths of my wardrobe to give the best possible impression.
First off, when you’re in a relationship with someone, the most important thing is for them to be with you for you and that means they have to see and know the real you. It’s definitely ok to make a special effort for a first date, but it’s important you still retain your sense of self – you don’t want to be rocking up dressed like a country gent and to tick all her boxes, only to then tell her later that your general day-to-day dress is punk rock. Honesty from the get-go, always.
When it comes to the flame of attraction, it really is something individual to each person. There isn’t a single person on this planet who is everyone’s cup of tea when it comes to looks, and that’s just fine; it’s what makes the world go round! I read a study the other day that said 74% of women prefer their men to be clean shaven, but with the trend for men with beards showing no sign of slowing, this seems a strange result! Personally, whether Ben had a naked baby face or a full on pirate beard, I know I’d love him just the same, but I am definitely more used to his face with a short length of stubble so I’d say getting a decent electric shaver with adjustable settings is probably the best bet for achieving a middle ground.
(Disclaimer: having thought about this, I think a pirate beard may be too much Ben, don’t get any ideas!)
Another study suggested that women prefer a squishier ‘dad bod’ over a muscular Adonis (something I agree with) but with the healthy-living-clean-eating-lifting-all-the-heavy-things trend accelerating at a rate of knots, perhaps this will change in years to come?
Obviously, when it comes to love (prepare yourself for the cliché bomb…) it really is what’s inside that counts. Someone’s body can change shape, they may change their hair or their sense of style, but if they’ve got a winning personality then you’re set for life. There’s lots of evidence out there to suggest that a person’s smile is the first thing we notice about a person upon meeting them – a smile can set the tone for the first few minutes of time spent together – and there’s nothing better than a cheeky grin from the person you care about to show how happy they are that you’re there.
I think this is the dreaded C-word for a lot of people; confidence, or a lack of it to be more precise. I personally have zero confidence in the way I look and I could write a dissertation on the parts of me I wish I could change, but I also know I need to be more accepting of this fleshy vessel that is carrying me around the earth. Our bodies do an incredible job and just the very fact of living and breathing is a miracle in itself; we need to be more appreciative of that rather than seeing just the parts we perceive as negatives.
Fashion can be a great help when it comes to confidence; we’ve all got that item of clothing that we put on and instantly feel like we could take on the world. If we wear clothes that make us feel good, style our hair wigs in a way that makes us feel sassy, if you worry about your hair, you can just wear a hair system for men and women, and go out there with our heads held high (body language is so important for how other people see us – this famous TED talk by Amy Cuddy explains more!) then I believe we can just about conquer anything.
As a wise woman once said – fake it until you make it. Go out there, be the very best version of yourself, and I believe the world will start to come into focus just the way you want it to.
Be yourself, everybody else is taken.
* In Association with Brand *