Reader aurelia.donka left the following comment on my recent post about jazzing up twinsets.
What, exactly, is wrong with dull clothes? It seems to me this falls into “I’m not here to decorate your world” territory. An unadorned twinset and black trousers constitutes a put-together, simple, un-fussy, functional, casual, comfortable outfit.
Where’s the line between dull and elegantly simple?
I had never heard that phrase before reading this comment, and initially it struck me as downright combative. I imagined that this response might be given when one is directly insulted; Told she dresses sloppily, poorly, dully, or hit by some snarky/inappropriate comment about ratty shoes or an outdated hairdo.
But after some poking around, I understand that this phrase is rooted in the male gaze and a response to the notion that women have a “duty” to look their best at all times. Which, of course, is bunk. None of us is here to decorate anyone else’s world, nor should we feel obliged to meet someone else’s arbitrary standards of “pretty enough” or “stylish enough.”
But in terms of the line between dull and elegantly simple? I think Bekster nailed it in her comment response:
” …’dull’ deflects attention, but ‘elegant’ attracts it. Just think about what actresses wear on the red carpet. Their dresses may be both simple and elegant, but people still say ‘wow’ when they see them.”
So what’s wrong with dull clothes? Nothing. If you want to wear things that even YOU consider to be dull, go for it. Again, style is deeply personal and no one can make you wear anything you don’t want to. And especially if you’re in a spot where you have no money, time, or energy to invest in your appearance, or if attracting attention to yourself is stressful, then cloak yourself in plain, quiet, easy clothes.
But I hope you won’t get stuck there forever. And I hope you won’t go thinking that if you shift gears and suddenly want to wear gorgeous jewelry and sassy shoes that you’re “selling out” or pandering to some faceless, opinionated audience. There are times when we cannot exercise choice over our attire, but when we can, I encourage everyone to do so with her own pleasure in mind.
Image courtesy Laura Mary.