Sex or Style? Do you dress for men, other women or yourself?
I often hear women use the phrase ‘dress to impress’, but have you ever asked yourself exactly who is it you’re trying to impress? First of all I’m a big believer in women dressing for themselves in what makes them feel comfortable, confident and sexy. As much as this should be our number one priority, we spend a lot of the time thinking about what other people will think of our outfit, whether we admit it or not. The way I see it, there are three things we take into consideration; wanting to dress for ourselves in what we feel comfortable in, dressing to impress men and dressing to impress other women.
The first time I met my boyfriend I was wearing jeans, a hoody and uggs. I had just enough make up on to conceal my hangover and hadn’t exactly spent hours on my hair. Over a year later and we’re still together so I suppose my low key appearance gave off a good first impression. However I wonder if someone had told me there was a chance I’d be meeting a PNB (potential new boyfriend) that day, would I have made more of an effort? I’d like to try and sound cool and say I wouldn’t have changed a thing, but that’s a lie. I would’ve been straight back up the stairs and disappeared into a cloud of hairspray and tan and come back out like that moment in ‘Stars in Their Eyes’ tonight Matthew, I’m going to be the woman of his dreams. But then perhaps he would have been turned off by the overwhelming smell of desperation and ran a mile.
The topic of dressing to impress men is a tricky one. Some women might like to say that they don’t do this and that a man’s opinion is not part of their decision process when getting done up. I’m sure there are cases where this is true but it’s a natural thing to want to attract the opposite sex.
When myself and my friends would go out in the hope of coming across some attractive males, a lot of preparation would go into our appearances. Looking back I cringe at the pictures of us in tiny dresses, massive heels, big hair, fake eyelashes, fake tan, fake nails… etc. We just looked fake. Then we’d wonder why no nice guys were approaching us and the only attention we were getting was from greasy sleazes old enough to be our dads. As much as I love getting dolled up and feeling like a glamazon, I realise that for some guys it’s just too much and they can find it off putting or intimidating. Marilyn Monroe was quoted in saying “Your clothes should be tight enough to show you’re a woman, but loose enough to show you’re a lady.”
I put up a status on Facebook asking my friends about what their opinions were on the topic of what men are attracted to. Most of the guys, raging in an age of 18-35, said they liked it when girls looked natural and were turned off by fake tan and Barbie wannabe look. This then sparked an argument on my page as the girls fought back and asked if any of them would look at a girl sideways if she walked into a club in a tshirt, jeans and no make-up and asked questions like ‘why do men say they like the natural look at then have to pick their jaw up from the floor when a girl walks by with little to nothing on?’. I have to agree with the girls there that men contradict themselves sometimes when describing their ideal woman. I decided to ask musician and winner of ‘Ride of the Year’ at last year’s VVIP Awards Niall Breslin on what he finds attractive on a woman, he said “I really don’t mind what a girl wears once she wears it with confidence and it has a little bit of self expression and most importantly once uggs or pyjama bottoms are not involved in any way”. Minus the fact that Uggs and pyjama bottoms play a huge role in my weekends, I strongly agree that confidence is the most attractive quality a man or woman can have.
Enough about dressing to impress the men, I believe that second to dressing for themselves, women dress for women. There’s no better feeling than when you meet up with your friends casually sporting your brand new Michael Korrs bag and they all gush over if and tell you how fabulous it is. Women are also much tougher critics when it comes to impressing them with an outfit. Although a man could look you up and down in your dress and heels and think you have a fine set of pins, a woman could look at you and think ‘didn’t she wear that dress last weekend? Her shoes don’t really go with the outfit and if I was her I wouldn’t have left the house without a pair of spanks…’ Ouch!
Photography by Kip Carroll – http://www.kipcarroll.com/
Styling by Liadan Hynes
Make-up by Paula Callan using Buff Cosmetics at Hession Hairdressing
Hair by Elaine Archbold at Brown Sugar
Shot at the Morgan Hotel Dublin