Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Fashionable Motivation and Motivating Fashions

A few days ago, a friend of mine sent me a text message.

"My roommate just said, 'if you dress mediocre, the world is your oyster.' Discuss."

My first response? "Wow. Wow. And Wow." My main point? If you dress mediocre, then you'll end up hunting and searching for treasure and inspiration and excitement with no guarantee of payoff. Not every oyster opens to a pearl. Some may look like authentic, freshwater pearls - but in reality are manufactured and not quite what they seem. Some oysters are too tough to open, and those mediocre dressers will simply give up. And some oysters are out of reach. If you look and act mediocre, you have to expect mediocre outcomes.

His roommate's argument? Basically that if you look 'average', you can go to any kind of bar. But if you look good - you can only go to nice bars.

My response again? Quite the contrary. Atmosphere is always alterable. You can wear a fabulous 3 piece suit to Chili's or your neighbourhood grill and fit in just fine based on your approach, attitude, and the way you carry yourself. And you can wear shorts and a rugby shirt to Morton's or Ruth's Chris or another higher end establishment if, again, you have the proper approach, attitude, and aura.

Most simply: If you let your clothes dictate where you can and cannot go, the world is not your oyster - but your prison.

And going back to the original statement about "being average lets you go to any type of bar" really made me think more about why we go to bars in the first place. You go to bars for entertainment, for socializing, for drinking, and for meeting people - whether potential mates, friends, or just random conversation. No one wants to be with average people. And for sure, no one wants to date or mate just an average lover.

After thinking about this brief message exchange, I started thinking about the importance of approach, attitude, and aura in many activities.

When I was little, my family and I would eat some pretty fabulous meals. At the end of the meal, when everyone was stuffed full of delicious foods and had engaged in stimulating, meaningful conversation, my Father would comment that this is the difference between eating and dining. Eating is a necessity. Dining might involve a bit more planning and resources, but is significantly more meaningful and enjoyable.

This same concept can be applied to fashion. There's a huge divide in dressing out of necessity and dressing with fashion and style. Uniforms are perfect for protecting yourself from danger, weather or work related elements, or because you're simply required to do so. But expressing your style through daily fashions brings vitality, colour, and texture. You've never seen Scott Schuman photograph a mundane, lacklustre ensemble; it wouldn't even catch his eye.

I'm not saying we should all go out and mimic the avant-garde trends of the latest runway show in Paris or Milano. First impressions are often the only chance we get in life. So put your best food forward. Live and act with purpose. Make the sidewalk your catwalk. And the world will truly be your oyster.

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