I Used To Dress Up To Get Guys’ Attention But Now I Dress For Myself—And It’s Glorious

What self-respecting gal doesn’t love dressing to impress every now and then? Although no slave to fashion or face base, I’m equally no stranger to putting effort into my appearance. Only recently, I’ve started asking myself who all this effort is actually for. Am I really dressing for me or have I fallen foul of what I think society wants me to look like? Having decided that I should be dressing purely to please myself, it’s amazing how much my style has changed.

  1. Can we take a moment to appreciate how much more comfortable men’s clothes are? Women are onto a loser pretty much from the beginning when you compare what’s available to us compared to men. Sure, we have so many opportunities to experiment with different trends and try out fun, quirky outfits, but how many of those have been designed with comfort in mind? Playsuits are all fun and games until you desperately need to pee and have to virtually strip naked in a public toilet. Yet, while we struggle on in the name of fashion, men are allowed to keep it simple in their t-shirt and jeans.
  2. Nipped in waists are out, baggy sweaters are in. When the high-waisted trend hit the shops, I couldn’t believe my luck. Finally, pants that didn’t fall down every two minutes that would help me sculpt an hourglass figure! There’s just one snag—tiny-waisted women’s clothes seem to have been designed with people who don’t eat in mind. The minute I indulge in carbs (which I’m inclined to do at least three times a day), these bad boys become the pants from hell. Cue leggings and baggy sweaters as my new staple attire.
  3. If it has a moderately offensive slogan, I’ll wear it. I feel like I’m heading back to my teen years, where every new day brought with it an opportunity to stick a finger up to the man. Cashmere jumpers and delicate two-pieces are gathering dust at the back of my wardrobe—these days I’m only interested in clothes that make a statement.
  4. I never, EVER wear heels. Elegant, yes, leg-slimming, yes, but until someone actually uses the word comfortable to describe a pair of heels, I’ll be steering well clear. As far as I’m concerned, high heels are a symptom of our need to fit the image men prescribe us. The sooner we turn our noses up and collectively decide to don a pair of sliders, the happier humanity will be.
  5. Dr. Marten is the only man whose fashion advice I’ll take. Of course, I needed at least one ridiculously pricey shoe habit to keep me entertained when online shopping. The solution? Dr. Martens. Comfortable, durable, and seriously badass, I feel like I could take on anything when wearing these shoes. Catch me stomping around taking action rather than tottering after men in a pair of Louboutins.
  6. I’ve ditched kissable lips to embrace my inner punk. Ladies, if you’re choosing your lipstick shade based on percentage likelihood of being kissed, you need to reassess your priorities. I used to shy away from bold shades in case they’d leave an unsightly smudge on my boyfriend, or even (shock horror) draw too much attention to me. Thank goodness a friend gifted me a dark brown lipstick that I just HAD to try—I’ve never gone back to pale shades since.
  7. Push up bra? Nah. Now, I’ll admit that I don’t, er, hang low 24/7, mainly because for me the experience isn’t all that comfortable. That said, gone are the days when I’d choose a bra based on how squeezable it would make my boobs look. The buzzword when I shop now? You’ve guessed it, comfort. Give me a t-shirt bra in a sensible neutral shade any day of the week.
  8. Activewear is also lazy wear. I used to get so embarrassed if I was seen out in my activewear when not breaking a sweat at the gym. Now, I would basically never be seen at all if I didn’t break this rule now and again. It may not be date-worthy, but activewear is freeing AF, and far better suited to lounging around the house than a scruffy pair of jeans. Bring on the latex revolution.
  9. I own three different dungarees and they’re the most worn things in my wardrobe. A good friend once described my style as children’s TV presenter meets primary school teacher, and the proof is in how many pairs of dungarees I own. Baggy and shapeless they may be, but trust me, once you’ve tried one, you’ll never feel the same in a pair of fitted trousers again. Men may not see the appeal, but I do, and that’s all that matters to me.
  10. I feel so much more myself now that I dress to please me. It’s amazing how easy it is to turn your back on your personal style to fit with what you think will please others. When I decided I didn’t care about what men thought about my look, I suddenly felt free to try out alternatives that suited me. Dark lippy and baggy clothes, I’ll never let a man come between us again.
Isobel is a freelance blogger and writer for hire specialising in content for millennials who haven't quite got it together yet (i.e. herself). When not glued to her laptop, she enjoys eating cheese, doing yoga and spending time with family and friends.