Myth: A woman needs to dress
to please the men in her life.
Truth: A woman needs to dress for herself. Last week I wrote that there’s nothing unhealthy about respecting the preferences of the men in your life, especially your husband. I stand by that. However, if you’re so busy dressing only to please the men, you’re not necessarily showing him the real you and that’s a disservice both to him and to yourself.
From me, you get the truth.
Whether you like it or not, your appearance makes a statement about who you are. And no matter what, you always want to make the correct statement. The correct statement is the one that you genuinely want to make about yourself. I don’t know a woman who does not want to make the statement of “I’m healthy and I take good care of myself.” But you likely want to add to that depending on the situation and on your personality. If you’re at a job interview, you want to make the statement of “I’m the best candidate for this job.” If you’re on a shidduch date, you want to make the statement of “I’m a mature, caring woman who is ready for marriage and family.” No matter the situation, you may want your appearance to say “I’m creative,” or “I’m energetic,” or “I prefer playing basketball than shopping for clothes” (yes, that’s a legitimate style statement).
True tzniut is about making sure that the external trappings are an accurate reflection of who you really are. Of course that means that your clothes have to fit and flatter you. After all, you are uniquely beautiful. No woman is innately ugly or unattractive.
First, you must make sure that all of your clothes fit you and flatter your unique body. When an item fits you it falls the way it should and hits your body where it’s designed to hit. Plus, all design details lay flat with no pulling or bunching. When an item flatters you, the shape, design, and color all work together to make you appear healthy, active and vital. Any items that don’t flatter must go; they’re just wasting valuable space in your wardrobe. Any items that do flatter but just don’t fit properly need to be fixed. Any items that work otherwise but need cleaning need to be washed.
Second, take a good look at each item and think of what it says about you. This is the most subjective part of the whole thing because it’s mostly about how you see it, but there it is. If it says something good that you want to say about yourself, then that’s good. Maybe that navy blazer says “I’m smart and classy.” Maybe that purple dress says “I’m feminine.” Maybe that fun print skirt says “I’m creative.” Maybe that black top says “I’m edgy.” Every item should say something about you that you want said. If there are items that flatter your body but that don’t say anything about you that you like, then you need to get rid of them.
Having said all of that, I must emphasize that no matter how much you think an item might suit your style, be warned that if it doesn’t fit and flatter you, it won’t say anything good about you. But when it comes to items that do otherwise fit and flatter, you do need to make sure they’re saying what you want said.
In general, you need to make sure you’re presenting the real you. And you must never sacrifice your style for anyone else. That would be a disservice to everyone. There’s only one you in the world and we need that.