Paying attention to how we look - as in clothes, fashion, etc - has gotten a bad rap. Dressing "up" doesn't have to be about vanity or superficiality or spending a lot of money. It can be about being thoughtful; about thinking about how your appearance affects others and your surroundings. It can be about creating a climate for good mental health - yours and those around you.
When I look around my town - say the local Starbucks or the line I'm in at the grocery store - a whole lot of people look like they just got out of bed ... or worse. They might be in pajamas, in loose baggy pants, in worn or stained shirts and jackets - an assortment of mismatched clothes that just don't look good, plain and simple. And it's apparent that these clothes choices are for the most part deliberate. People took their time, energy, and money to look so bad.
I can only think it's a mental health thing: people feeling bad about themselves; people unable to muster enough emotional energy and consideration to dress in a way that shows respect for themselves and others; people being delusional or caught up in an antisocial lifestyle or state of mind.
We don't have to be dressed up and fancy to rise to the occasion of the local coffee shop. But dressing like a slob has serious consequences for all of us. Through our unattractive, unkempt choices, people read the state of the world, the values of their community, and it looks ugly, sad, uninspiring, and artless.
Our clothing choices may be showing we don't care about trivial things like our bodies or how we're perceived. But what's really being conveyed is that we're losers - even when we might be the kindest, smartest apples on the tree. We're losers because we've lost a belief in our hidden beauty, our deep sense of pride and respect, our love of fun and joy, our hope for peace and everyday calmness in our lives, our desire to make the world a better place and to connect humbly and simply with others ... one small fashion statement at a time.
OK, I'm kidding here a bit. But dressing up is about creating a space in the world that will help the world feel and look a little better, not because it includes bling or glitter or labels of big designers but because it, in a small, "big" way, adds to the art in the world ... or could if it wasn't for the slob standing next to you ( - :
So here's to dressing "up" for arts sake. And for our ability - and arts ability - to make our planet a little more fun, more special, more beloved, more kind and courteous one small fashion statement at a time.