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Sydney, NSW, Australia
Photographer. Writer. 45yo Indo-Fijian Australian. Glam Feminist. Coconuts.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Dress Code

So... who do you dress for?

This was a question posed by Checks and Spots a few days ago.  Although not a new question, it's eternally an interesting question.  I answered -as I always do- with an essay.  Somedays my opinions forget I have a life... anyyywayyy...

It's not an easy question to answer (well, not for me) because it depends on many factors.  Definitely, trend concious females dress for other females.  Women notice each others detail and know what trends are 'in'.
I'm generalising but even though we say we dress for ourselves -and yes this IS true- I believe most style concious women dress for other women. 
Unless you're Ice T's wife then Lawd I have no idea. But then I did specify style.

Absolutely though, women dress for men as well (thankfully not like Ice-T's wife!)   This is when we 'get our sexy on'!!!   (I'm not a sexy dresser per se -sexy is an attitude not a garment- but when I'm going out at night with my husband, I tend to (v)amp it up more than usual!). 
Men generally like the total package.  They don't quite care about the whats and the whys, they're about the who...but surprisingly, the majority of [heterosexual] men actually do pick up their women's style sensibilities! 

eg. My husband and sons 'get' me.  Even if they don't always understand exactly what the hell kind of party my wardrobe is having on my body.   After all our years together, they accept and appreciate why [I think] this tartan baker-boy cap goes perfectly with the Franco-stripe top, striped heart necklace and red-trimmed leopard print shoes.  And do not ask me to describe my pants.  They defy all description.

I have to be honest...I do dress to be noticed!  The question is... by whom?   And I truly can't answer that.  I don't know.  eg. Today?  I dressed for the United Nations!  Had Flamenco this morning, discussed Hindi movies this evening, studied Mandarin this afternoon and dressed Franco-Scot in between. 

What I do know is that although I am always 'me', when it's purposeful, I dress for my different 'tribes' - girlfriends, guy friends, gay friends!  By this I mean that each 'tribe' gets a different 'version' of me.  Vintage, girlie, warrior, rockstar or diva, etc but always 'out there'. 
....and this all also depends on situation, location and whether it's day or night, work or play!  See? When you break it down... it's not easy to answer. 
Hell, I can't even explain what my style is other than its mood-dependent.  BUT my fabulous Tanvi has been able to explain my (and others) style and I am chuffed about it!!

What I do know is that I NEVER ever dress to fit in. My childhood friends can attest to this!  This is not an intentional thing.  I do try to just throw on a pair of jeans and a t-shirt (which by the way is a very sexy look) and just leave it at that but... I just can't!!  It goes against the bias of my being...
I dress comfortably, nothing I wear is high maintenance, but I don't compromise my code for conformity.  I am very happy, comfortable, exultant even being the only one in a ballgown in a sea of jeanerics... 

So...can you answer this question? Who do you dress for?.


Vintage Vixen said...

Oh, my dear Dusk, what a wonderful post and a truly stunning outfit. Like you I dressed to be noticed, I don't mind you comments be it men, women, straight, gay, young or old but as long as someone notices I've made a effort it's been worth it.
Jon loves and admires my dress sense. Sometimes I think he's better at choosing things for me than I am, he loves outrageous clothes as much as I do.
Wasn't Tanvi's post wonderful? She's so eloquent. xxx

bollywoodstylediaries said...

Are those culottes? do like ur hat and shirt combo..

so who do I dress for? hmmm, It depends a lot on my mood..If I had a long day at office and I am tired, then i go for the most comfortable outfit and swap my lenses for eye-glasses..I think, I dress up for "me' most of the time. I have to like what I see in the mirror, everything else is secondary. I am over-dressed for most occasions which is fine with me:-) I dont dress for attention or to stand out. I do dress for other women if I am meeting my GFs becoz only they can appreciate my experiments..And I have gone to my BFF's houses in the evening in my PJs becoz I wanted to chill..So 99% of the time I dress for myself according to my mood...

All these has changed since i started blogging..Since my friends know that I do a fashion blog, every time I meet them, they want to look/decode my outfit - they somehow expect me to always look like SJP + Olsens + Alexa Chung + Kate Moss!!! So just to get them off my back, I wear jeans/yoga pants and the most boring t-shirt, and tie my hair:-)

Vintage Obsession said...

When am i seeing these pants in your recycling list ??:-) they are 3/4th's is it ?? bloody cool :) i love the whole outfit and the pictures woowww :)

You study Mandarin ?Oh thats such a difficult language , i was studying Spanish it took me a while to a hang of the language yet to start the level 2 of the course though.

P.S i love all the attention i get ,now its become addictive , i don't go to the local market with out wearing something fancy now :)

Hippie Holly said...

First up love the red and black and the mixing of print, you do it fabulously as always :) Ah I dress for me, always have and always will.

Prutha said...

i loveeeeeeeeeee thoseeeeeeeeeee pantsss... where can i find one for myself?

love this look a lot... u know how i feel about leopard print right?

Leah said...

Hmmmm... I dress for myself. It kinda depends on the mood I have for the day. But I'm mostly in my relaxed mode so that explains my always casual look. Honestly, I am one person who doesn't dress for men. I hate it when men look and stare at me so I chose to dress in a way that men would not appreciate.

I love this look... you made red so fun. xoxo

Aria said...

Lately I have been dressing for my "inner child"... you know the one who at 6 years old was Not allowed to wear her tutu to school.
It seems some how my perception has changed, instead of waking up and thinking "what am I going to wear?....."
Now I think "if Today is the Last Day what do I want to wear?"

I recommend trying it :) tomorrow when you wake up ask yourself....... if Today is the Last Day what do I want to wear?

Tanvi said...

Oh My! That first picture is what I would call - Perfection! I have been ogling at it for hours now. on Kidding. I saw the post, read it ... went away and came back .. Phew! Alright so I love everything about this outfit. One of my fav. so far.

Who do I dress for? Like you said sometimes for myself, sometimes for the girls, and sometimes for my husband.

Just like Smrithi, I am loving the attention I get from all, thus I dress-up even to throw the garbage out! [sue me!] ;)

P.S. I am glad you are pleased with my humble fashion analysis. There is no doubt - You Rock! Unanimous Vote!

Dusk said...

Hola queridas... I have added to this post just because I thought the essay wasn't long enough... !!

Brevity is not my forte. But I wanted to clarify further.


@ Vix - yes I trust my husband with choices too! our men KNOW us. Strange but true and I know it happens to you, it's possible to make people happy with what you're wearing.

@ Sonali, VO and Prutha - yes they're culottes but... not really! They're 3/4 pants that have a thinner legged 'under layer', the top layer is strategically slashed and has drawstrings on the sides.
Click on the first photo for a large view. It's not a good pic, I have had to lighten it a lot so the details can be seen.

@ Sonali - hahahahahahahaha!!!! at your 2nd paragraph! you're wicked!!!

@ Sassy - funnily enough hon, I was going to recycle this after wearing and washing it this time! Stay tuned!
...I love languages. I study Mandarin and Cantonese. Aus has a huge Chinese population.

...hahahahaha at your market comment!

@ Holly - hi hon, yes of course. It's why I feel a bit sorry for famous women. Unfortunately they may want to dress for themselves but... countless sites and blogs beg to differ!!!

@ Prutha - oh yes I know! AND I'm about to sell these pants. they're by an Australian designer.

@ Leah - hello honey! I kinda think it doesn't matter what you wear.... men will look at you anyway!!!

... the only man I dress sexily for is my husband BUT I do dress for 2 of my best friends who are gay. They're 'straight' gay men, not 'queens' but they do like my over the top ensembles!
I also have 2 very close straight guy friends and they love my sense of style but although nothing has ever been discussed, I know that one likes my rockstar & seventies looks and the other likes boho flowing!

[PLEASE UNDERSTAND.... this is NOT about pleasing anyone else other than myself. My dressing for my 'tribes' is still simply about me. If I was to dress for their personalities and personal preferences... well, in many cases I would be conservative or classic elegant or casual and always in jeans!!
It's about willingly fulfilling an aesthetic vicarious expectation. hahahahahahahaha!!!!

@ Aria - hello gorgeous! Oh I love your inner child dressing... to me you're Peta Pan ;) and yes, I pretty much think that way but subconciously!

Kahani said...

Let's hope this comment comes through. Blogger hates me lately Dusk dear.

This post puts me in mind of a quote, "Women dress for themselves... and other women. If we dressed for men, we'd just go around naked." ;)

I dress depending on my moods. Do I feel pretty or edgy? Do I want to be comforted or cheered up by my clothing? In this regard I pity men. I really do. They don't have this avenue for self expression unless they're very comfortable with their sexuality. Italian men are, that's why they're so sexy. ;)

Absolutely ADORE the first shot. Such style!

Tamanna A. Shaikh said...

Wow. Well done, well written. It definitely is an interesting question and I think I'd like to do a post on it! :) But oh well! For a quick short answer I'll say: I dress to look and feel good and confident. I should make a neat impression on whoever I come across. They shouldn't think of me as shabby. So yes, I dress for others and truly, I think everyone who dresses well, dresses for others too. It's just that you pick what you like to make others like you! Of course, factors like mood, occasion, climate are important contributors in decision-making. :) More on this later!

Meanwhile, I love the striped tee and the cap! Lovely!

And more than all this superficial stuff, I m really liking you more day by day as I'm getting to know you more. You're witty. You're smart. I admire that. :)

jemina said...

What FUN outfit, I'd say I dress for myself :)), and how amazing it is to have a Mommy like you, anyway, what I'd like to say is that I think your inner light shines, so you will just shine despite the attire, it's truly been an honour knowing you babe :)), PS: my children are 10 ( the boy) and 6 (the girl), and they and hubby are so used to mommy dressing crazy :)) ha ha ha, Sending LOVE and HUGS your way dear, J, xoxo

Vibhuti B said...

WOW Dusk,
Another exquisite post and you look as red hot as ur tee...In all d pix..
Nowadays everytime I dress I thnk of u and try to rate myself as per your style quotient.
These pants youwear almost look like the Dhoti pants but one notch much hotter these..:D
Lovelovelove your style once again!


Am so thrilled you passed this question on...have loved reading what your thoughts...and everyone elses on your blog.
You have a way with know that, right?!

Leia said...

It's a very hard question to answer, for sure. Firstly, I dress for the weather. That is always the first thing in my mind when I'm getting dressed - I don't ever want to be too cold or too hot or uncomfortable in any way. Secondly, I grew up feeling very 'fuddy duddy' and had a long unattractive stage when I was in high school, and every time I looked in the mirror I didn't like what I saw, and I would hide when a camera came out. So, I want to be able to look at myself in a mirror and feel good about myself; I don't want to be scared when I see a camera (although I still am! fashion blogging has helped, though). So I suppose this means I dress for myself: I want myself to be comfortable and confident... and to be perfectly honest I don't really notice if other women/men are noticing what I wear, because I live in my own little universe, haha!


Katie said...

What a great outfit!

Fashion, Art and other fancies said...

Thought-provoking post - You never cease to amaze my senses, dear!
In answer to the question above: I dress for the woman, girl, child, vintage lover, rock chic, the classical lady, the French maid and the antiquated young girl in me;-)

suruchi said...

Hey...I loooooooooooooUve the pics...
And I love what you have written here!
Straight n in the face....
This is how I conforming...
Just me...
And yes, that’s just the way we love u best...
Hugs n muwaah:-)

BriGt said...

woww these are old posts...but only discovering them now and so nice to read and know a little bit more about you :)...
You look gorgeous and whatever you will dress and for whomever... looks great !! Got it ? flaunt it ! :)
for my part... although i'd looove to go wild on dressing... i mostly am discret ...(due to ... my weight i couldn't lose after my kids :(

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