If anyone has spent at least five minutes with me, they know that I am a huge movie snob. I can watch seven movies a day back-to-back with no complaints because I simply love immersing myself into the world of cinema–no matter how classic, no matter how tacky.
Where my list of favorites can go on for dozens of pages, one of my favorite openings to any movie is Pixar's WALL-E. The words of Michael Crawford and Barbara Streisand's "Put On Your Sunday Clothes" from the 1969 version of "Hello, Dolly" ring true to my ears:
"Dressed like a dream your spirits seem to turn about. That Sunday shine is a certain sign that you feel as fine as you look."
Rest aside for other reasons why I enjoy a movie full of rusty robots, classic romance and a politically charged stance on environmentalism, this opening song speaks such a wonderful sentiment: putting on your best clothes makes your self-esteem soar.
How we define "best" in this case I think is crucial. Someone's "best" clothes are not, and should not, be defined by expense or even by trend. An individuals "best" clothing, I've found, is showcased through pure style and individuality.
I find myself at times following popular trends by trying to buy designer brands or digging through Amazon to find knock-off fashions I see at parties or on social media, but I then find myself asking how satisfied am I by shopping through this method. Is this really me? Does this even fit my body type? Did I really just spend $200 on something just so I could look like someone else? That last question especially gets me.
Whether you care about what you wear or not, clothes have such a powerful impact on how we communicate with one another and express ourselves. This is not to be confused with the idea that appearances outweigh intelligence, kindness and all other honorable attributes. The idea that taking pride in what you wear, though, is something that anyone can do.
Where for me it can be the power of a high-waisted pleated skirt and a bold red lip, to someone else, a ripped jean jacket and a vintage pair of sneakers can achieve that same feeling. A feeling that makes a statement whenever you walk into a room – that special confidence that uplifts you.
As I've struggled in college to find groups and clubs that really fit me, I've come to find comfort in finding my authenticity in the clothes I wear. For someone who cares a great deal what others think, my fashion tastes are the one area where I only listen to one voice–my own.
I'm the type of person who actually likes dressing up for class. It's completely unnecessary, and a lot of girls my age choose not to as the rave for the Nike shorts, Chacos, and baggy T-shirt ensemble has risen to acclaim. I get it, it's comfortable – it's just not for me.
For me, taking the time to create a look doesn't make me self-centered or materialistic, it's one of the very few things that I find my sense of self. By getting excited over a vintage dress, or a classic pump, I'm able to embody a little piece of me into an article of clothing. That act alone of finding myself in clothes has made my self-esteem skyrocket.
Choosing to focus on my style has given me the confidence to believe in not only my beauty tastes but myself as well. Even when it appears that I overdress, or get a detesting glare from whoever walks by, I could care less. By daring to be different in my clothing choices, I'm daring to be myself in a world that gears me toward buying Kylie Jenner lip kits and Sheila Fajl earrings.
My message is simple: make your style authentic. Be honest in the choices you make when shopping and don't be afraid to go against the grain of what's "in." It's totally fine to keep up with what's in trend if it makes you happy, but only when it makes you happy. Don't sacrifice your opportunity to convey who you are by chasing somebody else's tastes. You never know, putting on your Sunday clothes may actually make the difference.