From selling the yoga pants/leggings at a local art fair I was reminded how much women are self conscious about their bodies. What surprised me was the number of “older” women who would stop by my stand to “ooh and ahh” at the pants only to follow that with “well if only I were younger” or “who wants to see an old woman like me in leggings?” I was not sure how to respond because these were not reactions I expected. When I created the yoga pants/leggings, age was not something I had thought about, I wanted to create pants that would make all the people who wear them feel good about themselves. Once the shock value of the statements wore off I started to counter this narrative in the subsequent women.
It was a bit disheartening to bear witness to these women’s ideas that their age determined what they perceive they can and cannot wear; regardless of what their feelings are about an item of clothing. I did not manage to convince any of the women that fashion, bright colors, and patterns were not and should not be limited by age but I am hopeful that the more this narrative is reinforced, the more confident women will be to armor themselves in bold clothing. In order to ship the narrative, we need to be active participant in the shift, so go on, get all the women in your life, especially the older ones, some bright, colorful and beautiful yoga leggings/pants!
Pictured above is one of our beautiful and older customers sporting our yoga pants/leggings!
It’s application season and thus I am once again plagued with the question of whether I should go for the expected blue, black, or gray suits or be myself and wear things that include more than one pattern or color palette. There is nothing wrong with going the traditional route but for me it feels very suffocating and almost like an erasure of my identity. There is no doubt a potential risk of rejection or dislike of a person who dares to dress outside of the expectations, but I do not think it’s a zero-sum loss.
I think there is a sense of empowerment in dressing in a way that is both fitting for the situation and represents who you are. If we repeat the same process over and over of dressing in ways that do not reflect anything about who we are, the system never changes. The system is thus never asked to expand its imaginary of what is expected. So I say, no blue suiting or at least not all the time.
Now while I think we should challenge the system in how we dress, I would still say do it in ways that will not be completely detrimental to your chances of landing the acceptance. Here are the ways I have challenged the system with my clothing choices:
The funny thing is every time I have worn my matte red heels I have had positive comments from my women interviewers. One of my interviewers noted, years later, how stylish and confident I had looked on interview day.
While I agree somewhat with the idea that one should stand out based on what they say and not what they are wearing, but because we live in a very visual society I think it is fair and probably important to also dress in ways that represent you. I feel very un-confident when I am not clothed in ways that feel authentic to me and so a big part of wearing things beyond the expected black/blue/gray is about making myself feel confident and eliminate the element of “feeling out of myself” or “caricature” from my worries and free up some mind space to give the very best interview I can.
What are your thoughts on choosing the “right” outfit for interviews? Will you blue suit or color suit? What shapes the suit you wear?