Yesterday was the Agents’ last in-person class through their charter school, so I spent that part of that time getting some maintenance. I now have newly cut hair, brightly painted toenails, and freshly waxed eyebrows.

When I leave the house, I put on makeup {usually just foundation and powder and lipstick}, brush my hair {it’s long and thick and doesn’t really do much}, and put on “nice” clothes {i.e., something I wouldn’t nap or exercise in}. 

In warmer weather I wear a lot of dresses and/or skirts, and I shave my legs regularly. {You needed to know that, right?}

I do these things for me. Not because other people might see me. Not because I care what strangers judge me on. I do them simply because I like the way I feel when I do.

If you identify as a woman—which I’m assuming is true for most folks reading this—think about how many times in your life someone has given you one of the following contradictory messages:

No need to get all fixed up to do {fill in the blank with any activity outside of the house}! It’s not like you’re going to see anyone you know! No one will care if your {hair isn’t done, makeup isn’t on, clothes don’t match}! It’s a {fill in the blank with any random event} not a fashion show! 

Are you going out looking like that? What if you see {literally any other human being} while you’re there? Why don’t you {fix your hair, put on some makeup, wear nicer clothes}? Don’t you care who sees you like that? You should at least look presentable! 

So, which one is it? Am I supposed to look a certain agreed upon appropriate way when I go out? Or am I not supposed to care?

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  1. Generally, your clothes should not matter to other, unless there is something very inappropriate or unsafe about them – a dress to go skiing, pjs for a wedding. I would say „dress for yourself,“ but that does‘t solve the conundrum of „dress for the job you want, not the one you have,“ for example. In general, it is better to be overdressed than underdressed.

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