Ah, the land of our beauty choices. So full of myths and clichés, and sayings that no one understands anymore, but yet we all repeat them over and over again. Since I have already taken part in the never-ending Is beauty pain? discussion and fallen down into a Why women wear pink? trap, I thought it may be the right time to tackle the last of the big three: why do we tend to pick looks over comfort so terribly often?
My Honour, I am guilty. Oh so guilty. There is no point denying it. Throughout my whole life I have put my comfort above almost everything else – just ask my boyfriend, he probably has a few great tales to tell. But I betray my BFF, comfort over and over again as soon as the word fashion buzzes in either of my ears.
I cannot help it. I have tried but it simply doesn’t work.
And since this dilemma actually concerns my everyday life, I have given it quite a lot of thought. There are so many arguments I have used against myself and all of them, so far, have failed. For a very very very long time I could not find a single rational explanation as to why I would always pick looks over comfort in picking any item of clothing I would ever buy, yet I would do it over and over again. I was losing this battle and at the same time getting extremely frustrating with how dumb I was not to be able to break this ridiculous habit.
And then I realized – what if by choosing looks I am still choosing comfort? I know, I know, it sounds silly. Just hear me out.
I guess there is only one question – and it is not why we pick looks over comfort. Well, not exactly. The easier way to solve our dilemma takes a slightly less direct route.
What does choosing looks make me feel like?
There is no reason to kid ourselves – the majority of our decisions are based on the way their consequences would make us feel. Sure, we like to believe that we are not selfish creatures and we see some greater good in the world; but deep inside we are programmed to look out for ourselves. Not at all cost, of course, and not all the time, but one of our greatest motivations will always be our own well being – even if it comes from an unusual source.
So instead of focusing so much on the irrational, I chose to ask myself: how does choosing looks over comfort affect my well-being? Does it improve the way I feel or is the discomfort so high that I can no longer enjoy whatever ridiculous item of clothing I have picked up already?
Looks give me confidence – and make me happy
Ok, that may be the single most, ahem, shallow thing I have said so far, but I am ready to own it: wearing crazy, uncomfortable stuff does actually make me happy.
It boosts my confidence in a way that not even my best tricks can. It makes me feel like I can achieve anything. It lifts me from the mundane, everyday world I am stuck in and plops me right into the land of possibilities.
This, of course, is a bit of an exaggeration – only a bit, but still. Yet even when fancy clothes do not miraculously solve all my problems, they do impact a very important part of my life: my psychological comfort.
I called it shallow, as lots of people do, though if I am perfectly honest, I think it is a perfectly reasonable and normal reaction no one should feel ashamed of.
Being a human being, I like to belong – and if I do not belong, if I feel like an outcast and therefore I can get miserable about this. If I go to a very fancy restaurant wearing an old, patchy tracksuit, no matter how good the food and company could be, I’ll probably spend the entire evening worrying about it. Sometimes I like to shine too, to be the centre of attention, and that is fine too.
Sometimes uncomfortable clothes let me achieve just that.
It is all about a healthy balance after all
Maybe then, instead of wondering why we pick looks over comfort, we should ask ourselves: in a given situation am I ready to sacrifice some physical comfort to get a bit of a psychological boost?
At the end of the day it is not a matter of choosing one above the other and more of a little trade off.
There is a very delicate balance between things that are physically or psychologically uncomfortable. I feel much more confident and psychologically comfortable wearing high heels. But there always come a point when the physical pain is just too much – and I can no longer claim any of the benefits of this weird mental boost. All the good that it created is gone and all that prevails is discomfort.
Of course in an ideal world we would always go for maximum personal comfort; but life isn’t that simple, is it? And that’s why we pick and choose and trade and pull little tricks here and there.
Because in the end comfort and looks are two sides of the same coin.
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