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Mace & Crown | December 12, 2017

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Killing the Fashion Myth: Self-Image Versus Vanity

Shana Blue | Contributing Writer

Image can be defined in several ways. Some will say it’s your own identity, your outer appearance or even an outer representation of yourself. Glance at a dictionary and you’ll find image as a noun or a verb, meaning “a physical likeness or representation of a person.” Another definition is “a general or public perception of form or appearance.” Ponder that, as I consider one of the most common myths in regards to fashion.

Many people outside the fashion world believe fashion’s emphasis on image is destructive against self-image and often times, only vain. These thoughts I can’t fathom. Image and self-image are one in the same; neither should have a negative connotation. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Positive self-image and confidence is beauty.

In my eyes, fashion is kind of like eating a burger. You get the burger fresh off the grill and then enhance it to your liking. Once you have the condiments on it, you have a complete burger to satisfy your taste. This is the same with fashion and image. You’re taking what is already there and embracing it to satisfy as well as represent you. If no one cared about image then why would there be so many varieties of cars, houses and everything else? If image weren’t important or negative, then fashion, cosmetology services and plastic surgery wouldn’t be growing, million dollar industries. Everyone cares. It’s not just us fashionistas.

Is caring about your image really “vain” after all? My view is no. Happy self-image equals happy humans. Self-image is good. When you get dressed in the morning, with everything you put on your body, you’re allowing people to know a certain part of you when you step out. This can enhance confidence in striking up interest and conversation. If you feel good, other people feel good around you.

Image also plays into socializing as a reflection or representation. It can also determine your life and success. At work, for example, you want people to take you seriously. Would you wear pajamas to work and expect to get work done or get people to listen? Not really. Yet, I will admit there are extremes and limits I do not agree with. I’m not telling you to go out and get your make up tattooed on or get plastic surgery to look “perfect,” whatever that may be. What I am saying is image actually is everything regardless of what people say.

Self-image is overall one of the most important things in humanity. Just like fashion, we are actually considering it even when we think we’re not. From your wardrobe to your car, image plays a part regardless of who you are. The next time someone tells you, “Fashion and appearance isn’t that serious, it’s just vain,” ask them, “Is that why you wear a suit to church or do you just enjoy being layered and hot?”