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We all dress up for a variety of activities and reasons. Some have a dress code at work. Many of us go for comfortable clothes when we are relaxing on a weekend where we just want to kick back and chill out. We may choose to put on sleeveless shirts during summer and bundle up in scarfs and wool hats when it’s cold outside.

Many times, how we present ourselves to others may be dictated by our environment, but we also have a significant amount of personal choice in what we wear and what those selections mean for us. It can be much more than simply putting on some random combination of clothes. These choices may have a significant impact on us emotionally or socially as well.

There are a variety of terms that can describe what we wear to embellish our outward appearance, and I don’t think it matters much which one you use. Maybe it is important to consider the purpose of how you want to present yourself before choosing what word to use. “Outfit” sounds like something your mother would use to describe what you would wear to church or Macy’s on a Saturday afternoon shopping trip. The word “Getup” may seem amusing, since it can be used in a critical or confused way, especially when saying something like, “look at their getup.”

The term “costume” may seem like we are putting on a false image by dressing up as something that we are not. In environments where the fantasy element is celebrated, such as comic conventions, people can create fictitious presentations of themselves. In the real world, some people may also create an impression of themselves to cover up parts of them that they may feel insecure or embarrassed about. They may also simply just like wearing what makes them feel awesome.

Finding that perfect outfit can feel elusive and may take multiple attempts to create the magical combination. At the end of the process, you may have pulled out many articles of clothing from closets and drawers, leaving them strewn across the bed or piled on the floor.

This explosion of creative coordination may produce that outfit that makes you feel amazing about the way you look, give you an increased sense of confidence, and motivate you to get excited about getting out into the world to show yourself off. It’s all about getting fired up about what you choose to wear and making the selections that support your own personal confidence.

Certain subcultures may also come with a pre-existing set of fashion standards. It doesn’t matter if you are into being preppy, kinky, spooky, country, or clubby. There are often common threads between what many people in these communities choose to wear, but be careful about needing to feel that you must play by particular style rules. Hopefully, you have selected clothes that make you feel fantastic.

Sometimes the selection of our outfit may be motivated by a desire to fit in and not stand out in the crowd. Other times it is about being as loud as possible to steal the spotlight. It is important to determine what your overall purpose is when choosing how you will present yourself in a public place. Take some time to figure out what you want your clothes to say about you to other people. Your appearance is most likely the first thing people will notice, and they will use these impressions to begin making assessments about you.

Unless you’re a vampire who does not cast a reflection, you can stand in front of a mirror, review your appearance, and make personal judgements about how you look. It is important to consider who will be potentially interacting with us. If you are preparing for a job interview or a court appearance, you may want to ensure that you are dressed in a manner that expresses confidence, integrity, and shows a respect for the process you are about to engage in.

When going out for a night on the town, you also want to show confidence, but there may be additional expressions of a playful attitude, sexiness, or being on the prowl that you want to also include in your look. Your appearance can give onlookers some important information about you and increase your chances of getting the outcomes you want. Put some time and effort into your choices.