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Why Do I Always Dress To Impress? Who Am I Impressing?

My after-school schedule looks something like this: practice (cheer or track, depending on the season), homework, shower, dinner, pick out tomorrow’s outfit, and then whatever free time I have left before bed usually is spent watching Sex and the City or catching up on New Girl.

I also need to highlight one activity in the middle of my busy schedule – figuring out what I’ll be wearing the next day. And not only do I put aside major time for it, I actually put it ahead of my only time for relaxation. Clearly, what I wear is pretty important to me. I literally cannot sleep until I know what I’m wearing the next day (I don’t trust my morning self to do a decent job of picking out my clothes).

Lately I have been wondering, “Why am I putting all this effort into my choice of outfits?” Of course, I’d like to think that my desire to look great is for no one but me. But to be honest, I doubt I’d put this much time into how my outfit looks if I was home-schooled or attended an all-girls school.

So who am I really using my clothes to impress?

Recently my friends and I were at our high school basketball game when we noticed that a group of our guy friends suddenly turned around and cringed at a girl walking into the stands. We couldn’t figure out what was wrong with her. But then the guys explained that high-wasted pants are “the most unattractive thing on a girl.”

I sat down and immediately started to rethink the purchase of my baby pink high-wasted skinny jeans. So why am I still very excited to wear my new skinnies this spring? And why did my friends and I still purchase high-wasted denim shorts for the summer? We know that that the guys don’t find them attractive. In fact, our outfits may actually be scaring off the boys.

I had assumed that I was trying to look attractive for the boys. If that is not true, then who is it that I am really dressing for? Girls seem to be the only ones in love with this look, at least according to Urban Outfitters and just about every picture on Tumblr.

So if dressing trendy isn’t attractive to the ones we’re trying to attract, then who is it exactly that we’re really trying to impress?

Rachel Baker is a junior in high school who writes about everything from the college search to learning to drive.

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