Why is the Way We Look to OTHERS More Important Than How We FEEL We Look?

Why is the Way We LOOK to Others More Important Than How We FEEL We Look

I have no idea how or why this idea popped in my head this week – I think it came to me in a flash of inspiration when I was idly watching or reading something online. Since WHEN did the way we appear to others become more important than the way we feel about how we look?

When eureka moments like that strike me, I tend to run to my phone (who am I kidding – as if my phone would EVER be running distance away from me… like every good blogger, it rarely leaves my grubby little Instagramming paws) and scribble it down in my Notes app.

Then it means I have something to babble on about on a Friday night for the Saturday Share post – aaaand (as they say) Bob’s your uncle. But I usually remember what event or article triggered my thoughts about a certain subject – not this time.

So we shall assume it came to me in an inspiring flash of rose gold and pink sparkly unicorn-delivered inspiration… isn’t that how all good bloggers start their day and get their material? No?!

Having said that, I have since scrolled down my notes and seen that I made a note of what made me think this after all. However, I enjoyed my unicorn flavour spiel just now, so in it stays.

Like the Ronnie Corbett telling stories from his chair sketches, I DIGRESS.


You must wear “what suits you”

Here’s the thing: Who says we have to wear what suits us (who says it suits us)? Why do we have to wear things that flatter us, or are “right” for our body shapes?

This week I’ve been editing photos for Monday’s #iwillwearwhatilike (how apt!) post, and I’m wearing something in colours that I’ve recently come to realise are not “my” colours. (See, I’ve completely remembered why I was thinking about this topic now).

From editing countless pictures of me for six years, I’ve come to realise that the colours I tend to wear the most are warm colours – orange-red, tangerine, peach, coral, mustard yellow, khaki, warm pinks, etc. I know for a fact that blue-pink lipsticks look somewhat dreadful on me, and I realised (not that long ago) that it was because warm-toned colours are more flattering to my skin tone. So I can wear red lipstick, but it must be coral-red or orangey-red.

So I’ve usually turned down offers to have my colours read (assessed?) because I can tell what I like from photos all too easily.

The big but is – I love them anyway. I love just about all colours. The only two colours I almost never wear are purple and cobalt blue, but even then I own a purple t-shirt and one of my favourite pairs of trousers are my bright blue carrot-shaped pants.

Why then do I have to only wear colours that suit me – what if I just really, really like them? And what if wearing those colours makes me happy? Will it offend others if my complexion isn’t quite as rosy as it could be if I were to choose, say, a warm peach or a sunshine yellow?

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In other words – why am I dressing solely for others (because once I’m out and about I can’t see me anymore). I’m just feeling happy in my not-right-for-me cobalt blue and cold pink. Who gives a stuff whether the colour “isn’t doing anything for my face”… I certainly don’t.

The same can be applied to shapes or silhouettes that aren’t supposed to be worn by people who have a certain shape: We are forever having it drummed into us that we MUST wear what flatters us. In other words, not a shapeless shift dress in a bold floral print with a hemline that stops at the widest part of your calf… oops. That’s not what’s recommended for my hourglass shape.


Those godforsaken style rules

If Style Rules are to be adhered to, I ‘should’ be dressing my hourglass shape in v-neck tops (not too voluminous) and pencil skirts. I shouldn’t be wearing dresses with a high neckline and ruffles, no siree. Guess what? I look, for want of a better expression, bloody DREADFUL in pencil skirts. They just don’t suit me at all – at least, I don’t think they suit me. They don’t suit my personality and I don’t feel like myself wearing them.

So if YOU don’t like wearing something because you don’t feel good in it, don’t wear it. And if you DO like something and want to wear it even though it’s not what you “should” be wearing for your colouring or your shape, stop and think to yourself:

Does this item/outfit make me happy? Am I comfortable wearing it?

Yes to both and that’s all that really matters – that way you feel is WAY more important than how you look to others. Come back on Monday for my Not My Colours outfit and tell me what you think… do I look happy wearing the colours?!

Do you throw caution to the wind and wear what you love, regardless of whether it’s the “right” colour or shape for you? Tell me in the comments!

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Why is the Way We LOOK to Others More Important Than How We FEEL We Look? | Not Dressed As Lamb



  1. 16 September 2017 / 10:14 am

    I love wearing things in red, green, purple and black (though not necessarily all together!). And if there was a colour I was never going to wear it was brown.

    However, ten years ago when I was living and working in Japan, my mum sent me over a couple of gorgeous Karen Millen dresses she'd bought in the sale. One was in dark brown and I can guarantee I'd never have tried it on in the shop. The other was a gorgeous rich brown silk with a cream pattern and it had a tie at the waist. A lot of Japanese people would compliment me when I wore it and they said it reminded them of a modern day kimono. Both dresses looked great when I teamed them with a chunky turquoise and silver necklace.

    I never thought brown was bright enough for me, but this time it did pay to experiment. And my mum was wise to buy them and send them all that way as there was no chance I'd send them back!

  2. 12 September 2017 / 4:11 pm

    Do you remember that awful programme What Not To Wear, and how mean Trinny and Susannah were to their victims? I loved that programme at the time and carefully digested everything they said and duly abided by their "rules". What a revelation it was to try high necked tops and all the other things I wasn't supposed to wear (according to my body shape) and realise that they did suit me AND I loved wearing them. I don't want to impose limits on myself when it comes to style. I love experimenting and having fun with clothes!

    Emma xxx

    • 16 September 2017 / 10:17 am

      Ewww, weren't they awful? I did see them dress a minor celebrity on that show once and thought they'd made her look better, to be honest. But that's not the point – it was up to the woman herself what she wore and felt good in, not me (or them!).

  3. 12 September 2017 / 12:57 pm

    I have been embracing this more and more lately with my body positive kick – I bought a red dress (UNHEARD of, red is so not my colour!) because I fell in love with it – to be fair it's a muted red I can just about get away with, but there was a time when I absolutely would not have gone for it. I have tried with mixed success to figure out my seasonal colour place, it can be quite confusing if you are a bit mutt-ish as I am skin tone and hair wise. I have also been trying to think less about making sure my body looks as thin as possible or whatever in what I wear, I am trying to flirt with exposing parts of my body I don't love like my arms and bum (not exposing the bum, that is to say not covering it with baggy clothes! 😉 I love how adventurous and creative you are with colour, I find it really inspiring! xo

  4. 12 September 2017 / 9:55 am

    I often wear things that my friends really don't like and I actually love that… it makes for a fun topic of conversation. But I do try and avoid things that don't 'suit' me – but not because I've read that certain things don't suit me, it's purely because of how they make me feel. In fact, some days a particular outfit will make me feel fat and frumpy and on another occasion it'll make me feel a million dollars. I blame hormones 😉
    Suzy xx
    Suzy Turner at Yogadocious

  5. 11 September 2017 / 5:35 am

    I'm a little bit late joining the linkup party, dearest Catherine…but I read your post on Saturday morning and haven't stopped thinking about it since!! I ABSOLUTELY think it's ridiculous to worry about others' ideas regarding what supposedly "flatters" us!! The way we FEEL in our outfits is waaay more important…and is exactly what personal style should be all about. I also often prefer wearing silhouettes that aren't considered the "right" ones for my shape; I think it's total crap to categorize women's figures like the contents of a fruitbowl and then dress accordingly!! How about categories like "fearless" and "original" instead?? XOXO


  6. 10 September 2017 / 10:57 pm

    Yes, I think it's about liking what we wear and feeling good in it. I personally never feel good, and I'm sure I also don't look my best, in clothes that don't feel right to me even though they may be flattering in theory.

    I hope you had a great weekend!

  7. 9 September 2017 / 2:27 pm

    OMG. I just got a glance at those emoji's I added from my iPhone! They are supposed to be smiles and they look like little monsters! Now THAT is a horrific sight!!!! Note to selfie–no more commenting from iPhone!

  8. 9 September 2017 / 1:43 pm

    Catherine, this seems to be have a prominent theme on my blog this week as well. One post addressed how to "feel" like a million bucks even I didn't necessarily "look" like a million bucks. Well because…it is more important how "fell" than it is how I "look". Another post, I talked about breaking out of that dreadful "appropriate trap". I am linking up both posts…because great blogger minds tend to address similar important topics, don't they?!


  9. 9 September 2017 / 10:33 am

    My dearest Catherine, I am so glad to be back. I stopped caring about what people thought about me and the way I looked when I was 15. Living in Spain and being different wasn´t an easy job, but I concentrated on fattening my ego and liking myself. I feel of no particular age and, as you well know, wear what I like and flatters me. I trust my eye, and my eye alone, hahahha.
    I still have to read your back posts as soon as I find my head.
    Much love

  10. 9 September 2017 / 7:41 am

    Hi Catherine
    I am a great exponent of dressing to express your personality rather than wearing the clothes that are deemed to be suitable for your age, body shape, gender even… I'm 65 and I wear, and have worn for a long time, exactly what I feel like…so go girls!!!!! Liberate your shape! Sarah aka Badassbabyboomer ��

  11. 9 September 2017 / 7:35 am

    You've nailed it Catherine. Understanding the best colors and shapes that suit you and your body shape is the key! But once you know how things work you can BREAK THE RULES as much as you like, and you can tweak to your heart's content to make it feel right for you!

  12. 8 September 2017 / 9:48 pm

    It's such a great nod to the "in your face" kind of thinking to a flattering look. I do think we should wear what we like, but some people go to the extreme of sloppy, and downright ugh….But of course, it's all our preference and & individualism.
    But it's definitely more fun to experiment with our style & clothing, instead of only wearing what "flatters' us!!
    Have a fabulous weekend, Catherine!

  13. 8 September 2017 / 8:56 pm

    I agree with your premise but I'm not sure that I'm on board with your explanation. I may not dress in a style that pleases others but I do try to be sure that what I've chosen flatters me, in my opinion. Wearing a color I like that I know I don't look good wearing wouldn't leave me feeling very confident about my appearance. Shelbee took a different spin on this topic not too long ago that was an interesting read as well. Thanks for the link up and I hope that you have a wonderful weekend.


    • 8 September 2017 / 10:25 pm

      The thing is, Rena, it's YOUR opinion about what flatters you, not anyone else's. I might have 20 people tell me I look good in a pencil skirt because it flatters me (in their opinion), but I don't feel good in it so there's still no way I'm ever going to wear one.

      It'll be interesting to see what you think of Monday's outfit… I'm wearing something in colours that theoretically don't flatter me, but I don't care because I love it…!

    • 8 September 2017 / 10:30 pm

      I also wore a dress on Wednesday that's supposed to be deeply unflattering on my large bust because it has a high neckline. However, I've had nothing but compliments about it… you tell me who's right – me or the people who make the style rules (because it's they who are saying it's unflattering)?!!

  14. 8 September 2017 / 7:18 pm

    There are plenty of articles out there about what you shouldn't wear for your body type, height, hair color, complexion etc. But there are also lots of articles about what you should be wearing because it's the latest trend. Either way, I couldn't care less. I'm old enough to know what I like and feel comfortable in. So I dress for me. I gave up paying attention to all that advice a long time ago. So liberating 🙂


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