Society is obsessed with looks. Period. Many of the things we do in our normal routines are to enhance our physical appearances. Buying news clothes, going to the gym, getting our haircut are just several examples in which we often pay top dollar to ensure that we look top notch. We get “made up” whenever we believe there is that small chance we will run into someone from the office or a potential new love interest. We walk past window reflections or often go the bathroom for one reason, to check ourselves out.
If, suddenly, we no longer cared about our outward appearance or how others perceived how we looked, I believe we would see more gym shorts and t-shirts in the local watering holes and restaurants while gym memberships would decrease significantly. We are constantly striving to look good, which in return allows us to feel good…. Or does it?
What constitutes a good-looking, popular product?” Do we convince ourselves that we like something because others in society like it first, or are consumers much more independent than they get credit for and pick things that they enjoy without any outside influence? For the majority, it is clear that the former takes precedent. We often look to celebrities and peers to get ideas about what to purchase during our next visit to the mall or how to wear our next haircut. (I for one am no exception to the rule. My haircut was done solely off from picture of a TV show character I brought into my barber)
No matter what we may say, we all (at least partially) take into account what those around us are doing or wearing. Sure we have all experimented with different styles. In high school, I went from Punk to Jock to Hipster in a matter of months. When that desperation for individuality finally came, I showed up to class in a brown sweatshirt paired with brown sweatpants that evidently resembled something that one might find in the bottom of their toilet. Unfortunately this realization did not occur to me until a crowded lunchroom began laughing uncontrollably yelling out every nickname one can think of when referring to fecal matter. Sure, my outfit allowed me to stand out, but the attention was not the type I wanted and I still cringe when thinking about that god-awful day.
What if some photographer caught Channing Tatum or LeBron James wearing the same outfit? Would I still have been singled out for my Fecal Fashion? Or would I have been praised for looking like King James himself? For the most part, looking good also makes us feel good. Yet, what happens when we sacrifice physical comfort for emotional comfort? Sure women and society both believe that women look good in high heels, but as I have said previously, women often complain about those same heels and it is not an uncommon sight to see a female remove them halfway through the evening.
I recently watched a movie about teenagers growing up in the ‘70’s called, “Dazed and Confused”. In one particular scene a female girl is getting ready for the evening. She is attempting to put on a pair of jeans that are ridiculously tight and only after does she employ the help of her friends is she able to zip them up. The scene ends with her waddling out of her room cringing in discomfort.
So which is better: emotional comfort or physical comfort? Would you rather look good and receive compliments, while simultaneously have every muscle in your body constricted or throbbing due to your style choices? Or would you rather feel comfortable no matter the situation and receive fewer compliments or eyes pointed your way? Unfortunately I believe people will continue to sacrifice physical comfort in order to achieve good looks, any day. But maybe, the trend of comfort will eventually stick and we could have our cake and eat it too.