Monday, March 1, 2010

Is it shallow to be concerned about your appearance?

Art work from
I'm very focused on my clothing, knitting things to flatter me and fashion in general. I like to think of myself as a person with solid values (don't we all) so sometimes my concern with my outward appearance strikes me as shallow and slightly foolish.

I'm working on a talk I'll be giving about body image in the spring so this topic has been running around in my brain for weeks. I'm one of those people who mulls things over for far to long but then has the satisfying result of having solutions, answers or decisions pop into my head while I'm doing some totally unrelated thing. Today at lunch I realized that one of the most important things that comes to me from this focus is happiness. Wearing nice things makes me happy. Research shows that due to emotional contagion me being happy isn't a totally selfish pursuit. If I'm happy I can make others happy.

I work in an office of mainly men. I get a lot of compliments on my clothes here especially on the amount of colour I wear. I work on Bay St. which is the heart of the financial district in Toronto. Most women in this industry wear all neutrals, black being the most common. Dark dull eggplant is risque so I'm a rainbow compared to the standard. One of the guys in my office takes great delight in calling me "pumpkin" every time I wear my bright orange suede jacket to work. The pun of the colour and an endearment totally cracks him up because I'm always teasing him I'm going to complain to H.R. about his inappropriate behaviour to women.

The other men in my office won't use post it notes in any other colour than the standard yellow - except for our CFO. He goes searching for post it's that match the colour I'm wearing when ever he gives me a note and says I should order more colours into the office for him to use. A few weeks ago he came back from a lunch time shopping trip and proudly showed me the stack of colourful golf shirts he just bought on sale. He announced that I was no longer going to be the only one in the office wearing a great colour as he plans to wear one every dress down Friday with his jeans to challenge my status as the only one here brave enough to wear colour. That made me laugh and it made me happy too!

1 comment:

  1. This is very nice story and realy funy, Robin! It sounds like I could have written it myself! Well, I guess, we both have a lot in common.
    I made my carrier as logistic manager, beeing the only woman as I graduated my MBA and later on at work as executive. I always rejected wearing those faceless business cloths in dark colours reducing a woman to a second class man.
    In fact I spent many hours studying chromatics and effect of colours on emotions and use this experiences now in my knits.
    I'm glad that you describe yourself as rainbow. This is a sign of having vitality and love for life.
    Have a wonderful week and regards from Vienna where spring has just started.