Wear what you want 

Illustration by Van Nguyen/The Daily Campus

As a woman in her twenties, I’ve terrified people with my getting-ready process. No matter how clean my room is when I start, I’m guaranteed to have 85% of my entire wardrobe sprawled throughout the room by the end – shout-out to my roommate for embracing this tendency of mine in stride.  

The way that I can send myself completely off the rails just by attempting to pick out an outfit is kind of remarkable, especially considering at this point in my life I’m (theoretically) an adult, who has curated her closet according to her own tastes, rather than having someone else shop for me. Yes, I will admit, I made my family late for Christmas lunch about a month ago because I convinced myself I needed to change my pants for the third time that morning. And even after all this hubbub, I still seem to end up wearing a rotation of the same five outfits each week. Really, it’s exhausting.  

I think one of the best ways to explain it is with a scene from one of my favorite shows as a kid – “Bear in the Big Blue House.” On this show there is a character named Tutter, who is a little blue mouse that lives in the Big Blue House with Bear. In episode 111, “A Wagon of a Different Color,” Tutter has to pick an outfit to go to the market, and tries on a variety of different scarf and hat combinations. This does not occur without noteworthy theatrics. When first picking out an all-red outfit, he yells, “Oh, they’ll probably look at me and say ‘Hey! Look at that little mouse in red! He must really like to get attention!’” Tutter has similar breakdowns trying on other outfits, with Bear attempting to calm him down. Eventually, Bear convinces Tutter to wear what he likes best, rather than worrying about what others might think.  

If you’ve seen the clip I described, and thus heard the ferocity with which Tutter screams his frustrations out, it might sound like an exaggeration. However, I promise you, Tutter is exactly how I feel getting dressed each day. It’s not just my intense love for the Muppets that makes this episode stick out to me – I genuinely act like this.  

And before you say it – I’m fully aware Bear is right. There is no one else scrutinizing my clothing choices as closely as I am. I know that anyone who truly cares about me wouldn’t care what I wear and anyone who cares what I wear probably doesn’t care about me. That being said, I still can’t get over the mental block of having to pick an outfit. In general, I worry about being perceived and hold a significant envy for those that can just get up and go in the mornings.  

So I’m writing this column both as an argument and to set a goal for myself. And, because so much of the world exists in gray rather than black and white, it’s yet again a middle-of-the-road take.  

We shouldn’t care what we wear. Sure, it’s reasonable that we do to some extent – probably not at the level of having a Tutter-like breakdown each morning, but you get my drift. It’s okay to take pride in your appearance; there is nothing wrong with a little bit of vanity. If you want to wake up early so you have time to style your hair, follow a complicated makeup tutorial and put on a complicated-yet-coordinated outfit, all while filming a “Get Ready With Me” video so others can see this process, more power to you. If it brings you joy, you should embrace it. On the flip side, you shouldn’t feel pressure to go through this routine if that’s not your version of an ideal morning. You shouldn’t put that kind of pressure on yourself either, or let society do so for you.  

We know that America – and much of our 21st-century world – is appearance-obsessed. It’s what keeps the makeup industry alive and well, and is why buccal fat removal was trending across platforms in December of last year. The second we let these societal ideals – that in reality don’t really say anything about the content of our character or the impact we have on the world – invade our daily lives to the point where just getting dressed in the morning is an insurmountable task, we’ve gone too far. The desire to conform and fit in is strong, especially as clothing trends come and go on an immensely short time scale – hence the fact that the fast fashion industry further complicates matters.  

I think Tutter’s reactions to getting dressed for the market are valid – what if everyone does automatically assume the little mouse in red really loves attention? There are a million reasons or thought-cycles that could spark the outfit-picking-induced spiraling depicted in this episode of “Bear in the Big Blue House,” emulated in my own life. But we shouldn’t let these go to our heads. At the end of the day, you should wear what you like because you like it. Plain and simple.  

Leave a Reply