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Let's Play Dress Up

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By Angela London

Every morning I get up an hour-and-a-half before class, which is almost sacrilegious since I am a college student. After showering I turn on the news and then pick through my closet, less like Cher from Clueless with her fancy rotating closet, and more like the poor and forever tired 20-year-old college student I am. I listen to the news from my laptop and try to determine the last time I wore my favorite outfit. I have no problem wearing the same outfit twice in one week; sometimes you just have that one top that makes you feel powerful and feminine at the same time.

That is what dressing up has become to me: a source of power. So yes, I am that girl in a skirt, blouse and blazer, complete with accessories, trudging up the hills of my university to class at 9:00 a.m. I do not just get dressed up for special occasions, or when I have my internship on a class day. I get dressed up every day, rain or shine. Occasionally, I will get a look from another girl, who thinks I am crazy or trying too hard to look cute at 9:00 a.m. Once a guy told me that it was silly that I was getting dressed up for whatever guy I was interested in because "guys don't care if you dress up."

Um, what century are we in?

The entire exchange made me so mad: Who told this dumbass that I was dressing up for him? There seems to be a misconception about why women dress up, and that if we get really dressed up we only do it to get male attention. So let me set you straight: This woman gets dressed up to please her damn self! Now, I am no fashionista; I wear what I like and what I think looks good on me, so if that is my favorite pair of jeans, sweater, and a blazer, then thats what I am wearing. If I feel like wearing the suit from my internship to class then that's what I do. I first discovered the ability of what I am wearing to make me feel powerful my freshman year of college.

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Freshman year was horrible, and I was attending a school that was not a good fit. I only wore jeans, yoga pants and sweat shirts. So when I was tired from late nights and mad at being stuck in Connecticut until summer break I would put extra effort into my appearance, to at least appear less miserable. One day I put on a formal (for college, at least) outfit: jeans, a blouse, and a blazer, complete with accessories, then went to take a test and attend the three other classes I had. I felt better, at least on the outside, and went through the rest of my day feeling strong, beautiful, and most importantly, confident. So I started wearing more put together outfits, and found myself needing more time to get ready, which meant that I was getting up earlier and attempting to get to bed at a decent time. Now I am not saying that dressing up solved all my problems, because I wasn't one hundred percent happy until I transferred schools, but when I was feeling bad, my outfit was my armor.

Now it has just become a habit that I cannot break; I get up, shower and then get ready from head-to-toe for the day, starting out feeling powerful and put together on the outside gives me the confidence to kick ass through out the day. It is a part of my routine, just like brushing my teeth and checking my email, and if I stay in my pajamas all day, I feel like I did not accomplish as much. I know it's not for everyone but the next time you are feeling really tired, after a long night, get up and put on that blouse you only wear for interviews or pair of jeans that makes you feel amazing, you might be surprised how just that little bit can help change your mood. For me, dressing up is not about getting a cute guy to notice me, it's about feeling my best.

Contrary to popular belief, it does not have to be expensive. Here at Literally, Darling we are all about what is affordable. Some of my cutest outfits have been created with dresses from Target, and a pair of shoes I have had since high school. I wore my $20 Target dress until one of the straps broke, and then I fixed it and wore it some more. During the summer I wear it with sandals and in the winter, tights, boots and a cardigan. I am not saying that everyone should get up an hour-and-a-half earlier, 'cause I get it, extra sleep is good, but I like listening to the news in the morning. You can just as easily take five minutes to pick out your outfit the night before and roll out of bed 20 minutes before class and still look put together. So go put on that outfit, the one that only gets worn on special occasions and wear it on Monday. Dressing up is not just for little girls or celebrities. It's for the average woman, just like me:

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Originally posted on Literally, Darling

Literally, Darling is an online magazine by and for twenty-something women, which features the personal, provocative, awkward, pop-filled and pressing issues of our gender and generation. This is an exact representation of our exaggerated selves.