Why I Like Dressing for Other People (and That's Okay)

I’ve spent my career as a fashion editor celebrating the idea that all of us should get dressed according to what makes us feel good. Fashion is intertwined with my sense of confidence and with the way I define myself as a person. I’m a tomboy with a penchant for dressing up. Getting dressed can offer an extra dose of confidence or it can frustrate me endlessly. But up until recently, I framed fashion as an entirely personal pastime. But this year I’ve done a lot of thinking about the whys behind my dressing habits and it’s led me to a conclusion that feels both obvious and unexpected at the same time. As it turns out, I don’t just dress for other people sometimes, as I enjoy it.

To provide a bit of context, let me explain that I’m an inherently lazy dresser. I feel a little bit like a phony admitting this as a fashion editor. It’s my job to care about complicated ways to layer (three shirts at once!) and the latest pair of heels, bag, or color to wear this season—and I do care. But when I’m left to my own devices, I so easily revert to basics. Sundays are spent almost exclusively in athleisure. If I don’t have any meetings on a Friday, I’m wearing jeans and a T-shirt. If my personal aesthetic is so low-key, does that diminish my expertise in some way? It’s something I’ve feared before, but the realization I’ve squared with is that an external motivator makes all the difference.