Some consider the art of dressing, fashion and styling as a superfluous use of one’s time and energy. They’re right. Fashion can be overthought and when combined with the forces of retail marketing, fashion can result in addiction to consumption.
The Hollywood cliché of the teenage girl’s obsession with her image, shopping with her friends and becoming an over-accessorized one dimensional version of her true potential stems from a very real power fashion magazines, shows and other media have on our values. It can be a limiting existence to live life pursuing an impossible opportunity to become another Kardashian sister.
However, if taken seriously without being obsessively vain, the art of dressing becomes a tool for the sophisticated individual. Fashion – or, in the case of our topic, dressing – is akin to a product’s packaging in that it serves several important roles.
We liken the importance of dressing to the importance of a container; both are extensions of the product itself and both help create a product’s appeal, ensure its preservation, and operates as a means of communication between the brand and its target market.
If you open most books about packaging, you’ll learn that an effective package provides a product with the following:
As a professional possessing valuable skills and talent to offer the world you, too, are a product that needs to be packaged appropriately to appeal to the audience you aim to reach.
Think about it. If a product’s packaging didn’t accurately reflect its contents, how would the buyer react upon discovering that the delicious marshmallows he brought home from the store were instead a package of raw tofu???
Being inappropriately ‘packaged’ will result in disappointments.
Proper Packaging: clothing that serves its purpose
So, how exactly do we package ourselves? Glad you asked.
Dressing up or down (or not at all) can be fun. However, when functioning in society, there are responsibilities we must honor before fulfilling our desire to amuse ourselves and do whatever we’d like without regard for rules.
Like a product’s container, our clothing must serve its primary functions before it acts as an extension of our individuality and brand’s message. Typography is useless on a box that doesn’t properly secure the eggs on its way to your kitchen from the grocery store.
In other words your clothes have responsibilites. Your clothing need to fulfill their responsibilities before they can scream, “Louis Vuitton!”.
As a courtesy, we’ve developed a guideline in the form of a checklist to make sure your outfit is at the very least serving its primary purpose.
1. Containment – Does it sufficiently contain and cover its contents?
2. Protection – Is your outfit appropriate for the environment, weather, social context you’ll be wearing it to? (i.e. flip flops outdoors during a snowstorm, etc…)
3. Convenience – Does your clothing allow you to move comfortably and with ease? Does it fit you properly? Will you have difficulty performing at your optimum level in these clothes?
4. Information – What message does your clothing communicate to society as a whole?
5. Marketing – Are you wearing any symbols or styles that will connect with the specific group you wish to appeal to? Will your market be attracted to you given how you are presented?
(To be continued…)