Tuesday, December 19, 2006


Against Power Dressing

So the other day I wore a pair of smart trousers after about a year and a half.
I felt so out of place.

I am glad I worked in an environment where the dress-code was 'casual but smart'. Am not a bloke so no tie and shirt for me! Ha! The 'suit' approach was a no-no working within mental health and personally I'd rather not dress as if I'm going to court.

Not a fan of power dressing am afraid - the times when I was working I would ensure that I didn't look so unapproachable.. smart trousers and casual tunics were the combination I went for. Or even wearing cords to work hehe.. I managed to get away with it by ensuring the tunic was smart this time ;-) Besides, headscarf co-ordination usually meant that the 'overall' effect was very smart and presentable indeed!

It amazes me: do we dress overtly smart (and I'm not talking about smart floral dresses here) in order to convince ourselves that we are in an 'important' role? or even to remind ourselves we are 'at work'?

Sidi Gai Eaton inspires me immensely:

No art is closer to us both physically and psychologically than that of dress, and if the human figure is excluded - or enters only as an element in the design - elsewhere, it is none the less clothed in splendour at the centre of the Islamic environment.

'No art', says Titus Burckhardt, 'has a more telling effect upon a man's soul than that of clothing, for a man instinctively identifies himself with the clothes he wears.'

He also dresses in accordance with his ideas of himself and of his role in the scheme of things.

pp 209. Islam And The Destiny Of Man

I have often wondered in these almost two years of having been away from work what impression my dress sense gives to passers. If I was wearing a pair of black trousers and smart black shoes they would surely think I am off to work.. especially if I was seen catching my buses between 8-9am!

When I walk pass people in city today dressed the way I do, what do people think of me?

How many of us base our judgements and opinions of people according to what we see them wearing?

And I don't talk here about the rights and wrongs of Islamic attire - even I recall the best dress is 'the dress of piety'. I am talking about how many of us - even within our faith groups are drawn to the apparel in a negative manner. How many people will look at the way I dress and assume I am not 'well-educated' for instance? How many will think I am a student? How many will think I can't speak good English?


So what are my 'ideas of myself' at present and how does my dress reflect that? And why did I feel 'out of place' when I attended the conference last week with a smart pair of trousers?

Personally I think I have outgrown it.
I have my smart trousers in the wardrobe and whenever we have a charity collection I look at them and leave them. My mate Jules says I should keep them for a while as there will be use for them 'later'. Oh, and she also hates power-dressing. She's as casual as me so understands my sentiments quite well.

And No -

I can't become a 'goth'

.. they don't allow oldies ;-)

i say dress how you wish, as long as its within the boundaries of Islam

the clothes you wear can be a method to express how you are feeling at that time

even if you dress 'scruffily' .. its the dress of a free mind with no weight of impressing others :-D
yes scruffy dressers... hmmm

"free mind with no weight of impressing others"
That's interesting, but people can also dress smart to not impress others also?
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