What we mean by “Look good, feel better”

Illustration of a person dressing up

At initial glance, the concept of making yourself look good in order to be respected in society seems like a sham.

While it is true that my self-worth is not determined by how good I am at doing makeup or wearing expensive clothes, the more people I meet and the more real-life experiences I gain, I have begun to realise that the way we present ourselves to the world plays a dominating role in how we are perceived and treated by others.

Even though we may not want to feel this way, there still exists a preconceived notion in our subconscious that is formed from the outward appearance of a person. When we're meeting new people, one of the first things we notice is how they have carried themselves. This can include things like choice of outfit, how well-groomed they are, and how much effort they have put into making themselves look nice.

Not only that, we must also recognise the many benefits that dressing up can bring.

Dressing up is an excellent form of self-care. When you know you look good, you get an instant boost of confidence that you wouldn't be able to get anyway else. For me, looking good will inevitably come when you feel good. This works in a cycle. On days I've let myself go I automatically feel gloomy and much less productive.

However, there seems to exist a harrowing idea that continues to plague our society where people who go the extra mile to make themselves look good are seen as superficial, or fickle. This is especially true for women. "She cares too much about how she looks", "she wears too much makeup" and "smart girls shouldn't be worried about their appearance" are heard too often by girls growing up in South Asian families. The very existence of the phrase "beauty with brains" is an insult in and of itself, because it perpetuates the notion that an intelligent person is not usually attractive, which is completely false.

The idea that simplicity goes hand in hand with intelligence or knowledge is one that has existed for generations. I used to once take pride in not being a "girly girl" and not caring about makeup or fashion. Perhaps this came from years of social conditioning, or it was just internalised misogyny showing itself in the form of self-expression.

The older I grew, however, the more I realised how misinformed I was. I think it is quite important for people to get in touch with their aesthetic side as it plays a huge role in self-love and wellbeing, regardless of their gender.

There is a certain feeling of unmatched gratification to put together outfits, do your makeup and hair, and head out for the day. It brings routine and control into our lives, and has numerous positive and holistic effects on an individual.

Koushin is trying to justify spending too much time putting together an outfit instead of being productive. Tell her to stop scrolling Pinterest at [email protected]


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