R-E-S-P-E-C-T…..what does that mean to me?


Oh darling, your hat! How divine!

As a fashion blog, LemonzestandPearls strives to be a credible source of information in regards to fashion-related elements (clothing, accessories, designers, events etc). We love writing about and being involved in fashion and we feel blessed God has provided us with a blog we can pour our creative energy into as a team. We also feel a responsibility to write in a way that empowers our readers to put their best foot forward in everything they do.

Have you ever heard the phrase, “Don’t judge a book by its cover”? Ever wonder why that phrase is still around? Mainly because people still do it. In fact we all make those first introduction deductions….”He has glasses and a retainer…he must be a nerd” or “Did you see how low-cut her blouse was…girls like that are looking for trouble”, or “Everything they wear is name-brand, so they must be really rich”.  While we don’t make these judgments consciously, we do make them and they affect how we perceive those individuals. It is even easier to make unconscious judgements with the ever widening  polarization amongst the current generation, most likely brought on by our “anything goes” culture.

  • Group#1 doesn’t want to be bothered with the effort it takes to dress up their look and just goes casual; sometimes the casual look stems from a desire to “fly under the radar”.
  • Group #2 closely follows what the celebrities are wearing and tries to mimic them through their own wardrobe. Usually the opposite of group #1, they welcome attention and will shorten that skirt or lower that blouse to get it.

Do you see yourself in one of these groups, or do you fall somewhere in the middle? It could be that you are perfectly happy with how you dress and are only reading this because Netflix is experiencing technical difficulties. That’s ok. But I still encourage you to take a second look in the mirror before you head to work or school or Starbucks: are you presenting yourself in the best possible way? Does the way you dress and carry yourself convey a sense of self respect? If people are going to judge a book (you) by it’s cover (how you look), then make that cover look as becoming as you can!

Dressing up is one way you can show you have respect for yourself. When I was in high school the popular thing to wear were sweats and Ugg boots (I don’t why, but sloppy chic was in). Sometimes it was socially appropriate to switch out your sweatpants for Hollister jeans, but other than that, there was a general hobo vibe around campus. And because that’s what everyone was wearing, I wore it too- and I felt like a bum.  I blended in with a crowd of girls with messy buns, hoodies and Ugg boots, unified through mediocrity.

Then were the days that I had to dress up for presentations and seminars- I remember those days individually because I felt attractive and more confident in my abilities. I am sure you have had those days too; you stand a little taller, look people in the eye longer, smile a little more. You do that because you feel good about yourself, because you are presenting a complete package. These aren’t just observations; a recent study from 2012 confirms the link between our emotions and what we wear.

According to one study-

Women who are depressed or sad are more likely to wear baggy tops, jeans, and a sweatshirt or jumper. Women who are happy or positive are more likely to wear a favorite dress, jewelry, and jeans. These clothing choices seem to mean that women who are feeling down put less effort into what they’re wearing, and women who are in a good mood tend to try and look nicer to match their mood. ([1])

I do not believe that this study suggests that we are unhappy every time we don a pair of elastic-waist sweatpants (many a time I have rushed home from work to ditch my pencil skirt for yoga pants). But it does imply that an increased self-awareness can be gained when we put a comb through our hair and a little rogue on our cheeks. This isn’t confined to just young college-aged women either; both men and women of all ages can improve their self-image by simply choosing to step up their look.

 Just as dressing tastefully can signify respect for yourself, looking sharp can also imply respect for other people or establishments.  I will never forget a conversation I had in college with a good friend who serves in the Marine Corps; we were sitting on campus when some female ROTC students walked by in fatigues. My friend expressed her distaste at how disheveled the girls looked, pointing out the messy buns and loosely rolled sleeves. I failed to ascertain her disgust until she explained that by looking so sloppy they were being disrespectful to not only their superiors but to their military branch. Their carelessness reflected a lack of honor and respect, two things a Marine takes great pride in.

But a respect of personal appearance shouldn’t be confined to just the military- job interviews, dinners, dates, symphonies, weddings, funerals, etc.- all of these functions require more than sweatpants and bunny slippers. Presenting yourself in a tasteful way expresses to your peers that you had the forethought to consider your impending event and thus selected your attire accordingly. By simply taking the time to look nice you will elevate the room and everyone in it, adding a little culture to the event and a bit of confidence to yourself.

I would like to close this article with a third point: while it is important to dress nicely out of respect for yourself and others, it is equally important to dress nicely as an example to the younger generations. We live in a society where class and sophistication has been replaced with over the top sensuality and even vulgarity. Every time I see a child star-turned-pop star strut out onstage in basically nothing, I think of my younger cousins (specifically my 9yr old girl cousin). What does she think when she sees those pretty girls, who are only a couple years older than herself, parade around in just underwear? Does she want to be like them? Look like them? We have to protect the modesty and innocence of our youth because those celebrities certainly aren’t up for the job. We can make a choice to present ourselves as the complete package without sacrificing our integrity.

I hope you have enjoyed this article. My intention was to uplift and renew a desire to present yourself in  a way that commands respect and admiration. The world can be a tough place and people will try to expose the physical insecurities of others to gain a leg up. Why give them the opportunity? Dress yourself to be above reproach. Dress to express your respect for yourself and others. Dress up!


[1] Weaver, Rheyanne “The Link Between Clothing Choices and Emotional States”. GoodTherapy.org (3/30/2013).

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