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The Importance of Variety in Your Appearance

June 30, 2014
There is a girl in my office that is extremely attractive. She is good-looking, but she is much more than that. She has great posture, always fixes her hair well, smiles frequently, is confident, and she generally radiates an air of femininity that is painfully lacking in many girls’ demeanor.

One thing that always stands out about this girl is the way that she dresses – specifically, the variety of clothes she wears. Every day she wears something completely different. In fact, I don’t think I have ever seen her wearing the same thing twice. I am not making a statement about the quantity of outfits she owns or the size of her wardrobe; I know plenty of girls who wear different outfits every day but still look boring. This girl actually looks different every day. One day she will be wearing jeans and a blouse, the next day she will be wearing a long, close-fitting dress, the next day cotton dress-pants with a loose, flowing top, and the day after that a pencil skirt. I've seen this girl wear clothes and dress types that I didn't even know existed. I realize that might not be saying much coming from a guy, but the point is that she is very clearly an outlier relative to other girls when it comes to the variety of clothes she wears.

It would be hard to underestimate how much men love this – and I say that with confidence because I've talked about it with several other guys and they agree categorically. Her daily choice of clothes is the topic of our lunch conversation more often than is probably healthy. It’s worth pointing out that this attention isn't the wrong kind of attention. Plenty of girls could work their way into our conversation by wearing short dresses, small tops or tight skirts. In fact, plenty do, and we talk about them too. But we come back to this girl way more than the others because we are constantly surprised and impressed with the variety. It’s hugely refreshing to see her every day in a different outfit.

While I am sure that women can appreciate variety in male fashion also, I am convinced that this is something men appreciate much more than women. I've explained before how strongly men crave sexual variety, and I've explained the importance of visual stimulation. By varying her appearance, a woman appeals to both of those masculine desires. Of course she can’t actually be someone else; but by looking different every day, she can come close enough. I don’t have a huge amount of evidence to support that claim, but when I think about how tempted I would be to cheat on the girl I am describing versus other girls that are equally attractive, there isn't much of a competition.

Having thought about it a bit recently, I can break down this girl’s fashion success into three factors:
  1. She takes risks. This girl doesn't always look good. In fact, I've seen her look downright horrible at times. One day she came in wearing these shitty gypsy-looking baggy pants and an ugly shirt, and I almost cried. A couple times she's worn colors that washed her out completely. I’d say that roughly 5-10 % of the time, she looks bad. But I realize that no one can pull off the kind of variety I am advocating without fucking up occasionally; besides, the variety and successes are both well-worth the mistakes. In fact, I would even be fine with more mistakes if it meant I’d get a girl who was equally dynamic in her wardrobe.
  2. She doesn't pay attention to office fashion norms. In other words, she doesn't think “this is a professional environment; a sun dress is inappropriate.” She might not always be wearing clothes that are “appropriate,” in the sense that they play down or divert attention from her looks, but neither is she dressing overly sexy or provocatively. Trying to bring women into the workplace and expecting them to dress like men is about as ridiculous as asking men to stay home with the kids and forcing them to dress like women. Women need to be allowed to be women, and “appropriate” has unfortunately been defined largely by a society that doesn't fully understand that.
  3. She enjoys looking good. There is no way that a girl will be able to force herself to dress in such a varied manner if she doesn't enjoy doing it. And although you shouldn't try to force yourself to enjoy it, you can let yourself enjoy it to whatever degree you naturally do. I said a lot about this in the post Femininity, Authenticity and Compatibility, so I won’t repeat myself here; but I want to make one additional point in that regard: you don’t need to be a supermodel to enjoy looking great, and you don’t even need to be hot for men to appreciate how you dress. Let yourself enjoy looking your best in as many ways as possible.
Of course, these principles apply to make-up and hair also. The important principle is appearance variety, not just wardrobe variety - but you can draw the analogies.

For the record, I recognize that having a wide variety of clothes can be expensive. And I am not going to pretend that women with less income are without a disadvantage here. That's life. If it helps stomach that fact, you can remind yourself that wealth disparities affect men in their dating lives far more than they affect women. But anyway there are plenty of ways to work the concept of variety into your wardrobe without breaking your bank, and there are plenty of girls reading this post right now who spend all kinds of money on wardrobes bigger and more boring than this girl’s. Make the most with what you have.

Now, all this being said, there is some value in the adage “looking good every day is more important than looking different every day.” While I suspect this statement was popularized more more with men’s fashion in mind than women’s, I also want to make it clear that I am not advocating wearing ugly clothes or crazy make-up only for the sake of variety. You need to indulge in variety wisely, choosing colors and cuts that look good on you. But within the limits of what you know suspect makes you look good, don’t be intimidated by the pressures of “what is acceptable” or what feels safe at the expense of what is different. Different counts for a lot.

Related Posts:
1. The Most Important Time to Dress Well
2. Feminine Beauty is Highly Controllable
3. Men and Sexual Variety
4. The Importance of Taking Fashion Risks

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