Thursday, July 7, 2011

Why Are You So Dressed Up?

I encountered this question, from my wife, for the third time today on our way to see a medical practitioner. My first two encounters when people posed this question was a few months ago on another visit to a medical practitioner. First my wife’s sister thought I’d been to a job interview and then, incredulously, the doctor himself, wondered why I was so dressed up. Now, I don’t want to get sucked into a vortex of an interminable argument because, on the surface, dressing up is superficial and subjective. Therefore people can invariably argue for and against the topic everyday, all day.

My response to this question is a question in itself, “why not get dressed up?” As superficial and subjective dressing up can be, there is no doubt that it has a purpose in today’s society. People’s perception is important in this process because it has a direct effect on how you perceive yourself. And how you perceive yourself has a direct relation on how you interact with other people. I try my best to dress well whenever I go out in public, even if I’m just going to my local mall. It fuels my confidence and energy levels. I am most proud of people who dress well and, in the face of multitudinous stares, proceed to eschew any vainglorious display of their attire. In other words, put it on, and forget about it.

I unequivocally challenge anyone that pays scant regard to their appearance and the way they dress, to try dressing up, even if it’s for one day. Either way your appearance will redound.


WinstonC said...


"I am most proud of people who dress well and, in the face of multitudinous stares, proceed to eschew any vainglorious display of their attire. In other words, put it on, and forget about it."

Never a truer word.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mxolisi Ngonelo,

I trust you are well. I have followed your blog, and others dealing with similar subject matter, for some time now. However, this is the first time that I have ever reached out to make contact.

First of all, allow me extend my thanks for producing such an entertaining, educational, honest and insightful account of your continuing evolution in the realms of style, presentation and mature adulthood. It makes for enjoyable reading, probably because it resonates with me on a number of levels.

A Jamaican living in London, England, I too, am an ageing / former B-boy, hip-hop and Hoops aficionado. Baggy jeans, hooded tops and unlaced Timberlands were a huge part of my "dress code", from my teens all the way through my twenties (and even into my thirties!).

However marriage, and more pertinently, the prospect of parenthood, changed my outlook considerably; so much so it was almost epiphanic.

I suddenly decided that I no longer wanted to dress like an eternal teenager. However, the industry in which I work (creative and media) seems to actively encourage such an adolescent style of dress; jeans, old-school trainers and tracksuit tops (it aids creativity, apparently!)

This rambling pre-amble is a lengthy introduction to what was the purpose of me getting in contact with you. In summary, I too encountered the same question you faced on a regular basis! Variations of "Where are you going?", "Do you have an interview?" and "Why are you so dressed up?" were frequently fired in my direction, usually with a wry smile and fair degree of mirth.

However, having made the commitment to dress in a manner that I consider to be more commensurate with my age (and stage of life) and paying attention to aspects such as cut, cloth and fit, I ignored the good natured ribbing and stuck to my guns.

Our daughter is now three years old. In that time, my new outlook on appearance and presentation has become so intrinsic with who I am, that the same guys who poked fun at the start of my sartorial evolution now ask the opposite question if show up anywhere in baggy jeans, a round-necked t-shirt or hooded top; "What's happened?" they ask aghast!

I'm continuing to learn on what is an eternal sartorial journey. One thing I've come to understand, however, is that I don't feel enslaved by the somewhat arbitrary whims of fashion; the flannels and cords that I rocked last winter will be pulled out of the wardrobe when the temperature drops again this autumn. Well fitting polo-T shirts and chinos always look good, so will make an appearance again next summer. Who knew that seeking to be stylish rather than fashionable would actually prove economical!

Thanks for your time, my man. Here's wishing you all the best on your continued journey of discovery of timeless style.

Kind regards,

Mxolisi Ngonelo said...

You know, whenever someone refers to me by my first and last name, I always cringe at the prospect of them knowing me personally. But to realise that I am impacting someone who is all the way in London really ignites and motivates me.

Anon, I concur, wholeheartedly, with you. All the points you raised are pertinent. I like the fact that you're confirming what I have been grappling with for some time now that; even though I don't have the means to acquire certain items of clothing, I always resign myself to the notion that, I have my whole life ahead of me to acquire and experiment with them.

Another thing is, style, is not only a sartorial thing. It is a holistic thing as well. So, family, career, spirituality, experience, etc, and how you nurture and manage them, fall under the style umbrella.


I appreciate you taking the time out to read my blog. For a minute I thought you were out of commission and not blogging anymore. Albeit, pictorially, Le Vrai Winston continues to inspire me.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Ngonelo,
I have recently stumbled across your blog, and allow me to state that I have become and instant fan of your writing style as well as your content. I am especially in agreement with your most recent post.

Although there may be a level of superficiality associated with dressing well, a greater level of respect for yourself and those around you is associated as well.

The well dressed man stands tall, walks sharply, and exudes confidence that can be shared with others! Continue to dress well my fellow gentlemen. The world needs it! Thank you MG for your words and inspiration.

Be Well,
Cleveland, OH