Overdressed & I Like It

Overdressed and I Like It - The Dressed Aesthetic

If you are a lady who happens to like getting frocked up regularly, you get very used to a lot of comments. Sideways glances, questionable stares. Quizzical looks wondering why you aren’t wearing jeans and a t-shirt like the rest of the crowd. Did I not get the memo that it was bad form to look like you were trying too hard? As it happens, I did get that memo. But, I soon realized that there are a lot worse things that I could do than try.

Ladies and gents, I’m overdressed and I like it. True, some days I don’t get out of my loungewear. But, most days I get that fission of excitement when I make my way into my wardrobe and start the process of feeling my best and dressing for me. And then I will have no shame marching out the door, straight into the world to exclaim : I spent time on myself! I put myself first this morning! And I think I look good!

I read a very interesting thread about a woman who started replying with “I know” or “I agree” every time someone gave her a compliment. And it was astounding the negative feedback she received, as if a woman wasn’t supposed to know her own beauty. As if by appreciating herself and feeling confident, she somehow became less. Compliments were retracted. Men became outwardly aggressive, accusing her of vanity and conceit. As if you reply with anything other than a blush and a coquettish giggle, you are not fulfilling your role in the exchange: which is to be there for someone else’s admiration, but not your own.

And I couldn’t help but think: compliments aren’t validation. Shouldn’t they just affirm what we already know about ourselves?

Overdressed and I Like It - The Dressed Aesthetic

Overdressed and I Like It - The Dressed Aesthetic
Outfit styled using Dressed for iPhone

Overdressed and I Like It - The Dressed Aesthetic Overdressed and I Like It - The Dressed Aesthetic Overdressed and I Like It - The Dressed Aesthetic Overdressed and I Like It - The Dressed Aesthetic

I no longer have any issue being the most dressed up person in the room. I rarely worry if anyone likes what I’m wearing, so long as I like it. I like putting effort in – and I’m not scared who knows it. But, it took me awhile to get here.

Because, oh how I used to care what everyone else thought. I used to worry and fret and take the once-over some ladies would give me to heart. I used to worry about wearing just the right thing to fit in. Nothing over the top. Nothing that might make me different. Nothing that might make people think I was trying to get attention. Or that I was vain enough to care about my appearance.

To be honest, there are days when I still worry about some of these things. I worry whether someone won’t take me seriously at work if I’m dressed the way that brings me joy. I worry other women might think I’m showing off. And I worry about a culture that perpetuates the idea that self love is somehow a negative thing. But, I worry more about the women who absorb it and internalize it and let it run their lives. Those for whom this is a daily struggle. Those of us who don’t respond to a compliment with “I agree” (at least inside). Or base our self worth off of someone’s else’s expectations rather than our own.

But on days when I find the self doubt creeping in, I remind myself it’s actually empowering to care about your appearance, when the person you care about impressing, is you.

Claim your beauty. Own it. Revel in it. And then march out and share it with the world.

Overdressed and I Like It - The Dressed Aesthetic Overdressed and I Like It - The Dressed Aesthetic Overdressed and I Like It - The Dressed Aesthetic Overdressed and I Like It - The Dressed AestheticOverdressed and I Like It - The Dressed Aesthetic Overdressed and I Like It - The Dressed Aesthetic Overdressed and I Like It - The Dressed Aesthetic Overdressed and I Like It - The Dressed Aesthetic Overdressed and I Like It - The Dressed Aesthetic

It is a pretty exciting day around here in the Dressed Aesthetic household, which is the perfect reason for dressing up (not that I need one). My mom arrives in town today! It is still such a novelty to live close enough to our families to have regular visitors, and I couldn’t be more excited to have my mom here and get to show her this amazing town of ours. Things are never real for me until my family shares in them.

Sometimes I look back and wonder where I got my confidence from. But I have no doubt my mom will deplane and it’ll immediately be apparent. It is certainly no surprise when you see the strong stock I came from. She’s here briefly for the night before heading out to a wedding, but she comes back on the weekend and we can paint the town vintage, as it were. She’s very excited to visit some of my favorite haunts, try some of our favorite restaurants, and see the lab. Who knows, maybe I can convince her to make a cameo appearance in a blog photoshoot.

It’s all about claiming your beauty, after all…



Outfit Details:
Dress: The Sweet Life Vintage (similar modern or vintage here, here & here)
Wrap: Gift (similar)
Gloves: Bettina Darling (similar)
Belt: Alannah Hill (similar)
Crinolines: Vivian of Holloway and Malco Modes
Handbag: Gift (similar)
Shoes: WHBM, sold out (similar here & here)


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The Dressed Aesthetic


14 comments on Overdressed & I Like It

  • Selina

    I used to be very shy and never had anything nice to dress up in. Now I can wear what I want and it’s a great way to express myself. life is 10 times more joyful when I get dressed how I want to. It’s my form of expression

    • The Dressed Aesthetic (author)

      Here here! We should dress in a way that makes us feel fabulous. ❤️

  • Gwen

    Yes! I love everything you have talked about in this post. My partner and my friends have gotten used to the fact that looking dressed-up is actually just my casual. But I do tend to dress down a little bit more at work because I am constantly on the move and I work with children.

    Keep wearing what you love, and keep loving what you wear! xo G

    • The Dressed Aesthetic (author)

      Thank you so much! And I totally agree – I feel like my friends and family worry when I’m NOT dressed up. 😉 As you say – it’s all about embracing what you love. 🙂 xxx

  • Camilla

    Wonderful post Kara! I love the way I dress and how it makes me feel. I don’t dress for anyone but just for me and me only. At times I feel awkward being “different” from everybody else, especially in a small town. But I have to keep reminding myself, I feel good and confident about myself! 🙂
    Gorgeous dress to, I love the floral print and colours. xo

    • The Dressed Aesthetic (author)

      Thank you so much Milla! I am so in love with your style too. I can only imagine what it’s like in a small town – but you keep on rockin’ your style! I love that you have the confidence to just wear what you please. 🙂 xxx

  • Johanna Imhoff

    You’re one of the reasons I feel comfortable dressing how I like, when and where I like. I was literally told before my first AES meeting, “Don’t dress up too much; you’ll look like you’re trying too hard.” So, Kara, thank you for dressing how you like at AES (and delivering kickass presentations). There’s no reason not to. Have a nice time with your mom.

    • The Dressed Aesthetic (author)

      Wow, Jo. You have no idea how much this post meant to me. I actually got a bit teary. Sometimes I only think about how dressing the way I want affects me – in my own personal confidence evolution. But knowing that it’s actually made an impact on someone else means more than I can say. Especially another amazing female scientist. These are the ways we fight the more subtle sexism in science. And I’m so glad you didn’t listen to the advice you got before your first AES. I was told by a very high level female researcher (not an AESer), that if I was going to succeed in this field, I needed to start dressing more like a man. I’m proud to say I ignored that advice…it’s not always easy, but a comment like yours makes me see the million ways we are lifting each other up without even realizing it. 🙂 I hope to catch up in Austin!

  • Sarah

    Wow! This is one of the most beautiful dresses I have seen for a long time and you’ve styled it so nicely. I agree whole heartedly with everything you’ve said, I find it quite sad that so many people don’t care enough about themselves to make any effort with their appearance. Scruffy seems to be the norm now. I wish I could borrow your whole outfit, it’s the perfect outfit for a wedding I’m attending soon!! Hope you have a lovely time with your mum. Kind regards Sarah

    • The Dressed Aesthetic (author)

      Thank you so much! It makes me very sad as well – I hope that we all feel comfortable in our own skin to just wear what we please. For me, that’s fancy 1950’s sundresses. For someone else, that may be something really trendy. Everyone has their own fabulous style and I say we should embrace it and apologize to no one for it! 🙂 I hope you have fun at the wedding – and I linked to a few dresses similar to this one at the end of the post. Maybe you can scoop one up to wear to the wedding? 😉

  • SaraLily

    Yes! Get your mom in front of the camera!! It’d be SO fun!!

    I agree with everything here. I have never been afraid to stand out – in fact, I enjoy it – and I always find it amusing when it bothers others or makes them curious. It’s just baffling to them and it amuses me to no end!

    • The Dressed Aesthetic (author)

      I’ve asked her and she’s in! We’ll try to find some time this weekend. 🙂 I’m so glad you dress the way you want – and you look fabulous! When people are true to themselves, it always shines through. Like you, I’m at the point where the incredulous looks I get make me laugh! 😉

  • Cheryl

    I think somewhere along the way people got, well, lazy about their appearance. There was a time when a woman dare not leave the house without being in a nice dress, white gloves, and a nice hat, even if she was just going to the store. I have a friend who confused to me recently that she dresses in the dark and just put on whatever is available, which would explain why she always looked like she is wearing the same outfit, because she probably is. She is saddest looking person I know.

    As for me, I love fashion and putting together outfits is one of my favorite past times. I dressed up for most anything or at least make sure my outfits, even a casual one, looked like I put some effort into it. As a older woman it is getting harder and harder to stand out, but I think when I am dressed in a nice outfit with my vintage hats, gloves, and nice jewelry I stand out more and in a positive way. I feel young and pretty again.

    So keep up the great work. You are an inspiration to us all. Maybe people like you can help bring back the age of the well dressed.

    • The Dressed Aesthetic (author)

      You are so sweet! Thank you. ☺️ I’m so glad to hear that you wear what you love and dress for yourself! To me, that’s the most important thing. Personally, I think it’s all about intention – why we dress a certain way. If we’re not wearing what we want because we feel we can’t or because we feel we “should” wear x,y,z. Both are equally harmful. Like you, I love getting dressed up and putting effort into myself. I know others who actually feel most like themselves in jeans or in boho chic or in wiggle dresses. The main thing to celebrate is how you feel the most beautiful and not limiting yourself (even subconsciously) by all of the “shoulds.” I feel so sad for your friend – I hope through your friendship she can find that she is so worth celebrating! xx

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