Competition is a part of life; there really is no escaping it. From fighting the sweaty suits for a seat on the tube, to stepping over a colleague for that elusive pay rise – you really have no choice but to participate or you’ll simply be left standing and struggling to pay the rent.
I do however have a genuine fear of competition based on one’s appearance. Beauty contests, talent quests and bride of the year style events tend to frighten me. Actually I try to stay as far away from any type of competition or pageant as I possibly can. Considering I now write on a public space open to criticism and negative comments and the fact that I spent a good 80% of my childhood on the stage, I am unsure of how I can justify this phobia. Regardless, fashion competitions always seem to evoke a knee shaking, hand trembling reaction from me.
While some women say they dress for themselves, others dress for the man in their life. The most astonishing for me are those women who declare they dress for other women. The thought of dressing for a special event with the intention of being scrutinized and criticized by other attendees makes me super uneasy and somewhat squeamish. I have always dressed purely for myself. I dress for the fun of it and I dress because it makes me feel special. I know full well that the boyfriend does not appreciate every outfit I arrive in. I also know for a fact that now and then he thinks ”what on earth is she wearing?”, but if it makes me feel good, I wear it.
As you all know just recently, I attended the fashion race day of the year and lets be honest there was some hefty competition on that field. In the lead up to the event, I was very much looking forward to the style stakes including the royal crowd with their royal bank accounts, conservative suits and designer headwear. I knew I would be in the presence of many stylish ensembles, but in planning my own outfit, I didn’t allow myself to be swayed by what others would be wearing. If there is one rule I always follow, it is that my event attire is styled by me and styled for me. I may ask the opinion of a sales assistant, a flat mate or send a quick Iphoto to my Mum for approval but at the end of the day their comments will not reflect my final decision. If I like it, if I feel special in it, then in my eyes, it’s a winner!
When putting together my outfit for Ascot, not once did I consider that I may be ‘judged’. Naïve perhaps? Maybe…… We all know that women judge women, whether we are vocal about it or not. But choosing to be judged is another matter. Wearing a number and standing on a platform while a group of women in large hats judge who they think is the best dressed is quite unnerving for yours truly. This is not to say that I don’t completely appreciate (and possibly envy) those who have the courage and self-assurance to put themselves forward. A family friend recently stood at the top of the fashion dais at an exclusive race day down under and by my standard she looks simply stunning. She is however “a winner” in all she does, a true achiever and a champion at many things. This young beauty is old hat at winning fashions on many a field and has been Belle at many a ball. I think she would put Kate and Chelsea to shame with this outstanding black and white combination. Kudos to the ladies who line up to be judged. I could only hope for this type of confidence. This year at Ascot, I was happy wearing my frock minus the line up and wrist number. Besides, I would have got sun burnt up on that podium.