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Have you ever wondered how being the worst dressed at a party could save you a couple of months of your life?

And likely some tears and nerves, too.

Let me explain what I mean, and you’ll thank me later: Imagine you’re invited to a party and you feel like wearing something dazzling. Research done on the motives behind our dressing asks the question: Do we make these decisions consciously?

Be that as it may, while choosing what to wear, we should be aware of one thing: If you are confident enough to walk into the room looking mesmerizingly beautiful, just keep in mind there will be those only into your appearance.

Well, we don’t want that… But, what does this mean? Are we not to wear bold colors or dashing cuts like… ever?! I asked an expert, Ana Filip Nikolić, a Psychotherapist and Master of Psychology, what it was all about.

“What could happen is that if you dress in an eye-catching manner, you could appeal to the type of people that are typically only drawn to that”, says Ana, a licenced psychotherapist with over five years of practice, “it might have to do with seeking trophies more so than genuine connection with another.”

Well, that’s no good and, unless you’ve gone out with one thought of getting a simple morale boost out of it, you could end up feeling disillusioned.

Writing’s on the wall… It won’t go away

People with narcissistic tendencies tend to become overly defensive when they perceive someone as a threat to their extremely fragile self-esteem. For example, if wearing a striking outfit gives you a confidence boost and makes you walk into a room like you own it, you will be deemed as dangerous, or, for a mind more prone to gameplaying, a challenge. They will be drawn to your self-esteem as a moth to a flame, and will want to get your attention, the conclusion being the same: It is a game, and the challenge is accepted. 

Mr. In-love-with-his-reflection could assess you as a “higher status individual”. According to this study, they will try to make you like them, because their whole idea is to get under the skin of somebody who they estimate as worthy. It is usually a romanticized, one-dimensional image of a person that hasn’t got much to do with reality.

It’s because they need you to reflect their overinflated view of self. In fact, as the myth of Narcissus goes to show: you are gorgeous on the outside (and on the inside, too) and they will make it their priority to charm you, because they need you to serve as their mirror. They believe the dreamed up idealization of you is a representation of their inner image of self, and if they mesmerize you, they can admire their own reflection in you to their heart’s content. Or, you know, until the cycle reaches the stage of devaluation. 

What does this mean?

Each and every one of us is made up of a complex set of traits. Empathy, kindness and generosity are parts of it, but not the whole puzzle. And the thing with Mr. Always Right is that they are not comfortable with their own vulnerabilities and flaws, and thus cannot tolerate them within a partner either. 

Even though having “big dress energy” and the striking fearlessness that follows does instantly make you interesting to someone who is solely attracted by appearances, it does not mean you will fall for it. In fact, after some time, you will become better at noticing the telltale signs and keeping your expectations in check.  

“You are entitled to dress however you please, but you should be aware that there is a possibility you’ll attract those only into looks. However, if you are seeking authentic connection, in order to avoid being disappointed, you could try going on a date or another type of social gathering dressed a bit more casually”, Ana continues perceptively, “and watch the guy’s reaction. Ideally, he is not going to care how you’re dressed, and this could show that he is interested in you as a whole, rather than in isolated parts of your personality.”

Does this ever happen, I wonder out loud.

“Oh, absolutely”, Ana concludes with a smile.

A special thanks to Ana Filip Nikolic, @psiholoskasoljica on Instagram.

Teodora Vujic

Author Teodora Vujic

Teodora is a French-speaking, aspiring stylist with a zest for writing. She strongly believes in prioritizing mental health and strives to contribute to the de-stigmatization of this important aspect of everyday life. When she's not being taught boundaries by her cat, she is having drinks with friends or managing her insta @teo.dora.vujic.

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