After talking to entrepreneur and fashion blogger Marci Mason about her dress practices I have come to understand the importance of having a diverse wardrobe filled with both high-end classic pieces mixed in with lower-end fast fashion trend pieces. Ms. Mason spoke about the importance of always looking polished and appearing “put together” because even though it’s not right, people will always judge you based off of what you wear. We discussed how her style has evolved after becoming a mother and after getting divorced and the importance of functionality in clothing. The 44-year-old mother of two balances a busy social schedule, meetings, and numerous responsibilities while also attempting to start her very own retail venture “My’lin James”. Her wardrobe, like many other women’s, reflects this busy lifestyle and is often comprised of denim paired with a tailored blazer. Her style is classic, fresh, and always fashionable. While clothing and fashion is a huge part of her daily life and her career, Mason prioritizes self-help, well being and family time above all else. Her Instagram stories often consist of daily motivational quotes in between her workout sessions while always looking polished and cute.
I think it is important to highlight how fashion started as an interest and passion for Mason and has now become a lucrative career opportunity that she is building. Even though she is a “fashionista” in every sense of the word, Mason is, at her core, a smart businesswoman who studied finance in college. She is practical and savvy and knows how to turn a love for clothes into a full-fledged retail venture.
While I don’t have the same access to clothing that she does, I feel that we have a similar approach to clothing and dress practice. We both understand the importance of perception and making sure that we always look put together no matter what the occasion is. Both of us strive to always be our best selves and we want our clothing to reflect that. That being said, we do not dress for other people, we use clothing and our appearance as a tool to capitalize on a situation and make sure that it does not hinder our daily tasks and goals. However, being that I am male, I do not face a lot of the same concerns when I get dressed in the morning. I do not have to worry about coming off too sexy or factoring in how my position in life is seen by others but by being conscious of it, Ms. Mason controls the narrative in what she wears. As Joanne Entwistle states in The Dressed Body, “The dressed body is a fleshy, phenomenological entity that is so much a part of our experience of the social world and so thoroughly embedded within the micro-dynamics of social order, as to be entirely taken for granted.”¹ Mason takes control of this entity by consciously choosing how she wants to be represented in society. She understands that despite how wrong it might be, people do judge based on appearance and she does not want her’s to come in-between her and success. Clothing speaks volumes and is a major player in our social experience, it shapes how people interact with us and it is our responsibility to control this narrative and use it to our advantage. Because as Erving Goffman has said, “We are all just actors trying to control and manage our public image,”² and fashion acts as our costume.
¹ Joanne Entwistle, “The Dressed Body,” Body Dressing Dress, Body, Culture, 2002, 135, accessed March 12, 2019, doi:10.2752/9780857854032/bodress0006.
² Erving Goffman, The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life (New York: Anchor Books, 2008).
Entwistle, Joanne. “The Dressed Body.” Body Dressing Dress, Body, Culture, 2002, 133-50. Accessed March 12, 2019. doi:10.2752/9780857854032/bodress0006.
Goffman, Erving. The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. New York: Anchor Books, 2008.