People are always trying to change the way they look. Whether it is putting on makeup, sweating away at the gym, or getting a new hairdo, there always seems to be a gap between the way we are and the way we want to be. Fitness is omnipresent in the cultural conversation, often exalted as the highest virtue attainable by the average person. And once again, it all comes down to appearances. There are other kinds of benefits to being fit – feeling good, being more healthy, having more energy throughout the day. But the #1 reason people exercise is to lose weight and look closer to their best image of themselves.
We will certainly not condemn the impulse to get healthy or eliminate excess fat, but it’s important to emphasize that there are other ways to achieve the appearance you want, without subjecting yourself to draconian diets and extreme weight loss regimens. For most of modern human history, people achieved the appearance they wanted through proper tailoring of their clothes. While some people still make clothing fit a priority, it has certainly lost its place in the average person’s life.
Properly fitted clothes can make anyone look good. We have only to look back at style icons such as Orson Welles to see how proper fitting can make even heavier people look distinguished and elegant. During the last decade of his life, it is generally accepted that Welles’ weight was over 400 pounds. However, due to impeccable tailoring (and a healthy dose of confidence and style sense), Welles never looked anything less than dashing. This sort of styling won’t work for just anybody, but it’s a model of how tailoring and perfect fit can have even greater results for a person’s appearance than peak physical condition.
Sixty years ago, sewing was a commonplace skill for most people to have. There was typically one or two members of every household who could take in a shirt, hem a pair of pants, or repair beloved old clothes that became damaged. Today, these are skills that have been lost to many. For some budget fashionistas, the lost art of sewing is being reclaimed.
Even if you don’t sew, and don’t care to learn, it’s important to find a way to achieve clothing fits that compliment your natural frame, whatever your level of fitness. Finding a great local tailor or other alterationist is the best way to accomplish this for people who don’t sew. For affordable prices, tailors can take clothes that fit so-so, and make them fit perfectly. It is a generally accepted maxim among tailors that fit has more to do with looking good in your clothes than color, material, or style.
It’s important to remember that in the quest to look your best, physical fitness is not the end-all be-all. It’s important to live a healthy lifestyle with regular attention to strength and agility. But humans also wear clothes for a reason – we want to be able to control our appearance without having to change our bodies. When we pay attention to both fit and fitness in our personal lives, we’ll look and feel a lot better, perhaps without having to strain and sweat quite so much.
Sewing – pixabay public domain
Orson Welles – Wikimedia public domain
Guest Author Bio
Stephen Jacobson is a freelance writer for ModestMoney.com. In addition to writing about finance he also covers a wide variety of other topics.