Keeping up appearances

Even though this has been a very busy month, I’ve lots of things coming up and lots to think about and organise, I rarely feel like writing about any of it.
When I’m like this, rather than not blog at all, I like to write something that will hopefully get people thinking, debating and posting their comments and opinions.

How important is your appearance when you are blind?

People have individual opinions about how they should dress, how much make-up to put on and what is fashonable. Some people put lots of time and effort into dressing up and getting ready each day, while others just aren’t interested. This is true whether you have sight or not, so it isn’t necessarily a visual thing.

Some people who are blind have no interest in colour or style of clothes, because they can’t see, so why would it matter? Why should they put on make-up when they can’t look in the mirror and admire it, or feel that they can’t put it on themselves without making a mess of it. They can’t see themselves, so why bother putting so much effort in when it doesn’t matter what they look like. As long as they are comfortable with what they ware, why does it matter to anybody else? Isn’t your personality more important than what you look like?

Other blind people feel strongly about how they present themselves in public, because image is important whether we like it or not. They want to look well-dressed for work, special ocasions etc, just like sighted people do. They believe that the fact that they are blind shouldn’t mean that they take no interest in how they look and present themselves. This gives an impression that blind people aren’t capable of co-ordinating their style and looking trendy. Blind people often get enough unwanted attention because of mobility aids etc, so why attract more with an unmatching dress sense? These people believe that dressing well and putting time and effort into your appearance makes you feel more confident and happy, therefore having a positive effect on your every day life.

We live in a sighted world, and regularly spend more time in the company of sighted people. Do we sometimes pay attention to our appearance because of peer pressure so we fit in? In an ideal world, people would judge others by getting to know them and their personalities, not by their appearance, but in reality this doesn’t happen. People make instant judgements about others based on their appearance, whether they mean to or not. Your appearance says a lot about the type of person you are, and the sighted world can be cruel.
Is it important to conform to this world to fit in, or can you have your own individual style without it ever being an issue?
If you don’t enjoy spending time buying clothes or make-up, and taking at least an hour to get ready for a night out, is it because you genuinely aren’t interested, or is it because you can’t see, so what’s the point?

Discuss πŸ™‚

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12 thoughts on “Keeping up appearances

  1. I don't really care what I wear. My sis would say things like oh you can't wear that, but it's like who cares! All i care about is comfort.One day i was at this confidence thing. The woman put some make up on me, and I couldn't wait to get it off! My skin felt all heavy afterwards. I never wear it at all. If i'm going on a night out, i will be ready in about half an hour. Basically includes brushing/washing face again/putting on perfume and that's me.Take care, and great topic! I don't think we should have to conform with the sighted world though. If we want to yeah, but can we not just be comfortable? Xxx.

  2. Very interesting topic! I absolutely hate shopping for clothes and am definitely more interested in comfort than style.I used to be totally unconcerned about my image. If my mom hadn't supervised me, I would never comb my hair or wash my face. But Mom has gradually helped me understand over the years that sighted people unfortunately will judge me by my appearance. So now I am diligent about brushing my hair and asking to make sure my clothes match, but that is as far as I take this consciousness about my appearance. I only wear makeup or get my nails done for VERY special events like my sister's wedding, and I don't do my hair fancy or wear any kind of jewlry because I agree with the philosophy that if you cannot see yourself, what is the point?

  3. Good topic Jen however you've already made both sides of the arguement. hahaha. What more is there to say? Hmmmmm. I think appearance is particularly important to me. It is absolutely vital that I dress, look, walk, talk and interact in a way that conforms to the norm as much as possible. In fact, just like we need to work that little bit harder at times to achieve that level of required equality, I think at times I personally need to work that bit harder on my personal appearance to ensure as much as possible that I'm seen as equal to everyone else. I fully admit that this is possibly pressure that I unduely place on my self but I work along side a minimum of 20 people in this office with hundreds in the company over all. I'm in a demanding job that is highly compeditive and it's important to me that the impact of not being able to see begins and ends with my eyes not working. It cant impact my work or my social life or how can I expect to compete or be measured at the same level of others in this company and industry? I also don't think it's all that difficult to find a nice balance between functional / comfortable / fashion or design. Speaking from a mans perspective, I hate shopping. Fortunately, I'm really lucky. I have a few friends who love it! One in particular knows at this stage what I like and what I don't. She ocasionally nags me when she wants to do some shopping without spending her own money. I also have a great relationship with a number of shops around Drogheda such as jack and Jones and even River island. Outside work, I like playing around with different styles. I move between different fads. Sometimes I like the whole jeans, t-shirt and leather jacket look. In fact, that's what I'm currently wearing when I'm outside work. I also change to the more smart casual look with the suit jacket / blazer, shirt and jeans. Of course, sometimes I'm just lazy and I'll wear a light jumper over the t-shirt. I like doing that actually because it's a bit easier to contrast colors that way. For the color identifier I use an app on the iPhone. It's not great but it does the job most times. Failing that, I've been known to either ask Emma or call someone to show them the picture on the phone. That's something that's probably important to mention. I'm particularly stubbbern when it comes to independents. This, I admit, has a negative impact on my ability to do things from time to time. I hate asking people to look at things so I'll only do it if I have absolutely no option. I've had many a debate with both blind and sighted people over this sillyness. I admit I shouldn't do it but I cant help it. Uups. I didn't mean to write so much. Jen, one final note, Emma actually commented to me a few weeks ago that she was very impressed with you. She said you looked great and you obviously took pride in the way you looked. Fair play.

  4. Darragh I was thinking of you and the body language conversation we had, when I was writing this, and knew that if you replied, your comment would be interesting!I've got an image of a very trendy, smart looking Darragh now!And thanks Emma! πŸ™‚ I'm sure you have some very cool clothes yourself!I have a sister who adores clothes shopping, even if its not for her, so I suppose between her and my friends, I have enough people to tell me if something suits me or not. Maybe if I didn't have people like this, I'd find it harder to trust my own ability to pick clothes, and not care so much about what I wear.I usually remember which things match because I bought them together or wore them before, not because of their colours.I can't stand not being comfortable though, so things like heels, which I'd need because I'm so small are just out of the question!

  5. Guess what i'm going to say!There is no reason why visually impaired people can't be comfortable and fashionable at the same time. Fact!It breaks my heart when blinkies are dressed in an awful baggy t-shirt and jeans thatdoes nothing for them, making them look frumpy! I find it impossible to understand why you would want to look like a tramp! So what if you can't see, don't you feel good when you're wearing a nice pair of jeans thatfit securely, enhancing your right body parts and maybe with a nice belt? Don't you try and shop through touch instead? Something with a interesting pattern or variety of texture? Dressing fashionabley doesn't have to be expensive or difficult.I really can't write this in a short way, but you get my point!Oh and as for heels, wear wedges much easier to walk in, they're back in fashion and you still get the height.

  6. Selina I knew you'd be interested in this one too!I wore wedges a couple of weeks ago, and was sstill able to just about run after Darragh and his dog, so yes they are great inventions!Do you use much make-up? Do you use it the same as you did when you had sight? I don't trust myself with eye make-up but let people put it on me if I'm getting dressed up and there's a sighted person to get ready with.

  7. I never wore much make up when I could see and don't really wear it much now unless going out somewhere nice. Make up doesn't really work when you're always sweaty in the gym or running! I can do lipstick fine and eye shadow ok if I use my finger instead of a bud. I can't paint my own nails, but get my mum to do them quite alot.Am I ok to link to this post from my blog? I'm gonna do a similar one and also link to a website for visually impaired people to keep up their appearences!

  8. Hi Jen, I don't really have much to add to this conversation, but totally agree with Darragh and Selina. I lost my sight when I was 13 so the importance of matching and looking good was pretty much already entrenched in my brain, but even when I'm just hanging out around the house I find the need to match. I may just wear pjs for the day, but they have to match and there are never stains or tears in any of my clothes :)I guess a really good example of how I worry about appearances is that I have a pair of jeans I love wearing and they feel as though they are beginning to wear so I told Huib we needed to go jeans shopping. he said they look fine and probably feel worse than they are, but I refuse to wear them outside of the house and got new jeans for public view πŸ™‚

  9. Selina, link to the post if you want, no problem!Darragh, I've heard your eye make-up is really good :)Brooke I'm the same as you, and even hate pyjamas that don't match! Even my friends who can see think I'm strange!

  10. God, its been ages Jen since I caught up on the blog and yes, this is an interesting post and I think you and I chatted about this a bit before also. Selina and Darragh I totally agree with in different ways. Darragh, first off as a long time friend, don't be so stubbern. I think that its totally reasonable to ask for help every now and again. I have no problem with it and my mother will help me a lot with matching clothes or even my sister if I needed her too. I am very conscious of this and need to know that I am waring something acceptable for the occasion. This could be work or a night out. I am a shirt and jeans or trowsers man and in the summer maybe teashirts but very rarely would I ware runners. I do have some though. I don't have a beard and can't stand them and love to have a clean appearance and I am a big fan of perfumes and stuff like that so nice smelling aftershave is usually in order. I love when people complement me on my clothes. Its not to get a big head or anything but just to know that people think I look well. Unfortunately it has been said to me in the past and some people won't like this, that some blind people wouldn't appear the best cause they wouldn't have bothered much with their appearance and yes, it will give off a negative vibe to sighted people. Jen, on the same occasion that I know Darragh is talking about where Emma was talking about you others actually commented to me after how nice you looked also. Sorry also if I have written too much on this one. I could probably write a lot more on this cause its just something that is just so important to me.

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