The question I posed last week — “Why do you want to look fab?” — generated a lot of very interesting responses. Not surprisingly, many readers saw fashion and style as an opportunity for self expression, whether that was expressing confidence, respect for others or one’s own personality. Several people talked about the way looking fab on the outside enhances the way they feel about themselves on the inside. The reaction of others was also a big factor.

Then there were some fascinating reasons that I didn’t touch on at all: looking fab as a catalyst for social interaction, the feel of great garments, and the process and ritual of looking fab as “me time” in a life where so much of the day is focused on the needs of others, for example.

Here are some excerpts from the comments:

“If you don’t care about yourself, why should anyone else”.

“I also like to dress well out of respect for others, or for the situation”.

“As a blind person, one of my primary goals is to be able to function in the sighted world and interact with my peers without feeling at a disadvantage. My clothes are a crucial way in which I help to define that interaction. For me it’s not enough to simply have clothes that don’t clash and aren’t marred with stains. If I want to be accepted in the sighted world, I better dress the part”.

“People are nicer to you when you’re dressed well!”

“I’ve concluded that the reason I want to look ‘fab’ is because I have decided that I am just as important as everyone else in my life”.

“Putting on a cute outfit (even when I had to practically force myself) was part of my journey to regaining my self-respect”.

“For me, how I dress is an expression of myself and my personality”.

“It gives me stuff to talk about with other women, like my coworkers. Basically, I don’t like to go out to bars and fancy places or watch girly films, but I feel like we all have our love of style in common”.

“The visual yes. but also the feel. the feel of a lovely material against your skin. the feel of solidly made quality boots cradling your feet. satiny, silky, soft, caressable, they’re some of the things that make clothing so vital to life”.

“It may be shallow but I wish to project the qualities of my character which I consider important”.

“Learning to dress well has turned out to be a great form of therapy… it has also done wonders for my body image too, so I’ll add that reason”.

“I am afraid my need to look fab is deeply rooted in wanting to fit in, and avoid horrible embarrassment!”

“I am a quiet, reserved individual, but I enjoy people. My clothing items and accessories give people a reason to approach and speak to me, which means I can enjoy interacting with people even while they are the ones doing the initial approaching. I’m working on becoming more outgoing and expressive, but in the meantime, anything I can do to open the door to others and then be receptive when they approach, the better that is for me too”.

“As a stay at home mom of two young boys, getting dressed and doing my hair is my ‘me’ time”.

“I’ve realized that caring about style doesn’t take away from anyone else’s happiness, it may even add to it in a small way. It doesn’t have to get in the way of helping others, in fact it makes me a more powerful advocate”.

Food for thought.