When you walk into a room, before a single word is even muttered, people are able to formulate an opinion based on the physical alone. As the saying goes, first impressions—unwarranted as they may be—are everything. Our appearance speaks volumes about our personalities, careers, financial means, personal hygiene, etc. And the garments we choose to wear become a billboard—so to speak—for the statement that we are trying to make on any given day. I’ve found that in many circumstances, though, people’s “billboards” don’t coincide with the message they aim to convey or their true feelings. And thus, false advertising is the result.

False advertising, as I like to call it, is very common and applies to many different kinds of people. For some, it is done inadvertently; a simple oversight or subconscious disregard. But for others, it’s very strategic and a part of their grand scheme to depict an image that may not necessarily be realistic.

The Tease
Consider the woman who never leaves the house without some serious skin showing. Cleavage, leg, plunging back, side boob; you name it—she’s flaunting it! She dare not step out with a heel less than four inches high, push up bra, and a little (lotta) bit of spandex. And she walks confidently with her nose in the air; nothing anyone can say or do will keep her from believing that she’s That Chick. But see, there’s a twist. If she catches a girl even looking in her direction she’s quick to pop off. Or even worse, let a guy try to approach her or compliment her on the voluptuous figure she’s so proudly displayed. Nope—they don’t stand a chance. She balls her face, rolls her eyes, and pops her neck in utter disgust, as if the guy were wrong for noticing. But when you’re half-naked in public, what exactly do you expect? The outfit is selling sex but her attitude says something totally different. False Advertising.

Keeping Up With the Joneses
There’s also the girl who makes it her point to be on top of everything fashion. Latest, greatest, most exclusive—she’s got to have it. But what she doesn’t have, is the true means. You see, this girl makes it her point to keep up with the magazines, fashion blogs, and celebs as best she can, and at whatever cost. She lives a clouded fantasy in which clothing and shoes come first. True responsibilities, bills, living expenses, and the like, are an after thought, because when the weekend rolls around, she’s got to be the flyest chick in the club. A new dress every week, but her phone may or may not be cut off for the majority of the month. The “it” bag on her shoulder, but all five of her credit cards may or may not be overdue and past the credit limit. But she’s fly, though. Yes, she is fly. False Advertising.

The Andrea
I’ll never forget the scene in “The Devil Wears Prada” when Andrea makes the mistake of laughing at the similarity between two belts and calling fashion “stuff” in Miranda’s presence. But the truth was that as much as she tried to deny the importance of clothing, Andy was obsessed with the world of fashion and in utter awe of the girls who got it right. The “Andrea” is that girl who shuns style and belittles those who are fully involved with all things pretty. On the outside, she’s a Plain Jane, Frugal Fanny, Boring Brenda; and she’d have you believe that that’s just they way she likes it. But on the inside, she’s a fashion-loving girlie-girl who is simply scared to experiment with her look. Perhaps she was once a tomboy, or has difficulty finding garments to fit her particular shape. She yearns to let go and give in to all the fun that clothing and accessories have to offer, but just doesn’t know where to begin. So instead, she turns her nose up as a defense mechanism. False Advertising.

Have you seen any deceiving wardrobe “billboards” lately? Do tell!

– Chelsea Smith

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