At the staging area for Mt Fuji there are many types of people. There are the climbers getting ready to ascend, and the climbers who have just come back from the rugged mountain trails. There are bicyclists who have biked into the space, and tourist buses full or sight seeers. As I was getting my strength back from having finished our climb, I was people watching. The young woman wearing the pretty black dress, fashion accessories and stylish hair caught my eye. She seemed to be out of place with all the hikers and outdoorsy types. Yet she was walking full of confidence and enjoying the area just like everyone else. 

I thought about her standing in front of her mirror deciding what to wear today. She knew she was going to walk around Mt Fuji, and this is the outfit she chose. She looked absolutely beautiful. A fashionista all the way. Everything about her exudes style and confidence. I liked the fact that she carried herself with confidence, and no one who saw her had any doubt that she was wearing it all to perfection. And yet in this location she stands out because everyone else is dressed to tackle the mountain while she is dressed to look her best. 

I then thought about personal style and where it starts and stops. Do we only dress when we think other people will see us, or do we dress for ourselves no matter who sees us? Do we wear clothes because we like them, because other people like them, or simply to cover our bodies? Do our wardrobes reflect who we are or simply the fashions of the time? Do we buy clothes because they suit our activities – biking jersey and shorts for cycling, hiking boots and cool clothing for climbing? Or do we wear what is socially acceptable? 

I grew up in the dress for success era where suits were the standard fashion for women in the office. When we wore clothes to be accepted by our colleagues and present the image we wanted people to see in our work. I still think that is important, yet in this world of virtual meetings, conference calls, and online discussions does it really matter what someone is wearing? Do we need to dress for work, play, or time with family or friends differently because they will actually see us? Or would we dress that way whether we are seen or not? What does it say when we do or don’t care what we are wearing? When do we wear our nice clothes – only for special occasions, or do we dress in our nice clothes so we feel good no matter who sees us? 

I admired the fact that this young woman wanted to be seen this way, whether she fit into the climbing arena or not. My guess is she walked and admired the view but did not climb much of anything. And good for her for wanting to look her best no matter the situation.  She felt confident and her outfit showed it. Next time you are getting dressed, think about why you are choosing what you are choosing to wear. I would encourage you to dress so you feel good, no matter what anyone else thinks. Let the clothes you put on your body make you feel good about being you, no matter where you go or what you might do. In the end it is what you think that really matters.