By Paxton Dolan
It’s not what’s on the outside, but what’s on the inside that counts. I recognize that this is a total cliché, but there’s a reason why it’s become one – because it’s true. We hear it all the time growing up, each time someone makes fun of our outfit, or the way we’ve styled our hair. “It’s not what’s on the outside, but what’s on the inside that counts.” Who cares what you’re clothes look like, as long as you’re a good person?
This opinion was instilled in me very early on by my parents. When I was in middle school, my family was struggling a lot financially. There was barely enough money for groceries, let alone the kind of clothes my classmates would consider “nice.” My jeans were all hand-me-downs from church, and were way too small for my chubby middle-school frame. So I compensated by wearing long, baggy shirts to hide them. Needless to say, I was nowhere near the most stylish kid on campus.
I learned very quickly that some people were willing to be friends with me in spite of my less-than-polished appearance, while others were not. And what I realized, was that the people who didn’t judge me solely on what I wore to school each day were exactly the kind of people I wanted as my friends.
I have nothing against people who dress well. In fact, now that I’m working and in college, I’ve been putting together a newer, cuter wardrobe of my own. I’ll admit that I enjoy wearing nice clothes, receiving compliments, and feeling good about the way my reflection looks in the mirror.
But what I can also admit is that for as many days as I put on a cute dress and style my hair, there are just as many days where I show up to class in leggings and a t-shirt, with my hair in a bun because I didn’t feel like brushing it. And that’s okay too.
I’m the same person on both days. The me in the dress with the cute braid is the same as the me in sweatpants and slippers. What I wear has no bearing on me as a person, and it shouldn’t have any bearing on the way that anyone else sees me. But I realize that all too often, it does.
I know that it is naive to hope that people won’t form opinions about others based on the way they are dressed. First impressions do matter, and appearance is a big part of that. What I want people to realize in reading this article is that appearance isn’t the only part worth considering.
There is so much more to people than the clothes they wear. So next time you see a girl wearing a shirt or jeans that don’t fit right, or a guy whose outfit is old-fashioned or doesn’t match, don’t just write them off. Get to know them. You may be surprised by what you find.
How you dress isn’t always a choice. Sometimes style is shaped by circumstance. Just remember that, as cliché as it is, the clothes don’t make the person. It’s not what’s on the outside, but what’s on the inside that counts.