Artifact #3- The Art of Personal Adornment

Topic: The Art of Personal Adornment


Course Objectives:

-Evaluate personal values and paradigms around body decoration and physical beauty

-Investigate how physical appearance affects definitions of identity and belonging

-Analyze values and belief systems of physical appearance across cultures, sub-cultures and generations

Artifact: Personal Adornment Reflection:

For this assignment, we were to reflect on how we dress and customize ourselves. We also incorporated how our family and community has had an impact on our beliefs and values regarding dress.

I have grown up with a lot of beliefs and values, but very few related to dress. I don’t think much about dress because I feel that there are way more important things in life. When it comes to my beliefs and values, I have always been a huge believer in the idea that less is more. I don’t wear a lot of makeup, I have never dyed my hair, and I dress pretty conservatively. I don’t have any body piercings, although I did at one time, and I have no tattoos. I do believe to some extent that your looks reflect who you are, as unfair as that may be. I feel like that is why I tend to dress more plain than out there. Material things are not a priority for me, so I have never been into fashion. I don’t spend the time or money getting my hair or nails done, or applying a lot of makeup because looks aren’t that important to me. I dress conservatively because I want people to respect me. I think it is important to be able to see your employer on the street, and not be worried that you are dressed inappropriately. I really value my body and that is why I have never gotten a tattoo. I don’t judge others who get tattoos and I have many friends with them. For me personally, nothing is important enough to me to permanently ink on my body.

A lot of the choices I make concerning dress have to do with my family and friends as well as beliefs I have developed through experience. I knew a lot of girls in high school who wore small amounts of clothing, wore a lot of makeup, and they didn’t always get the respect they deserved because of it. Seeing things like this has really shaped my beliefs. I also come from a town where conservative meant classy. Girls were called tramps if they showed a lot of skin, cleavage, or had tattoos. I went through a stage in high school where I loved getting piercings. I got my belly button, nose, cartilage pierced in the same school year. For me it was a way to break out and do something exciting, exert my independence and show that I was old enough to make my own decisions.

My dad is very conservative while my mom has been on the crazier side, so I have experienced both worlds. My dad is very successful and respected, so I value his opinions on how a girl should dress. I grew up seeing my mom get different tattoos and they just never looked good to me. The friends I surround myself with vary. I have a lot of friends who are like me and don’t care much about what they wear because it is not a priority. I also have friends who love going shopping, dressing up, and taking the extra time to make sure their hair and makeup is perfect. I think that another big reason I dress the way I do is from seeing these friends. It is more fun hanging out with the people who don’t care, because we can run around and not worry about ruining our hair, or having uncomfortable shoes. The more fashionable friends take forever to get ready which causes the rest of us to wait around. I understand not wanting to look grubby, but I personally believe life is too short to spend it worrying about how you look. I choose to wear clothes that flatter my body, aren’t too revealing, but are comfortable and practical at the same time. This gives me the respect I deserve while allowing me to live my life to the fullest and most fun.


I found this unit to be very interesting because the way we adorn ourselves is a huge aspect of our society. As I mentioned in my post, the way I dress has never been a concern for me, therefore I have never taken the time to think about it. Taking the time to reflect on the way I dress helped me assess my personal values and decide if I am being the person I truly want to be. I certainly don’t want to be the stuck-up and materialistic girl whose looks are everything to her. Nor do I want to be the completely sloppy and dirty looking girl who doesn’t demand respect. Through this assignment, I decided that I am a happy medium between these two and I am very content with that.

This assignment definitely helped me investigate how appearance affects identity and belonging. Like I said in my post, I tend to get along with the people who dress more like me. I feel like I fit in more with those people and that we can partake in the same interests. Although I don’t care about dress myself, I have realized that I still judge others on how they dress. Although I don’t act on these judgments, other people do. People don’t get jobs because of the way the look and don’t get treated the same based on how they look. This completely affects their sense of belonging in society and if they don’t conform to our societies standards, they feel like they don’t fit in.

This assignment really made me realize how important it is to treat everybody with respect no matter what they look like because everybody has a different idea of what looks good. New styles are introduced to each generation and the styles are constantly changing. It is important to remember that everybody comes from a different place. The styles I have learned growing up in Oregon are totally different from those across the country and across the ocean. Everybody has learned their own values and beliefs regarding dress, so we should be accepting of it all. Beauty is truly only skin deep and we should treat it that way.

Learning goals for the future:

After analyzing my own values and beliefs about style and reading through my classmates values and beliefs, I would like to learn more about style cross-culturally. I feel like a lot could be learned from doing this because our culture tends to place a lot more emphasis on looks than do other cultures. I would also like to learn to disregard the media and the roles they play in values of dress. It is so hard to get sucked in to stereotypes about looking good, and learning to get passed that would benefit my self-esteem and my spirit.

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