Raven Smith makes the case for up-dressing

Go glam or go home.

Some things in life are guaranteed. If you watch too much Love Island, by mid-August you will predictably find yourself Googling tooth veneers and butt lifts. Your new white T-shirt cannot avoid stains. It will rain on your wedding day. The world will turn and there will be more The Fast and the Furious films. The golden rule is that, if you leave your house with lank, unwashed hair and wearing a crap sweatshirt, you will, without a doubt, bump into your ex. Not the ex you were lukewarm on and things just fizzled out. The big ex. The hot one who’s still hot (how?!) and has moved on from the relationship just fast enough for it to not feel rebound-y, and seems to be prospering without you.

Ideally, you want your ex lamenting the day they let you slip through their fingers – not thinking about how comfortable you looked in your Uggs. So I’d like to make the case for always up-dressing. It’s time to discard appropriate outfits and suitable ensembles. Comfort is the enemy of the well-dressed. Forget cosy. Forget elasticated waists. Choose outfits that outshine their applications. Why have cotton when you can be encrusted in sequins? Why have trackies when Stone Island metallic grey shell trousers exist? Never again be caught in a hoodie.

I’m sick of waiting for fancy parties to greenlight dressing fancy. How many times have you been invited to the opera this week, month or year? It’s time to wear the white tux to the pub.

They say dress for the job you want, but I’d suggest dressing for the glamorous night you deserve, like a cocktail-laced soirée that rolls into the wee hours until somebody else picks up the tab and ushers you towards an Uber Exec. This fairy tale should be at the forefront of your mind the moment you wake up and open your wardrobe. Would Prince Charming slip into adidas sweatpants and slides? Not likely. Would he opt for a sheer vest and Our Legacy velvet slacks? Maybe. Would he stink of Tobacco by Tom Ford? Definitely. Up-dressing never fails to leave you feeling great, like you’re a toilet that’s just been Cillit Banged.

Up-dressing gold-leafs the most mundane of tasks. Swapping your kickabout garments for party pieces is an espresso of self-esteem, raising the heart rate of your entire day. The utter luxury of leather trousers on the school run. Or Raf Simons at the post office. The insatiable arrogance of Gucci loafers as you arrange an overdraft. Some of you have never done the dishes in Dries Van Noten and it shows.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m down with dressing down. Comfy clothes have their place; who doesn’t love a day on the sofa in Juicy Couture? But I’m sick of waiting for fancy parties to greenlight dressing fancy. How many times have you been invited to the opera this week? Or month? Or year? It’s time to wear the white tux to the pub.

Saving your best for best is like saving all your laughter for the weekend, or saving all your pennies for a rainy day. Boring. If you splash out on nice clothes on payday, you’ll close the month eating pasta mixed with baked beans, but at least you’ll look fetch in Sainsbury’s. When Dorothy finally gets back to Kansas, she’d be foolish to mooch around in that tatty gingham dress. I want her nipping out for milk in the ruby red slippers.

Raven Smith is a freelance creative director and writer, and a Sunday Times Style columnist.


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