It’s all over the magazines, frequently featured on television, and even some newspapers are in on the game. Advice on what to wear and what not to wear. The people we surround ourselves with tend to be all too happy to share their thoughts on our outfits. It’s hard to avoid, because the message is everywhere, and if we do not follow the trend, we’re told we’ve “let ourselves go”.

But does it really matter? After all, the main purpose of clothing is to keep us warm and safe from the environment that surrounds us. Clothes are meant to be functional. Without fur or feathers to keep us comfortable, we rely on different materials to do the job for us. It certainly is nice when clothes look attractive, but no matter how appealing something is, if it does not feel pleasant against the skin and if it is a pain to wear, why should we subject ourselves to it simply because it’s fashion?

One fashion statement has divided women’s opinions for decades – the high heel shoe. Some women wear them because it’s generally thought that they make legs look good. Some wear them because they make you look taller. Some actually find them comfortable to wear, while others can not manage to walk more than a few steps in them without twisting an ankle. They can cause foot problems, leg and back pain, all in the name of fashion. Is it worth it?

The answer is not as straightforward as it looks. Generally speaking, the older we get, the less we care about what’s in and what’s out. We’ve decided on what we like to wear and what we feel comfortable in, so when we go on a shopping spree, we’re likely to get more of the same or similar. We may get the occasional “fancy” item for special occasions, but if we like our jeans and trainers, that’s what we will return to on a day to day basis.

Like any industry, fashion is about money. The constant change in trends that makes people change the content of their wardrobes through the year is designed to keep us spending our cash. If fashion magazines told us that the latest must-have is, in fact, the same must-have as last year, and the year before that, people would only replace that item if it were damaged or if it did not fit anymore. To keep customers on their toes, and to keep people in the industry in work, fashion must keep evolving.

That does not mean that we have to follow along. Not unless we want to. There’s no point in purchasing clothes just because they’re trendy if we can not afford or long to do so. Yes, pretty clothes can help when we want to attract a partner, but without that partner is part of the fashion industry or someone who follows the latest trends to the dot, they’re unlicensed to care all that much.

My advice is to go for what you like, regardless of what the media tell you to wear. If you want to look good, just about anything will work if it’s suitable for your body type and skintone. If you like to dress to impress, go for it. If you like your high heels, go for it (although I would not wear them all the time – give your feet the break they deserve). If you like your clothes made for comfort, feel free. Do not let anyone tell you you’ve let yourself go just because you like your hooded tops. They do not have to wear them.

Everyone should be free to dress how they like. If you like what you wear, it helps you feel confident, and that’s far more attractive than the latest designer dress.