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Image conscious?

Posing with a horse and trap

As usual, I went out taking photographs yesterday. This was the Frying Pan pub in Darlaston, where the horse owners meet on a Sunday afternoon. The children were keen to have their photos taken yesterday.

I have noticed that young children aren’t very image conscious, their parents take care of that for them. As they grow older they become more aware of their appearance. I noticed a lot of people wearing caps yesterday, that seems to be part of that cultural image associated with owning horses.

Am I image conscious? I seem to be more recognisable as the photographer if I wear my hat and it keeps the sun out of my eyes a little too. Last week I wore designer jeans and a trendy Twisted Souls tee shirt. Did anyone notice? I doubt it! They do notice the cheap hat though!

Do we need to spend a fortune on our image? People do spend a lot of money on clothes and accessories. Women will show off their Gucci handbags with pride as they promenade through the fashionable streets of London, Paris and Nice. You don’t see quite so much Gucci and Prada in the Black Country though.

I think people like to promenade and show off a little. Whether it’s the beautiful people of Paris or the horse owners of the Black Country parading through the streets on a Sunday afternoon. They are saying ‘look at me’.

It is about acceptability, we all want to be accepted and liked. The Facebook likes are important to people, they are now part of the social fabric of society, helping people feel accepted by the tribe. Even this blog has ‘like’ buttons, not that anyone uses them much!

If people overdo the image thing, it can have the reverse effect. It can look quite arrogant. Turning up in a Rolls Royce dressed in the latest designer clothes can look quite pretentious. In a form of inverted snobbery, you can do the exact opposite and look typically working class. Turn up in a cloth cap on push bike! I suppose my Twisted Souls grandad tee shirt was so unfashionable as to be quite trendy!

Accessories like jewellery have always been popular with the image conscious. These days it’s more, as accessories extend to the label on your clothes and the make of your mobile phone.

Presenting an acceptable image can be about equality, just making a statement that you are as good as anyone else. It can often be a statement of superiority, if you happen to wear a crown on your head or wear a uniform.

Our image, if we are aware of it, can make us feel more confident and less insecure. I suppose, being image conscious is all about our insecurities. Should we pander to them and dress to impress? I think it’s fine within reason, but I don’t really think we need new clothes for every occasion. Vanity isn’t usually regarded as a good thing, but pride in one’s appearance is.

What do you think? Are you image conscious? Have you say in the comments box. You can also follow me on Twitter.

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