You may remember this post where I talked about wearing clothes that were still casual (think cotton) but were just a little nicer than shorts. I was surprised that others took notice. At work, I tend to wear dresses. To me, they’re actually more comfortable than pants are (I’m hippy), but they truly do take things up a notch.
The past several times that I’ve gone to WalMart, I’ve done so right after work. I’m there in my mid-high heels and my dress. Nothing super special. For about five times in a row now I’ve been complimented by strangers on looking nice. Usually by the end of the day, my makeup is a blur, and my hair isn’t the way I had it in the morning. They’re not necessarily inferring “pretty.” They were simply saying the appreciated that I wasn’t there with wet hair and shorts with “juicy” written across.
Our culture has become increasingly casual – to the point where someone in a simple cotton dress is noticed. Can I tell you my secret? I have about seven dresses. That’s all I wear to work. It keeps my closet cleaner. I prefer a minimalistic approach to living. I have two pair of earrings that I wear regularly. I also have a necklace that goes with about four of my dresses. I’m no Kate Middleton. I just do what works for me, but I truly do not think stepping up how we dress is any extra effort at all. As I explained in the first post where I talked about attire, putting on a skirt is really no extra effort than shorts. I’m not turning cartwheels, so I’m not worried about anything in that arena. My top is still a cotton top. It’s still very simple.
I do feel, though, right or wrong, we make an impression on others by how we look. I try to dress my best and for what’s appropriate, and I expect the same for my family. I want my kids to understand that taking a little time on our appearance isn’t vain. It is actually showing respect for ourselves and respect for others.
Thank you for reading! I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Back in June my mother-in-law gifted me tickets to see Tosca. I had never been to the opera before, and I was thrilled to go. I remember being in FCCLA (Family, Career and Community Leaders of America….formerly FHA) and hearing from a girl whose grandfather would take her a couple of times a year to the opera. Each time he bought her a new gown – that’s right, not dress but gown. He would take her out to eat, open the door for her, etc. Essentially, she was queen for a night. She had a very bad upbringing from an abusive father, and this was her grandfather’s way of showing her her worth.
I think we tend to believe that dressing well is vanity. It truly should not be. It can be part of the experience and a way to show respect to others. Given that I had not been to the opera, I immediately began to plan what to wear (well, immediately after I wrote a thank you note). None of my post-baby dresses would quite qualify as a gown. The opera we were going to started at 7pm, the height of formality for shows. My husband has a nice three-piece suit that almost could pass for a tuxedo when he uses his bow tie instead of a straight tie – perfect for the opera. I finally decided on a black lace dress that hits about calf-level. While not full-length, it was cocktail-style and would just have to do. I added hose and classic pumps, but I still worried about being inappropriately dressed.
I take dressing seriously, as I do consider it respect for others. One of my favorite (and most well-known) restaurants in New Orleans is Commander’s Palace. Jackets are required for dinner. At Galatoire’s, another classic place, they will provide one for you if you come nekkid, as they worded it to one man. I found this ironic, as they’re next to a strip club on Bourbon St. I digress. I honestly did worry about my dress….until I arrived. Imagine my surprise (and disappointment) when there were men and women in jeans. They looked more appropriate for the bar afterwards than they did for the opera. So, my plea today is to please dress for the occasion. It does NOT have to cost a lot. Actually, one lady wearing a very cute outfit that happened to have jeans as part of it had Jimmy Choos. I didn’t jack them from her, but I sure did imagine myself in them. 🙂 Invest in one or two outfits that are appropriate for nicer events. With many events, operas absolutely included, these actors and musicians are professionals. It brings elegance and esteem to such events.
So, over the next week, I will give examples of what is appropriate attire in various situations. If you have any specific events you want me to make sure to cover, just let me know! I’m happy to do so. Thank you for reading!
Most of my favorite college memories (aside from meeting my husband) involved Kappa Delta, the sorority I joined. There were strict rules on how to act when in public, most I think everyone could benefit from. Some example of the rules we had are: no wet hair in public, no pajama pants in public, etc. The vast majority of these rules stemmed from respect – respect for yourself and for others. To this day, I try to have a little make up on when I leave the house. It’s truly not vanity. It’s a way of telling others they’re worth making an effort for.
The town I live in has a farmer’s market each Saturday morning. As it’s outside, it’s clearly a casual affair. However, I’ve made a more conscious effort at being pulled together while still casual. I wore slingback flats, a soft, black fitted t-shirt that said, “Momma” and a gray and white striped skirt. This skirt is cotton and in no way, shape or form a formal skirt. Still, it was amazing how much more compete I looked (and felt) in this outfit instead of a t-shirt and shorts. In fact, I could not tell you the number of compliments I received that day. Several women asked where the skirt was from and mentioned missing women dressing up, even on a Saturday.
Now, I work outside of the home and many Saturdays I would love nothing more than lying on the couch in my jammies. However, when I leave the house, a skirt, for me, takes the same amount of time as pajama pants, something I really wish people would only wear inside the house…
Here’s to expanding the definition of “etiquette.”