Thursday, January 19, 2017
Dressed Like a Lady: At Home
I started this series of posts this week because I think how we look is important. I don't mean whether or not we're fashionably up to date or wearing the latest designer styles, but how we present ourselves to the world, whether it's the community outside our doors or to those who see us daily in our own homes.
I do realize that many will say this is shallow and unimportant but I disagree on many scores. Number one, how we look affects how we perceive ourselves. It's easier to feel more confident and self-assured when we take time to tend to our personal care and show it. I think that looking decent has an effect on our overall sense of how prosperous we are. Even when I had just two shirts and two pants long ago, knowing that what I put on daily was clean and freshly ironed and starched made a HUGE difference in my concept of NOT feeling poor.
Number two, it's important to our family. Has your family ever asked you "Where are you going?" when you had no intent of going anywhere but just took the extra time to look presentable? It might be a sign you've let yourself go if that is a common question just because you put on a clean tee shirt and pair of jeans or you put on something other than your pajamas when you're at home!
Third, how we look, just as how our home looks, is what we are judged by, like it or not. People form an immediate impression about how you on first appearance. I'm not talking about snobbery judgements (who you wear, how expensive it is) but how neat and clean and well kept you look. Personal pride in appearance is not an awful thing.
I was asked recently if I 'dressed up' every day at home. I thought I'd reply to that this week, while we're discussing this subject of Dressed Like A Lady.
Last summer, I was inspired by a desire to be more feminine and better dressed at home while keeping my cool. I stumbled on Dee's post on the housedress about the same time. I too had been thinking of Grandmama's 'dusters' which she wore about the house to do her work. Mind you, she changed in the afternoons to more suitable daily wear but that duster was her uniform for housework.
Honestly? It was not quite suited to home wear. There is a difference in a house dress and a duster. A duster was really meant to be worn to protect clothing from dust and grime. In the South, it was/is often used by older women as a sort of super light summer housecoat over a nightie, too. A housedress was intended to be an inexpensive, attractive, but durable piece of clothing worn for the work of home.
Grandmama wore her duster over her nightgown. If anyone came to the door while Grandmama was flitting about doing housework, she was 'caught out', not ready to greet anyone. Granny, on the other hand, very much believed once you were out of bed, you should be fully dressed for the day, too. She might be wearing a man's boots and pants and a flannel shirt but she was cleanly dressed for the work of the morning.
My memory of my grandmothers and Dee's post made me stop and think hard about how I looked at home and what image I wanted to start each day with.
When I am at home, I do not put on makeup unless I am looking particularly haggard or am expecting company. For the most part, I rely on simple self care starting with a shower, fresh clothes and brushing my teeth and my hair, moisturizing. I do put on a little scent most every day and I may put on a pair of earrings, too, but otherwise I don't wear jewelry about the house, except my plain gold wedding band.
This past summer I purchased three sundresses. I didn't spend much money on the sundresses and I liked them very well...but I felt a bit immodest in them. It was all fine and good when it was just John and I at home but I found myself running to grab a tee shirt to pull on if anyone came to visit. This year, I plan to make myself light cotton skirts. I may even alter the sundresses into skirts. I'll pair them with t-shirts and enjoy the breeziness without the slightly immodest feeling the sundress top gave me.
I also discovered lightweight knit athletic capris were very comfortable for wear about the house. I like the athletic capris (aka yoga pants) because they fit well and do not look sloppy and floppy. I much prefer a trim and neat silhouette when it comes to capri pants. This kind of fit is difficult to find in cotton or denim but entirely possible in knits. Yoga pants also do very well if you prefer a longer pant.
While I do like shorts, I've never been a short shorts sort of person. It's very difficult to find a pair of Bermuda shorts that hit my leg at the right point. The athletic capri pants are just right as far as I'm concerned.
In winter, I generally wear a pair of jeans and light layered tops such as a long sleeved tee shirt with a tank top underneath and a sweater too if it's really cool. Knit pants are nice too, again I'm thinking of yoga pants which seem to be universally suited to comfort.
This month I purchased four t-shirts at Target for $5 each to replace the stained and worn ones I had in the house drawer during the summer. I am mindful that housework is hard on clothing overall and I'm unwilling to invest a lot of money in something I want to change out as often as I do house things. I've made up my mind that as 'lady of the house' I will not be caught out looking like Cinderella in her sooty rags ever again and so I mean to invest in one or two of these inexpensive tops when I see them on sale, which is usually about once a month or six weeks.
Mind that the things I've mentioned relate best to our climate and my season of life (Warm, lol). I think anyone can and should look nice at home.