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. 

The pants are well suited to wearing with a tank top or with tee shirts and they do look well with a  long, loose top over them.  I like the coolness and the ease of movement I have in them.  It's a nice alternative to a skirt when I've plans to work in the yard or at some tasks that require a lot of bending over.

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.


Lana said...

I dress like you at home. I do put on make up every morning and if I come out of my room without it everyone thinks I am sick. I always have on a simple pair of earrings and rarely wear fancier ones except on Sunday. I only wear necklaces on Sunday and the same with scarves because they irritate me. I used to wear dresses all summer but for the last few years I have had an ugly patch of eczema on my lower leg that I don't want to show so I switched to pants. Dresses are so much cooler for summer wear. I pretty much plan to buy 5 or 6 new shirts at every season change because they just wear out but my new washer is so great at getting stains out that I may actually have some to carry over from now on.

Jane Allan said...

I don't wear make up at home but I do like to look put together. This summer is awful with heatwave after heatwave and record temps being set. I live in a beach community which has a very relaxed approach to dress.
I prefer loose soft cotton sundresses over anything else. These dresses wash well and look neat and tidy. I can dress them up with accessories if I need to go out.
I wear an apron if I am doing any grubby work. I have an outside apron and an inside apron. I find these protect my dresses from the inevitable stains that want to jump onto a nice clean piece of clothing.
Due to asthma perfumes and I don't go together too well. My deodorant, the heat means it is a need to be worn, is also unscented. So I tend to stick with neat and clean as my way of presenting myself to the world.

Sally said...

I so agree with your points! Love this post!

Sew Blessed Maw [Judy] said...

So well said.. Loved the post.. The dresses in the photo are so pretty.. I would love to have them now. smile.
I too love cool dresses/skirts in the hot/humid Ms summers. I do wear shorts and tshirts too.. I don't wear makeup [especially in the summer] every day..Only when I go out somewhere. I intend to make some more summer skirts this year..
Have a great week.

Lana... keep us updated on your husband.. Hope he is still improving.. Praying for you both.

Lana said...

Judy, he is doing so well. He has no restrictions on his activities per the cardiologist but is not released to go back to work just yet. He is still very tired and does not sleep well most nights. I think the ten days in the coma really messed up his sleep patterns. Thanks for praying!

Anne@MidlifeMoneyTree said...

I can so relate to what you have written! Finding the balance between comfort and cute can be a challenge for me as well. I know it is a problem when I need to dress up and I am digging thru my closet, frantic for anything other than yoga pants! Your suggestions are encouraging and timely.

Anne said...

I quite enjoyed the dresses on the pattern envelope, but did you notice the shapes of those women? No one has that size waist compared to bust and hips. It's no wonder all of us women feel badly about our bodies. Still, the nostalgia was fun.


July Diary: Week Three

Saturday, July 14:   My bags are packed...I'm ready to go...Already I'm so lonesome I could cry.... True words, even if they a...