On Dresses and Such…

On Dresses and Such… November 7, 2011

This morning as I was drying my hair after a shower at the gym, a woman approached me saying something that I couldn’t hear because of the noise from the hairdryer. A bit confused, I turned off the hairdryer and said, “I’m sorry, could you repeat that?” To which she replied, “What a pretty dress, you look so feminine.” My face lit up with a smile as I thanked her for her compliment, and we both went our own separate ways.

I started thinking about this nice woman’s comment, realizing that I don’t often wear dresses, or even skirts for that matter. Quite honestly, the only reasons that I wore a dress today were: 1) All of my pants are in the wash, and 2) It really is too warm for pants (the highs are in the low 80’s), but I just don’t feel right wearing shorts in November!

So, what do you think? Is it worth the effort to bring a bit of the feminine into your everyday appearance? If so, how do you do this – perhaps you wear skirts, or cute headbands, or make sure that you have a nice hairstyle? Or do all of these seem like unimportant details to you?

God bless you all this Monday morning!


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  • JMB

    I wear dresses and skirts in the summer because it’s easier to just throw on a cute dress than ensemble an entire outfit.u00a0 During the cooler months (I live in NJ) I tend to stick with nice jeans or cords during the day.u00a0 Unless I’m going to workout, I don’t like to be seen outside of my house without makeup done.u00a0 It’s just my thing. u00a0 I try to spend more $ on good quality “outer layer” types of clothingu00a0 – a nice Burberry jacket, a good hand bag, nice shoes.u00a0 One of the best investments I ever made was a Gucci leather belt that just adds so much style to simple Old Navy jeans.u00a0 Accessories can also make a huge difference in a simple outfit.

  • Kat

    JMB, I agree on the importance of the “outer layer,” since in the cold weather this is sometimes the only part of my outfit that is visible! TJ Maxx has some really nice coats for under $30, which seems very reasonable to me.nI would add nicer pajamas to the list – while this is something that only my family sees, I do spend a lot of time in my pajamas in the evenings and on weekend mornings. Most of mine are old and worn-out, but I need to invest in some better PJ options!n

  • Jurismater

    Good suggestion, ladies, about the jacket as a way to make a winter wardrobe! I finally got rid of my oversized, falling apart “Orange Key Tour Guide” Northface fleece last winter, which was a huge step in the right direction, but now all I have is a maternity coat. Kat, thanks for suggesting TJ Maxx… I think I’m headed there anyway this week and will look for coats.nnJMB, same here on the makeup, and earrings too.nnI have to say, now that I’m too old to look OK in junky clothes, I’m surprised at how much time, effort, and spending it takes to maintain even a decent wardrobe. I find an excellent pair of nice jeans at a good price, then before I know it they have holes and don’t look nice anymore. Same with tops. Shopping isn’t a part of my regular routine or my budget. Are you ladies out at the mall regularly, or do you set aside a couple days every year to shop?

  • Lisa

    I second the suggestion of TJMaxx for coats.u00a0 I have a great trench coat I bought there years ago, and it still looks great.u00a0 If you can hold out until post-Christmas, another option is to hit Macy’s or another local department store the day after Christmas, when *all* of the coats will be marked at least 50% off.u00a0 Whenever I’m due for a new coat, that’s my strategy.nnAs for shopping – have you tried online?u00a0 I do 100% of my clothing shopping online and I love it.u00a0 I hate going clothing shopping, so this works wonders for me.u00a0 Most stores will do free shipping if you spend a certain amount (Macys.com is $99, target.com is $50, for example) and I think LLBean recently established free shipping on all purchases.u00a0 What’s great for me with Macy’s and Target is they ship it to me for free, and if I don’t like it,u00a0 I can return it to my local store which takes no time at all.u00a0 Both of their websites are organized such that you can specify type of item you’re looking for (e.g., dress), then knee length then sleeve length then color, etc. — you don’t have to scroll through tons of pages looking for something.

  • Mary Alice

    I have tried to wear more skirts and dresses, but then I spend way too much on tights!u00a0 I seem to just put holes through the feet all the time.u00a0 Maybe the key is to just do a big stock up at the beginning of the fall and not worry about it if they fall apart, but has quality just declined, or am I possibly harder on a pair of tights now than I was as a senior in high school?u00a0 It doesn’t seem possible.

  • Mary Alice

    Truly, I aspire to wear makeup.u00a0 Someone told me recently that they could see how tired I was in my face, and I know it is true.u00a0 How did you get into a routine on this, and what about cleansing?

  • Kat

    JM, I can relate to your last paragraph – I find it also takes a huge amount of effort on my part to look just decent every day. Nothing fancy, just decent. Here are a few things that I’ve learned:nn1) It helps to clean out my drawers/closets and donate all of the items that I’ve either grown out of or that I just don’t wear anymore, mostly because they’ve lost their shape or have holes in them. I also throw out anything with huge stains, or I tear it up and use it as rags. This helps a lot in knowing what I actually NEED in my wardrobe, and I don’t feel guilty purchasing those items.nn2) Never take the kids shopping – it doesn’t ever turn out wellnn3) If I can buy something online, I do – I like Lands End for bathing suits, for example, and have even bought a pair of jeans therenn4) If I know that I’m going to need to buy a few items, I’ll ask for a gift card for Christmas or my birthday. Then I will find a time that I have without the kids and I will spend a couple of hours making a list, going to that store, and buying what I can in one shopping trip.u00a0nn5) I almost never go to the mall – I really dislike everything about it! If I have to shop, I go to a nice outdoor shopping center in our area, or I go to TJ Maxx – I would much rather go to stand-alone stores than to the mall.nn6) I don’t worry about current fashions – I buy clothes that are good quality and that I know will last for years to come. For example, I have a purple dress that I have worn to pretty much every special occasion over the past 3 years – weddings, holidays, nice dinners out, etc. I recently bought a nice-looking scarf to match at Target, and it makes it seem like a whole new dress! I would rather have one nice dress than 3 sort-of nice dresses that aren’t going to last.nn

  • Kat

    🙂 Apparently there is a new technology in tights in European countries – a certain kind of material that doesn’t tear. I’ll ask my mom about it again and let you know! I think she said that you can only buy them in Europe, but maybe she could buy mass quantities for us all the next time she goes to Germany 🙂

  • Kat

    Thanks for the Macy’s suggestion, Lisa. I really dislike going to the mall, so I almost never shop at Macy’s, but I would be happy to shop online and then return if necessary!

  • JMB

    I’ve always been into makeup.u00a0 My sisters and I would spend hours applying makeup to each other and dabbling in home perms (it was the 70s and early 80s), so it’s really just an extension of my artistic side.u00a0 That said, my advice would be to go to a makeup counter at a nice department store and ask someone to show you how to apply a full face of makeup – base, eyes and cheeks.u00a0 Then just buy what you need, and you don’t need a lot. It takes me about 20 minutes to shower, get dressed and apply makeup in the am (I only wash my hair every 3rd day), so it doesn’t take as long as you may think.

  • JMB

    Try tights from Fogal.u00a0 DKNY and Hue also have some nice thick tights that you can get at Lord & Taylors.u00a0 Hue has some really cute cord skirts as well as skinny denim leggings that you can tuck into boots.u00a0 I love them and they are easy on the budget – $30 or so, with L&T coupon, you can usually get them for less.

  • JMB

    I am totally LOVING Lands End Canvas these days.u00a0 I stumbled upon it at my local Sears (I was cutting through to get to AT Loft) and I ended up buying a cord dress for $29 and a really cute cord A-line skirt for about the same amount.u00a0 It reminds me of the old JCREW before it got really expensive and inconsistent with quality.u00a0 Check it out.u00a0 You can also see it online at Lands End.nnMy other fav store is AT LOFT but I only shop there when everything in the store is 40% off which happens about once a month.u00a0 I live in northern NJ and within 5 miles of my house are a half a dozen malls so it’s not a big deal for me to run to the mall.

  • I can say that especially in the post-partum period, I feel a million times better when I throw on mascara and a pair of earrings. Simple, but it makes a huge difference to the way I go about my day. I feel like myself and not just a sleep-deprived, cranky mama, like there are still some corners of beauty in my life (besides the beauty of the newborn babe, you know).

  • Lisa

    This won’t sound glamorous, but I have bought some really cute black ribbed tights and brown opaque tights at MY LOCAL GROCERY STORE!u00a0 Not joking – in that aisle where they sell cheap hose, they also sell tights.u00a0 I, too, get the problem with holes in the toes . . . but I’ve spent so little on them, I don’t care.u00a0 And I’ll note – I’ve been gifted more expensive, department store tights, and they, too, end up with holes in the toes!u00a0 So I stick with the grocery store ones, and figure if I’m going to get holes, I might as well get them for less $!

  • JMB

    FYI – Just saw on Facebook, Ann Taylor Loft’s friends & family is this weekend!u00a0 Everything in the store is 40% off.u00a0 I’m going to get me some skinny jeans in black and some colored cords.

  • ADTWF

    I’ve always had terrible luck with the counter ladies. They never listen when I explain my lifestyle or my budget (little time, less money, for much make-up). That, and I never look like *me* when they finish. What did end up working out for me was to buy an eyelash curler, get a few decent lipsticks for summer and winter, and some brow mascara (Bobbi Brown makes one light enough for my hair and complexion). They also make a face powder that specifically hides redness.u00a0 As for cleansing, once or twice a week, I use Kiss My Face’s Start Up Exfoliate Face Wash. I don’t have time every day, nor can I keep up with the cost of daily use, but it’s nice as a treat. nnAs for removing make-up, use an unscented diaper wipe (or 2) when you come home, and save a more thorough clean for before bedtime. 🙂