Dressing for the Ordinary Days

Dressing for the Ordinary Days

“I don’t understand how a woman can leave the house without fixing herself up a little – if only out of politeness. And then, you never know, maybe that’s the day she has a date with destiny. And it’s best to be as pretty as possible for destiny.” – Coco Chanel

A few Tuesdays ago, I spent a cozy morning hanging out at home with the kids, baking and wrapping gifts and generally making a mess. And then, suddenly, it was time for me to go to work.

I’d hastily pulled on a white tee and jeans that morning (a great foundation for many outfits) and for some reason I can’t fathom I didn’t put on my regular light makeup that morning. (I always wear makeup.) I grabbed a cardigan, changed my shoes, and headed out the door: no makeup, no jewelry.

My workplace is not a high-style place, and I looked fine for work. Except that I’d completely forgotten about a meeting I had that afternoon, with stylish professionals who had actually dressed for the day.

I didn’t have any cause for concern or embarrassment. But I did feel like I had missed the opportunity to wear something fun, something that made me happy–if only for an ordinary Tuesday. And that would have been true regardless of whether I’d spent all day at the office or home with my kids. I wasn’t dressed like I was ready to take on the world; I was dressed to get by. I want to do better than just get by.

It was such a little thing–my outfit, my meeting–but I resolved sitting there at the conference table to not let these everyday opportunities go to waste. Every day, I will do the things that tell my body I’m bringing my A-game: I’ll dab on some lipgloss and choose a pretty necklace. Even if I’m going nowhere.

(True story: when I came downstairs a few days later wearing an old tee and a tiny gold necklace, my son asked, “Where are you going, Mom?” I was going nowhere, but took that as a sure sign I’d been slumming it at home. Not any more.)

I know getting dressed in the morning–really getting dressed–inspires me to take on the day with a smile, so I’m just going to do it. Every day. I don’t need a reason or an excuse to look nice.

That picture at the top? That’s me on an ordinary Monday, dressed to hang out with the kids and go Targeting. It’s casual, but I tried: I took 2 minutes to do my makeup, I chose a new cheerful sweater, and I put on a necklace–and, for good measure, my grandma’s charm bracelet.

Because I’ve realized how much better I feel when I try.

How do you dress for the ordinary days? I’m dying to hear your thoughts. (Also I’d like to say that plenty of women don’t wear makeup on purpose and that’s great! Please know this is about personal routines and preferences, not a mandate.)

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  1. JayBee says:

    What an inspration post for January .

    I work as a GM in a manufacturing facility and as I have always worn skirts (suits etc) to work, made the decision a couple of years ago to make the switch to jeans, yoga pants to work. I now feel so ultra comfortable, but make sure to do my hair make up and wear ewellery every day to avoid the ‘too casual’ look.

    I feel like I’m in a win/win situation!

    I just found your website, (via Wellness Mama) and felt the need to say thanks….I know I’ll be visiting lots!

  2. Jacey says:

    You look beautiful in this picture! Great thought also about looking your best every day, too. I do better work when I look in the mirror and feel good!

  3. Brittany says:

    I just love that quote by Coco Chanel :). I absolutely believe that how we present ourselves (even if we’re the only person who sees it) can change the tone of our day.

  4. tracy says:

    I don’t mean to sound weird or anything, but looking at the photo above, i think we may own the same dining room furniture. We actually inherited ours from my in-laws who I think bought it about 30 plus years ago.
    Anyway, just thought that was too funny.
    I haven’t even finished reading your post because I had to jump in and mention it. Hmmm….maybe I am weird after all. 🙂
    I have been enjoying your blog today. I’m off to finish the post and look around some more.
    Enjoy your weekend!

    • Anne says:

      Tracy, that’s so funny! Ours is hand-me-down from friends who joined households and needed to get rid of the extra dining room set. We were only too happy to take it off their hands. 🙂

  5. Codi says:

    Poking around your blog before work this morning – found you a couple of days ago on from Nester’s 31 days – and this post inspired me! I’m feeling pretty blah about work, but gosh darnit, I’m going to try and change that by my attitude – starting with a little extra attention when I get dressed in a few minutes!

    PS I also know that I feel better-rested and calm when I have matching pajama sets instead of t-shirts and random sweats!

    • Anne says:

      Thanks so much for stopping by, Codi! I tend to sleep in cute pajama pants … and random tshirts, but I’ve been thinking of upping my own game in this department. Thanks for the reminder. 🙂

  6. Monet says:

    I know this is an older post.. But, WOW! You hit the nail on the head for me.. I’m a SAHM whom home schools. I hardly ever go anywhere during the day. But I dress up everyday nonetheless and wear my usual make-up which takes me 5 minutes to do. It really does not take that much more time to slip into something nice and had a piece of jewelry or two. Maybe it’s psychological, but it gives me energy for the day, it puts me in a good mood, I smile more and I accomplish more.. I can’t explain it. So whatever it’s worth the extra 5 minutes a day it takes to “put myself together” is definitely worth it to me. I do it for me 🙂

  7. Paula says:

    Hello! I must admit I love not wearing any make up since I feel it’s much better for my skin, it gives me this “healthy/ fresh look” that I love 🙂 On the other hand, I do love dressing up. I have a lot of clothes xD

    • Monet says:

      Paula, you may be right in that not wearing Make0Up “FEELS’ better for your skin.. But that is not the complete truth. It has actually been proven to be beneficial as to keeping out toxins and pollutants from the environment. That doesn’t mean if you are not a make-up kind of gal that you should wear it.. It means that if you are on the fence because you think it does damage… which it’s only really harmful to sleep in overnight as your skin does not get to “breath,” that you are not being properly informed… Most women who go without make-up but wear Sunblock are actually damaging their skin more. Many sunblocks have ingredients which are much more harmful than any ingredients in makeups. Not only are you dowsing your skin with carcinogenic toxins when you use them, you are also inhibiting your body’s ability to produce Vitamin D. This vitamin is vital not only to healthy skin, but lack of it has been found to be a culprit in the development of eleven different cancers and scads of other diseases and ailments. Sunblock also goes an extra measure to hinder the body’s natural production of melatonin which can cause a whole new array of health nightmares for you. Again, if you are a no make-up kind of gal, good for you… I’m not trying to change your mind.. but if you are on the fence or are using it to justify not wanting to take the time to put a little bit on you are being misinformed.. Other than that.. To thy own self be true… Live and let Live. I’ll admit to sometimes getting defensive because Ido wear make-up. takes me 5 minutes in the morning to put it on… and am often berated for it.. Why? I like wearing it.. Let me be.. You don’t like wearing… I’ll let you be. But I will correct old wives tales and myths. What saddens me is that there always seems to be something to divide women, Wear make-up…Not wear make-up… Home School – Not Home School… Breast Feed – Not breast feed… SAHM – Working Mom.. well.. you all get the picture.. I’d love to see a lot less division and a whole lot more of respect and acceptance for each individual woman’s choice.. We don’t know their reasons. Yet we are so quick to condemn if they differ from us.

  8. Michelle Owings-Christian says:

    This is fascinating. I have the minimalist thing down in a different way. I have fewer articles of clothing right now than in a long time because I lost 60 pounds last year and had to buy new summer clothes. Therefore, I have 4 skirts, 3 prs of capris, 7 tank tops, and 2 dresses. (Also three sweaters and 1 light unstructured jacket.) I also have several pairs of jeans, however, I don’t wear jeans in the summer unless it’s a really cold and nasty day. The reason this is easy is that everything goes with everything. I just have to decide what the weather is and boom, I’m done. So it is less pain, less decision fatigue.

    The dressing up to be in my house is something I am hearing from several fronts, notably Crystal Paine’s “Make Over Your Mornings” course,, which is how I got to this blog in the first place. I struggle with that. I don’t work outside the home, although in August I will be starting online classes with the goal of working at home and making money at it. I am going on vacation next week — camping for two and a half weeks in Pennsylvania — so I won’t really be able to implement this until I get back. It occurs to me that I might be able to dress a little more upscale if I imagine that I am in a traditional classroom, and I want my fellow students and my professor to think I am ready to bring it. That’s an idea worthy of note. And I should think of ways to implement that on other days. **Goes away thinking**

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