Dressing Up

Watching Dan prepare for his Doctoral audition last night and this morning made me realize: I have no reason to be “professional” these days. I mean, sure, my workplace is quasi-professional, but our dress code is business casual (which, for me, basically means no jeans, sweats, t-shirts, or sneakers: almost anything else goes). We’re not the kind of professional workplace where it’s required to put on airs and/or a suit.

I no longer perform in concerts, like choir or band or wind ensemble or whatnot, so I have no reason or opportunity to put on my best black dress and some makeup—stage makeup, even, sans lipstick for wind instruments—and stride out to swells of applause, holding my head high and aloof. I don’t even go to church anymore, so I don’t put on my pantyhose and one of my nicest outfits (with a skirt or dress, of course) and do my hair and makeup and wear perfume, and shake everyone’s hand and smile and act reverent when appropriate.

I suppose I could dress up just because, but it doesn’t have the allure that a special (or not-so-special) occasion does. When Aaron and I go out to eat anymore, even someplace “nice” like Red Lobster or Dolly & Joe’s (mom-and-pop place, great prime rib), the odds are 50/50 whether we’ll just go in jeans, anyway.

I don’t even *own* that many seriously “nice” clothes anymore. In the years between my old, pre-obese weight and my current non-obese weight, I sloughed off several sizes’ worth of “nice” clothes that I couldn’t fit into anymore, or that I just got tired of. All my poet’s blouses, all my starchy white oxford-esque blouses, most of my “good” skirts, blah blah blah. As for Aaron, I know he’s got blazers, but doubt if he even owns a decent tie, and I’m not sure if he has any “dress” shoes. Not like either of us really have any reason to own said formal attire.

I used to be very elitist about certain things. I felt totally at home in formal wear—at least, concert-going or church-going formal wear, anyway. I’ve changed so much since then; sometimes I feel like I’m not even that same person who played first-chair clarinet or sang in the chamber choir or felt naked leaving the house without lipstick. Was that me? Not really… not the “me” I know now. Now I’m perfectly content going makeup-less, and business casual is as dressy as I get. And I’m OK with that.

2 thoughts on Dressing Up

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  1. From your description, it seems you need a “reason” to get up out of bed and clean yourself up these days. You’re content to hang out in blue jeans and sweats. You have given up on makeup, hair, grooming and nice apparel. Congratulations–you will be nominated for the “What Not To Wear” show on TLC by your loved ones real soon!

    No one is saying you have to dress corporate anymore, but there are plenty of reasons to own a good suit and some nice basic pieces other than jeans that you can mix around for different occasions and weekends.

    Get yourself to a stylist.

  2. Dear “Annonymous” [sic],

    You don’t know me. You don’t know what I wear as “business casual” on a regular basis. I own one pair of sweats, one pair of jeans, two pairs of workout pants, and the rest are dress pants or skirts for work. I am not a slob.

    Fuck you and the horse you rode in on.