One of the advantages of me being at home during the days is that I have the luxury of wearing my favorite comfy ensemble. For most like me, it can be a favorite pair of jeans (or shorts), a comfy cotton shirt, and slip-on house shoes. Others may even go so far as to keep on their pajamas until well into the day, when outside errands necessitate day wear. I know that even many who work in an office often wear comfy slacks with matching blouse or shirt, nowadays. Fewer and fewer seem to dress to impress, unless perhaps they are promoted to upper management…maybe. It seems like my country, the USA, has become a casual nation, but there are still some opportunities for elegance.
When was the last time you dressed up in more formal attire? Thinking back, some of the few occasions I’ve seen people go above and beyond in their dress included high school proms, weddings, and perhaps classical music concerts, though more and more people show up in jeans even to them nowadays. Sunday church goers used to wear their “Sunday best”. Though I haven’t been to Catholic mass in a while, I recall a few people in the summer brazen enough to come in shorts. My memory may be rusty, but I would bet more than a hundred dollars young teens may even show up in flip flops nowadays.
My husband is a European, and he grew up in his country going to various concerts, operas and other formal events on a regular basis. He’d wear his finest suit, with finest tie (maybe even a bow tie). Some, he’d say even wore tuxedos on occasion. I have to say that his influence has worn off on me. Because of him, I’ve learned how to dress elegantly when the opportunities arise. Now on such special occasions, you can see me in my black cocktail dress adorned with gold or silver jewelry, and sparkling garnets, diamonds, or little emeralds, with my hair beautifully coiffed, and make up on. I trade in my flats for high heels that elevate me up to four inches higher, reaching the height of most men. I feel like a baroness on those occasions. Arm in arm my suave-looking man and I make our entrance.
Over the years, since I left my early 20s behind me and got married, I guess my most formal wear events included high-level job interviews, formal business events, weddings, concerts/operas, cocktail parties, and the occasional special gala event. My husband also pressures me to dress up a bit for certain holidays, especially Christmas, when in the past I maybe wore corduroys and a cheesy Christmas sweater. At the most, these dressy occasions numbered up to maybe 10 times in a year, in the past. Nowadays they’re fewer and fewer, but I still look forward to them.
Dressing up need not cost an arm and a leg. Looking for formal attire in fancy department stores can be intimidating. As a woman, I’ve found beautiful dresses and suits in the USA in local consignment shops. From Thredup.com I’ve purchased barely or even never worn designer cocktail and formal dresses at just a fraction of the original costs. Women and men can sometimes even find gems at places like thrift shops, Dress for Success, and even discount stores on occasion. Lovely accompanying jewelry also need not cost hundreds or thousands of dollars. Costume jewelry can sometimes look equally impressive, as can great deal jewelry purchased at antique shops, EBay, and again, consignment shops.
Opportunities to dress up need not wait until your cousin gets married. Even if you don’t have the money to attend the opera Madame Butterfly at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City, you might be surprised at how many dressy occasions are near you. You may need to look beyond your own home town, but luckily, formal cultural attractions do still exist. You can always dress to impress at a special birthday meal at one of the better restaurants in town. Believe me, if other patrons are sitting in their jeans, you can be the star walking in in an elegant ensemble. It’s fun!
For what events in the last one to five years have you really dressed up? What did you wear? Do you like dressing up on occasion?