Not Dressed Up And No Place To Go

This week, I did the annual dusting of my dress-up clothes.

I may have mentioned in an earlier post that I hate dressing up.  Thanks to benevolent fortune and my own avoidance tactics, these days I work from home and employ other people to represent my computer training company much more professionally than I.  So I have a closet full of business clothes I never wear.  Dust gradually accumulates on them, and every now and then I go in and vacuum it off.

I like it that way.  It’s a good system.

I’ve always hated dressing up.  When I began Grade One, my mother thought it was proper for little girls to wear dresses to school.  She crammed me into cute little outfits and sent me off clutching my tartan-patterned tin lunchbox and my utter disregard for propriety.

The “dress” phase lasted until the teachers gently informed her that I spent most of recess hanging upside-down by my knees from the monkey-bars.

After that came the phase of “dress with matching bloomers underneath”, which rapidly morphed into “fine, slacks it is”.

But it was still slacks.  I didn’t get my first pair of jeans until Grade 5, by which time I had already been labelled hopelessly uncool.  That was probably due more to my personality than to my clothes, but I prefer to cling to my illusions.

I made it through my remaining school years in blissful slobbishness, but when I went to university to take my interior design degree, I decided it was time to grow up and make an effort.  I wore slacks and blazers and sometimes (gasp) skirts and pantyhose.

That lasted about six months, and then it was back to jeans and T-shirts.  Styles changed, and I got rid of the outdated clothes.

The same pattern repeated when I entered the workforce:  I bought sleek business clothes and high heels, which I wore for several months, followed by increasingly casual slacks and flat shoes.

At last I quit interior design (which was a relief to all concerned) and switched over to IT where my frumpy slacks and flats made me look like a fashionplate.  So I got rid of the dress clothes entirely and started wearing jeans and sneakers to work.

When I started my own business, it was back to the stores for more damn dress-up clothes.  Then came the inevitable decline, at which point I decided it was a much better idea to hire somebody else to represent my company.  At least my staff wouldn’t be mistaken for vagrants who’d wandered in off the street to cadge goodies from the networking events.

Which brings me to the present, slouched happily in my home office.  My only human contact occurs at a weekly staff meeting (I wear jeans), the gym, and Friday pub night with friends.  No need to dress up at all.

I’m happy.

But I’m afraid to get rid of the dress-up clothes.  As long as they’re gathering dust and quietly going out of style in my closet, I’m safe.  The instant I get rid of them, I just know the cycle will start all over again.

Anybody else keep out-of-style clothing as insurance?

45 thoughts on “Not Dressed Up And No Place To Go

  1. Pingback: A(nother) Sticky Situation | Diane Henders

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    • Your Freshly Pressed-ness was well-deserved! So maybe I could get Freshly Pressed by discussing freshly pressed clothing? If that’s the case, I’m doomed. My clothes haven’t been pressed for years. Good to know my Grand Galactic Insurance is up to date, though.

      I’m not sure about that whole Freshly Pressed thing, anyway. I’ve been freshly pressed in the personal sense a few too many times. I much prefer being Respectfully Addressed. 🙂


  4. I generally get dressed up only for funerals, and no one really cares if you’re out of style. I did buy a new suit for my daughter’s wedding last summer. So now I have a funeral suit and a wedding suit. I should be set for at least the next ten years.

    Great post, Diane. Isn’t it great to work at home?


  5. Oh, so guilty here! Not that most of the things stuffed into the back of my closet even fit anymore, but hey, they MIGHT someday, right? And it’s possible that will coincide with them coming back into style. If that happens, I’ll be ready!


  6. Well….I’m not sure how to answer the question because I’m “in” shape…round being the shape so my clothes HAVE to be comfortable and allow me to breathe and I’ve progressed from skirts to now mostly (always) black pants. I don’t wear jeans because the ones that fit at the hips and thighs are loose at the waist and it’s such a drag to go shopping!! I empathize with the cycle though..that’s usually me with skincare products! hehehe.


    • I dream of the day when we can dump a bunch of fibres and dye in a machine and punch up buttons to design our desired garment.

      Just like the food replicators in Star Trek, we could choose “jeans, faded, boot-cut, five-pocket”, and a few minutes later, *ding*, our perfectly-custom-fitted jeans would slide out the door of the machine. And when we were tired of the jeans, we could throw them back in the machine and have it make something else instead. Perfectly custom fitted to us, of course.

      Beam me up, Scotty. There’s no intelligent fashion down here.


  7. Definitely. I have a few fancy suits from before I had children. These days, I try to avoid anything that is dry clean only. It’s just not feasible, but I have fond memories of those suits, and also they weren’t cheap. I suppose they’ll hang around for another five years before I finally accept that they need to go.

    “At least my staff wouldn’t be mistaken for vagrants who’d wandered in off the street to cadge goodies from the networking events.” was my absolute favorite line in this post. What an image!!


    • Thanks! I definitely agree with you on the dry cleaning issue. You have to wonder about a fashion industry that tortures us by creating over-priced, uncomfortable, impractical clothes… and then makes us pay extra to keep the damn things clean. I hope I never have to own another dry-clean-only item again.

      Thanks for visiting and commenting! 🙂


  8. You betcha. I save a few “business” things even though I wear sweats most days working from home. Fortunately I’ve never been so trendy that I’ve ever bought anything that is ever so “in style” that it could go “out of style.” My issue is more, does it fit, or not?


    • Oh, good strategy. After I started kickboxing I had to replace all my pants when they got too big, but I can still fake it with the blazers as long as I don’t do them up. Now I only have to deal with the too short/too long/wide lapel/narrow lapel thing. Sigh. This is why I avoid dressing up. I hate fashion.


  9. Wait long enough and it comes back into style. My father’s brown corduroy sports jacket (with swede elbow patches AND boutonniere flap) from the 1970s is my go-to “look like a writer” piece these days. Remember, it’s not out of style — it’s vintage! Anyone who can’t tell the difference just isn’t as cool as you.


    • I like the way you think! If I ever have to dress up again, I’ll be sure to don the mantle of vintage coolness. ‘Course most people probably won’t be able to distinguish my newfound fashion “coolness” from my usual fashion “cluelessness”… 🙂


  10. I have no wear to go, but guess I’m the black sheep here, would love the excuse to dress up, but cleaning the toilet in a skirt and heels makes no sense. So jeans it is.


    • LOL! That’s true. I have some friends who get together every now and then just to get dressed up and go out to a restaurant. It doesn’t have to be a fancy restaurant, but as long as they’re together and dressed to the nines, everybody assumes they’re going someplace glamorous afterward.

      Maybe you need to create a dress-up occasion for yourself. 🙂


  11. I could have written this post. Ditto to everything except the line of work and the high heels. Here’s to a closet full of (presently) unused professional clothes. (Did you feel my beer bottle clinking yours?)


  12. I retired nearly six years ago but I can’t bring myself to throw out all my suits and jackets. Some of them are from my, uh hmm, “heavier” days and you never know when you might put the weight back on. As sure as anything you’ll need to dress up for a wedding or funeral (never figured that one out, dressing up for a funeral) and who wants to buy a new suit for that? I did clear out some of my stuff but I still have at least 100 silk ties and way too many jackets, slacks and suits. Let’s not discuss the dress shirts still in the plastic wrap shall we. In the past five years I can truthfully count on one hand the number of times I’ve had to dress up for social events outside of cruising. Regardless, like you, I dust them off, send them to the cleaners, curse my own insecurity and hang them back up. Go figure!


  13. I have been in jeans since I was 13. I’ll be 56 in May. I worked as a Thoroughbred groom at the race track (DRC) 7 days a week. I was there almost 16 hours a day. Worked in jeans, got cleaned up and put on clean jeans. I haven’t worn a dress since my cousins wedding in 89′.

    I want to be buried in jeans. The faded the better. When I was a hippie we patched the damn things until they were one big patch or our mothers beat us out of them to throw them away.

    I could care less. I came across a movie I fell in love with recently (playing on cable) Love, Peace and Misunderstanding with Jane Fonda playing an old hippie still living the hippie way. God at least she was more dressed up then me.

    Hey I’m comfortable and that is all that matters. I just don’t go to dress up events and if need be have a couple of pairs of cords. I’m happy.


  14. I’ve kept a few business suits in a variety of sizes. But a couple of weeks ago I tried one on, and I looked like an old episode of “Dynasty.” Did I really think that I would wear THAT suit if I needed to look more professional????


  15. Guilty – I too recently cleaned out the closet and sent 3 green bags to Clotheslines (Diabetes assoc) and vacuumed the dust off the remaining couple of emergency power suits, you never know!!!! Living comfortably in pants, jeans, tee shirts and sweaters for the past 25 years.


  16. I keep my wedding dress hanging in the back of my closet. I keep thinking I’ll have occasion to wear it again – it’s a custom above the knee and off the shoulder wedding dress. Maybe I could get away with wearing it to some kind of semi-formal cocktail hour? (I don’t get invited to many of those.) I think the veil would be a bit much, though.


  17. I feel like as long as I have a few blazers hanging in my closet, I’m good to go. They’re like the equivalent of a men’s tie. Throw one of those puppies on and all of a sudden you’re professional.


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