I Want A House Dress

July 15, 2012 at 8:15 am (Life, Rants) (, , , , , , , , , )

It is still too hot. Even though I live in a semi-basement apartment, I am too hot. All that the fans seem to be good for is to circulate warm air and even opening the windows in the evening is doing little to cool down my space . I wish I could sleep with the windows wide open all night but I don’t feel safe doing that. If I did maybe then the loud thundery night air would cool down my apartment so that it would be livable during the day!

I sit here in  my hot apartment not cooking, not reading (the light-bulbs get too hot), and not doing much of anything except spending too much time on the computer as television is crap 90% of the time during the summer.

It doesn’t help that I live in jeans and own few summer clothes. My wardrobe is a fall/winter/spring wardrobe. It’s as if my mind refuses to believe that Summer exists at all.

What is a house dress? Well, obviously it’s a dress you wear mostly around the house because you don’t want to be seen wearing it. My grandparents had clothes they wore at home and clothes there wore in public. Me – I’m past the point (actually never really cared that much) where I acknowledge others’ judgments. Right – so why won’t I wear shorts in public? My grandmothers mostly wore houses dresses.

According to Gertie (don’t you just love that name. Isn’t it such a grandmotherly name?):

First off, what is a house dress? Basically any relatively loose-fitting day dress with easy closures (usually in the front) that was worn to do household chores in.

My mother does not wear house dresses. She wears shorts and goes about bare footed as often as she can or slips on flip flops. My mother is a summer person. She is a gardener. She loves the heat. She loves the long days.

She was raised on a farm and has lived in small towns for ninety percent of her life. I don’t know if this is why she prefers shorts to dresses. She used to dress up. She used to wear dresses and high heels. I have pictures. We use to play dress-up with her old heels and even then I knew I would not be wearing those things every day!

I hate shopping. I am not a girly-girl. Was I ever a girly-girl? They use to make us wear dresses every Sunday to church and on special occasions. We had to wear not just dresses but tights and pantyhose as well. Thus, I’ve always viewed dressing up as torture not fun.

I can’t remember the last time I wore a sundress or owned sandals.

I can remember the last time I owned a house dress. I paid ten dollars for it. I was in my twenties and living by myself. It was a black, sleeve-less cotton dress that flowed to below my knees and was easy to put on. I wore it around my apartment and on the days I did laundry because it was cool and I could put it on and forget about clothes and fashion and the weather. I never wore it outside the apartment building! I never wore it except when I was alone.

Here are my three reasons to wear a house dress:

  1. A house dress is cool. That is, it allows the air to circulate and cool your body. Though, on the other hand, because of shows like Mad Men, house dresses are also COOL.
  2. A house dress is easy; easy to put on, easy to make and easy to forget about.
  3. A house dress is quick; slip it on and you’re done dressing in one or two easy steps.

Here are three reasons I won’t wear a house dress outside the house:

  1. A house dress needs accessorizing. You have to think about what to wear on your feet especially if you plan to leave the house even if you’re just going down to the communal basement to do your laundry.
  2. People judge you. I feel more vulnerable wearing a dress, especially this one. In my jeans, I blend into the crowd and nobody notices me.
  3. I haven’t worn a dress comfortably in public since I was 7. That’s when people started to feel that they had the right to comment on my appearance. I don’t care what you think of my fashion look and I’d prefer that you keep all comments, good or bad, to yourself.

Now, I want a house dress. I want it for practical reasons – I’m tired of being overheated. I want it for the comfort and because (part of me) wants to feel as pretty as that seven year old use to once upon a time.

I’m off to buy this dress. Don’t tell me how I look in it (please)!

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A Rant or Two

April 10, 2011 at 1:02 pm (Life, Rants) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

It’s been a week, a very, very long week. It seems like there’s been ten days squeezed into the seven. I am exhausted and want to go find a cave to crawl in.

Actually, I completely know what cave I want but it is in Banff and I am here. :-(

It is a very spacious cave; I can stand up in it and have lots of room for furniture and guests. I would have tons of room for books and would not need a stupid, annoying computer.

My computer got sick this week. It caught a virus on my birthday and I had to spend four days babying it and had to spent money I did not budget for on making it well.

Stupid, stupid people who create stupid, stupid malware should be denied the internet altogether.

Deny. Deny. Deny.

Then, on Friday morning, at work, I discover a very big (hand sized: fingertip to wrist) hole in my black work pants. Thankfully, on the inside seam so no one else noticed it but now I am down to two pairs of work pants!!

I am an awful shopper. I completely understand this woman’s (Caitlin of Broadside) point of view. All I can reiterate is “here, here.” I HATE shopping. I would rather mountain climb (and I have a fear of heights).

I do not know how to shop. I have no clue of what to buy for work. By default, all my work pants are black and I have 5 work tops and three sweaters. I so need a more professional wardrobe.

I have no idea how to define a work wardrobe. Somebody needs to nominate me for What Not to Wear. Actually, please don’t – the last thing I need right now is to have a complete emotional meltdown on television!

This is my mostly empty closet.


This is my favourite shirt. I love the colour. I love the style. I hardly ever wear it because I am afraid I will damage it.

Sad. Sad. Sad.

I am a big woman; big busted and plus sized. No I won’t be using the F word here, even though it is accurate.

I have been changing my eating and exercise habits over the last twenty years. I walk five days out of seven on average. I eat healthier. What did it get me?

I have gone down two sizes over twenty years and am about to hit the brick wall of menopause where all the facts say to beware of gaining weight.

I am tired of clothes that constrict and annoy. I am tired of being judged as lazy because I can’t control how I look.

Tired. Tired. Tired.

Wish me luck as I try to figure out how to nurse my computer back to health because though she is no longer sick, the poor thing is still feeling wonky.

:-0 big sigh…

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My Fashion Sense

February 1, 2009 at 5:36 pm (Memoir) (, , , )

shopping2I read recently about a forty-year-old Hollywood agent who worked during the 1940’s. His wardrobe consisted of suits in two colors, blue and gray, and three hundred shirts all the same; same make, same style, same color – white, I assume. His wardrobe was identical wherever he had a house. He never had to think about what to wear. I envy him.

I’ve never been able to dress myself. Don’t misunderstand – like every child I mastered the basics. I can zip zippers, fasten buttons, tie my shoes. What escapes me is the coordination. What goes with what? What to wear with what? How to look good and still be comfortable. All my sisters, I have five, seem to have picked up this skill – but not me! The last outfit I remember really loving to wear – it was comfortable and made me feel magnificently beautiful, was a lined white lace dress I owned when I was seven. A fancy, dancy, twirlly dress! lace-dress1

I grew up in a small town in Saskatchewan in the 1960s. What was in fashion were mother/daughter outfits and dressing sisters all alike. We were poor. My mother and her friends would make my two older sisters and me identical dresses and include a matching shirt for my baby brother. I wore my sister’s hand-me-downs and therefore, could wear the same dress for years and years and years. (It felt like I did!)

I was a wild child. A tomboy. I didn’t care what I wore as long as it was comfortable. I would have my mom braid my hair in one long braid down the back and sleep like that for days until next bath day. As a child, I bathed once a week and in my teens I bathed twice a week. So my long hair was often in snarls. I wanted it long, fought to keep it long. Well into my teens I would wear an outfit for two days in a row – if it were still clean. I stopped when I was thirteen and overheard a classmate, a boy I had a major crush on, whisper in disgust  “didn’t she wear that yesterday.”

This is when I started reading fashion magazines. It didn’t help. After twenty years of reading these types of magazines I still don’t have a clue about what to wear. All their well-intentioned advice has not helped. Does this make me a hopeless case?

Then again, I don’t and have never looked like those models. I am not a small breasted, skinny girl or a middle-income professional woman. I am fat and tall and poor. I shop more often at WalMart than at Neiman Marcus. I am looking for quality at an inexpensive price and not finding it.

What I find are clothes that never seem to fit. Long shirtsleeves have a habit of being 3/4 length unless I buy shirts that are too large. Pants are never long enough and always leave my ankles feeling exposed. Bras never fit right. I’m tired of feeling ugly and uncomfortable no matter how much money I spend. I want to look professional and be comfortable. I want people to notice me and not my lack of fashion sense.

I want a simple wardrobe. One that is wash & wear and requires minimum care. I want to be able to let kids crawl on me without worrying about my clothes. I don’t own an iron though if I have to I can and will iron. I hate when I buy something and it shrinks the first time I wash it or the buttons and threads unravel. Therefore, I have learned to do basic mending. My youngest half-sister and stepmother can sew a marvel of an outfit from nothing. Oh, to be that talented!

I want a simple wardrobe: black pants, colorful tops, a jacket, some flats, some sandals. I want to be like that Hollywood agent. I want to be able to walk into my closet and not have to think about what to wear. I want to walk out of my closet looking professional and feeling comfortable.

gigi (not necessarily)

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