Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Say Non-Non to Sloppy Dressing in Public

Now that a new school year is in session, I propose we make a fashion resolution - no more going to the grocery store looking like slobs!

I know everybody is busy and trying to multi-task, but I say it's worth making an effort to look cute even when running everyday errands. I'm tired of going to the Jewel among people who appear to have just rolled out of bed or come from a sweaty workout. First of all, it's unappetizing; I'm buying stuff to eat here. Secondly, I find the female frumpiness depressing, especially for women our age. Come on, we are at the height of our powers! We middle aged chicks owe it to ourselves and the women around us to take more pride in our appearance. I'm always inspired by well dressed women.

Ines de la Fressange Hats
Ines de la Fressange,
Image via Stylebistro.com
French women (whose effortless sense of style I am obsessed with right now) would never be caught dead wearing a dumpy outfit or gym clothes in public.  Even when undertaking the most mundane chores, they leave the house looking put together. It's not that they have an extensive wardrobe or spend tons of time on getting dressed, either. It's just that style and self-image are higher priorities than comfort and convenience. They invest in basics, accessorize with flair, and wear the heck out of their clothes. Older women are expected to look as chic as their younger counterparts.

"Age is no excuse for giving up and letting go. It's the opposite, in fact. As you get older, you need to be more vigilant about your sense of style, make more effort and not just let it all slide."  French style icon, Ines de la Fressange, 55

But many American women don't see the point.

"I don't care what I look like at the grocery store," says my friend Hilary, while wearing a  pretty, perfectly accessorized outfit for our casual lunch date. "I'm running errands, not trying to impress anyone."

"But you look great right now!"I point out.  

"That's because I'm meeting you," she says, exasperated. "I care about you." 

Ah-ha! So dressing up is a sign of respect to others, right?

I say we should extend that honor to all the people we interact with. And hey, the grocery store is a very public place! I run into more people I know at Jewel or Target or Costco than I do when I'm out on the town. I'm done with cowering in the pet food aisle, trying to avoid greeting an acquaintance because I look like dog poop.


Look, I'm not saying we should put on stilletos and a pencil skirt to pick up the dry cleaning. And I say everyone gets a free pass on what they wear in the car. But look how practical Ines de la Fressange's chic ensemble is, above. Her basic outfit is jeans, jacket, tailored shirt and flats. That's an achievable look for anyone. And since it's almost noon, I am going to get out of my pjs and try it out.

Love to hear your thoughts on this one. Au revoir mes amis!

13 comments:

amkovacs said...

Yes! Completely agreed. Looking clean and put together is mark of respect, to ourselves and to all the others we encounter. And, as you said, "put together" doesn't mean the stilettos, but it should mean a modicum of presentability. Anyhoo, I know for a fact that, when running errands, I get much better service when I am put together than when makeup-less and in my workout gear. So, I'm sticking to it. Don't we all feel better about ourselves when we look better? The secret is finding the shortcuts to get there: the basic makeup routine, hair trick and cute "uniform".

Sharon Greenthal said...

So true! Although I do admit to a few slip-ups here and there, I always put myself together when I leave the house to run around. I think the older we get the more we need to try to look our best - it's ok for a 22 year old to run around with sloppy clothes and no makeup - she's 22!

Maddie Kertay- The Domestic Anarchist said...

Standing up and saying YES! just wrote about this a week weeks ago when it comes to homeschooling moms, mothers and artists ( of which I am all three) Do not drag around like you just cleaned out the basement.. it does not reflect well on he hard work you do every day. I insist the same for my kids.. since I think they behave better when dressed better...

bodyminder said...

We have to get dressed anyway, so why not wear those clothes you 'save' for special occasions and wear them out on the mundane errands. I love wearing my special scarf and pretty flats with jeans and a tshirt. It is easy to accessorize and still be comfortable and look more put together. No need for full on make up either - using just the basics takes less than 5 minutes!

Marjie Killeen said...

So glad you guys agree! But many of my mom friends are not with me on this one. Their priorities are efficiency and comfort and they resent me burdening their already busy days with a dress code they tag as "shallow." Still, my friends always make an effort to dress well when having lunch or going to the mall. I think the difference is that those outings are fun and errands are chores. Why dress up for a place you really don't want to be in the first place? But in my experience when I spend a few minutes on my appearance, everything I do that day feels better.

Lori Jo Vest said...

I totally agree with you! Besides, whenever I leave the house looking like a schlub, I run into an old high school boyfriend, someone I used to work with, or a client. Hiding at the grocery is no fun at all.

Marjie Killeen said...

Lori Jo - Exactly!

Robin said...

I usually try to dress in a way that isn't necessarily dressed-up but at least "put-together".

Except for today, that is. I jumped in the car to go run errands and pick up my daughter from school. Halfway there I realized I had run out the door in my bright green fuzzy slippers. *sigh* Errands were promptly cancelled. My vanity would not allow me to walk into the grocery store in bright green fuzzy slippers.

Ann Dunnewold said...

As Hilary said, and Marjie you reiterated, dressing decently shows respect for others. There's that same old, deeply ingrained, "put others first" trap that women live too often. I say dress nicely to put yourself first, and show a little self-respect. I dress up because it makes ME feel good.

Lynn Forbes said...

bAgree, Ann Dunnewold, dress out of respect for yourself. it doesn't take much to throw on a nice sweater and scarf and pair of flat over the yoga pants :)

Sunny said...

My ex and I were visiting his parents in Spain, he and I decided to take a road trip to a resort in Sevilla. I put on my comfy sweatpants and was ready to go. My MIL took one look at me and said, "Oh no! Oh no!" She insisted that I change and I am glad that I did. They would not have let me into the hotel! lol. I found this to be true all over Europe and have since continued to "be presentable" as my mother would say. But can we please talk about the woman in my neighborhood that thinks it is okay to walk around the block in a housecoat?!? And why she even owns a housecoat? And why I know that it is called a housecoat? :)

Home Place said...

So well said! I learned long ago that every time I skipped a shower before going grocery shopping...there they were, either old boyfriends, or the girls that the old boyfriends left me for. Never again!

Marjie Killeen said...

I heard that if you are sloppily dressed in Italy, people SPIT on you! That would motivate me to get out of my sweats for sure.