Dressing Like an Adult: Why.

Would you ever wear your pajamas to a wedding? Of course not. Would you consider wearing jeans to a workout class? Absolutely not. Would you show up to a job interview wearing gym clothes? NO! I know, I know. Is this lady for real?These silly rhetorical questions are getting at something though: every task, job or event has correlating attire that when worn increases your ability to function, feel comfortable, and be confident in said setting. I’m not saying I need to wear what society tells me to in order to have a strong sense of self, or feel like I belong. And I don’t really care to hear any arguments about societal standards and fitting into a mold or any other such nonsense. This is not the place! This is a place to make your life easier and I daresay that anyone trying to change society has never found her life easier.



Being At Home is a JOB

What in the blooming world does one do when she finds herself At Home? Could be that she works from home with or without children. Could be that she is a full-time parent and/or full-time homemaker. Regardless, what does such a person wear? I’m not going into it today, but what I can tell you is that many of us (yes, I include myself!) fall into ruts where we fail to dress for the occasion of being at home. Sure, there’s the part of the day where “no one will see me”, what with

  • the cleaning,
  • the refereeing of kids and/or animals,
  • the meal prep,
  • the answering of emails,
  • the online shopping,
  • the reading of stories,
  • the laundry, etc.

But it’s never just being at home, is it? It’s also

  • pick-ups and drop-offs,
  • appointments,
  • playdates,
  • lunch meetings,
  • shopping for necessary household items and groceries,
  • video chatting with coworkers,
  • visiting the museum and the library,
  • answering the door when friends drop by,
  • and dropping everything to go do something fun.

In reality, so much of being at home is not just being at home.


Since being at home comes with so many activities that it can feel difficult to narrow down what is an appropriate daily uniform, we often give up and wear sweatpants, because somehow they go with e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g??? No! I theorize that we go with sweatpants–more fashionably called jogger pants or yoga pants, AKA no zippers–because it is simply easier than trying to figure out how we want to present ourselves to our families, our friends, our co-workers, and even ourselves. Going from the working world to “at home” (paid or unpaid) is a difficult transition for many. We are so used to presenting ourselves to the world, that when we switch to a different operational base, we feel that we have no need to present ourselves at all.

So why try?

Because science says we do better when we get dressed for the task at hand. When it comes to solutions, better=easier in my book. In the above lists of tasks involved with being at home, only a couple of them justify wearing workout gear/sweats. Thus, if we wear inappropriate clothing for all of the other tasks, we probably won’t do them as well. If you’re a parent and therefore the “boss” of your family, your kids need to respect you. It is statistically unusual to respect someone in stained sweatpants and greasy hair. If this has become your normal (as in, majority) state of dress, you most likely resemble a bum or hung over college student–not someone capable of rational plans and the ability to command the family ship! Give your kids a boss they can respect. Likewise, if you work from home and need to focus on tasks with deadlines, why would you think that you’d work faster in sweatpants than actual clothes? According to the linked studies above, you will perform much better when you wear attire that is related to the task, and your co-workers will not feel so sorry for you during your Skype meetings.



I’ll leave you with my personal testimony on the matter, because I get a real kick out of writing “TESTIFY!” Ha! When I dress like an adult, this is what happens:

  • Employees stop to ask me if I need help in a store. They also treat my kids better.
    • I am sadly ignored or my kids given dirty looks when I spend the day as the Sweatpants Siren. Is it wrong? Positively. Is it reality? Yes. And remember that I’m trying to make my reality easier…
  • People hold doors for me.
    • I swear that when I fail to dress like an adult people hurry ahead and actually pull the door shut right in front of me.
  • I am ready for whatever the day holds without needing to take time to dress myself for it.
    • I don’t have to worry about how I look, because I am ready for whatever statistically awaits me (see above lists of tasks). I mean, until I get invited to a nooner opera…
  • I’m not embarrassed to open my front door for a surprise visitor or a delivery that needs signing.
  • I feel like the babe that Sam married, rather than the slob I can become, when he gets home.
  • I feel more like visiting Sam at work if we are passing.
  • I am more productive, because I didn’t put on real clothes to just lounge around all day!
  • I have a more positive attitude, because I don’t feel like a person who lounges away her day and accomplishes little.
  • Friends might tell me they like an item of clothing I’m wearing and I say to myself, “yeah, you’ve still got something!”, after I tell them “thank you”. Obviously.
  • And so much more that does not happen when I’m wearing last night’s PJs or lounge clothes…

I’d love to know the positive things you notice when you get dressed for the day in the comments!

Also in the Dressing Like an Adult series…

  1. Why
  2. Demystifying & Simplifying the Capsule Wardrobe
  3. Solutions to Get Ready for the Day Faster
  4. Care & Keeping Solutions
  5. Shopping Strategies + Personal Style Development
  6. Quality Matters + The Flatter Factor
  7. BONUS: The Page I took from the Midcentury Housewife’s Book

Thanks for reading!