From Dress To Undress, and Back To Dress

When I was a kid, I wore skirts and dresses all the time. I’m guessing that even though the early 1970’s was at the tail end of the “girls should wear dresses, not pants” era, my mom probably also took great joy in dressing me up in those adorable frocks in earthtone color palattes as well as the ones made from vibrant, crazy prints and plaids. Being a girly-girl back then, I didn’t mind at all.

Melisa Halloween 1974 watermarked
One of my favorite dresses as a kid, and a very good representation of what my typical outfit was like in 1974.

As I grew up, it became more acceptable–and practical!–for little girls to wear pants. I eventually (by fourth grade) fell in love with the comfort of jeans, and there was rarely a turning back. Throughout my adolescence and teen years, there would be hardly any wearing of dresses by me unless it was a truly special occasion (holidays, dances, graduation…).

As an adult, I have also shied away from dresses. The combination of a having a larger frame and carrying extra weight does not exactly make me jump for joy when it comes to casual clothes shopping, let alone dress shopping. I don’t typically have the patience to find “just the right dress”, and so I don’t try very hard as a result. For the past few years, I’ve had just a couple of “go-to” dresses that I rotated when I really needed to step things up a notch beyond black pants and pretty blouses, and whenever I arrived home from wherever I was, I would rip the dress off and change back into “comfy clothes”, like jeans. Or pajamas.

Until recently.

For the past six months, I haven’t even recognized myself when it comes to dresses. I have become a dress fiend. I’m no fashion plate, mind you, but I have been slowly taking on dresses that I find which:

1. are on sale
2. make me feel pretty
3. are flattering
4. fit multiple occasions

I have gone from three “go-to” dresses to…well, I haven’t counted, to be honest, I’d guess about ten. That may not be a large amount to some of you fashion-forward gals out there, but for me it’s huge. I love my dresses.

And that’s not all. I have discovered that–duh!–dresses, once you take the shoes off, are WAY MORE COMFORTABLE than pants. Pants are so…restricting! And, by the way, I have recently had an epiphany about two garments that constantly get a bad rap, the housecoat and the muumuu. Are these clothing items pretty and/or stylish? In most cases, no way. However, they are comfortable.

Comfort is what sells them. I just realized that. (Shut up.) I get it now.

I mean, the ladies of the mid-20th century who walked around all day in a housecoat? They knew what they were doing! I could totally get into that, if a housecoat were a little more stylish.

And muumuus? Yes, please. (Do you have to be IN Hawaii to wear one?)

Dresses are like nightgowns, when you think about it. In fact, when I was in San Diego for the BlogHer conference last month, I actually wore this dress, which is floor-length, to bed:

Me and Lisa watermarked
Me and Lisa. I can guarantee you that ONE of us did not sleep in her outfit that night.

I am fairly certain that it had nothing to do with the fact that I got back to my room after a huge party after 1 a.m. and had a 6 a.m. wakeup call for my workout with Bob Harper, and it had nothing to do with my exhaustion for dancing All. Evening. Long. and it had nothing to do with my sheer laziness about putting on the t-shirt and shorts I had planned to sleep in. That dress was “nightgown-y”. Nightgown-y, I tell you!!!

And so, when I slipped into the hotel room, doing my best to be as quiet as possible so as not to wake my roomies, the comfort of that dress was speaking to me louder than a t-shirt and pair of shorts ever has, and I slid under the covers, fully dressed but feeling undressed, and went right to sleep.

I have rolled around on the floor with my dog in dresses. (Me, not her.)

I have baked cakes in dresses.

Yesterday I wore a dress (a new one! Pretty purple print! on clearance for $20 at JCPenney!) to Rosh Hashanah services and when we returned home, I kicked off my shoes and spent the entire day, until bedtime, in that dress.

Conclusion? Pants are overrated. Dresses forever.


  • Flawless Mom

    The only dresses I like to wear are long sundresses with flip flops or strapless, full-skirted dresses at fancy occasssions. Otherwise, I’m not a fan. But I’m starting to see my sundresses as future nightgowns. 😉

  • Grandma W

    You know I always liked to wear dresses. And I made you and your sister dresses till you were in High School. I think men like dresses on women more too. They are comfortable but I don’t like wearing them to short.

  • As Cape Cod Turns

    OMG! I had no idea that you got all dolled up to go to bed with me!!! I am totally cracking up here.
    I love dresses too. Glad that you have rekindled your love with dresses 🙂