Friday, April 17, 2015

It's Time to Quit Lying to Myself about What I Wear...

I know that I've mentioned in the past that I'm a little bit of a gym rat, but I don't think that I've ever mentioned that there are days (maybe 3 times a week) when I get out of bed and put my gym clothes on immediately. Many of those days, I don't change OUT of my gym clothes until at least mid-afternoon...

Now, back when I was a swingin' advertising chick, I used to get dressed up pretty nicely five days a week, and if i was travelling for business, that would be seven days a week. That life, however, ended almost TEN YEARS AGO...

So let's look at my current life, honestly:



There's nothing wrong with sitting at my desk in nice, well-fitting gym clothes, working on The Vivienne Files, while I'm either waiting to start a workout, or cooling down from one. What wrong is pretending that this time doesn't count, when I'm shopping for clothes!

This wardrobe auto-delusion works against me in two ways:

1. I don't let myself get as complete a wardrobe of gym clothes as I really could justify. I lift weights 3 times a week, and I run/jog/walk (it's ugly) 3 times a week. This level of activity could justify a pretty serious workout wardrobe!

2. I over-buy dressy things - silk pants and tops, lovely jackets etc. Yes, I'm the kind of person who will wear these things just walking across the Loop to meet Belovedest after work, but I don't really need dozens of these kinds of options.

So, we're re-examining things...

Among other things, I'm going to sell quite a large number of Hermes scarves; don't forget to check my "Things For Sale!" page at the top of this page, below my feet...

Does anybody else live a wardrobe fantasy life that works again them?

love,
Janice

Looking Back:

2014: A "Two Suit" Wardrobe in Navy and Beige

2013: Happy Birthday to the Vivienne Files!

2012: Imaginary shopping: extravagantly red

2011: So I just realized that people are still reading what I wrote... (the VERY FIRST Vivienne Files post!)


NORDSTROM - Up to 50% OFF Women's Coat Sale

59 comments:

  1. My job has changed so I'm no longer working with these super chic librarians, but for a much more casually dressed not for profit- great for the clothing budget but I certainly have yearnings at times for clothes that I really don't need. I've been finding it useful to shop without my wallet, as it were, and walk away from tantalizing buys, and giving myself more time to consider if I really need to buy. There is much to be said for those super comfy chill-out at home clothes.... :)

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    1. I laughed out loud at the "super chic librarians" part. The library where I hang out must be a lot different from the one where you worked!

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    2. My niece and I are both "super chic librarians", but I have worked with more than a few who are not. Functional/washable does not have to mean frumpy/dowdy.

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    3. Christchurch CIty Libraries managers have long stood proud of their status as one of the top performing library networks in Australasia. Maybe it's not a coincidence that they also take pride in the way that they dress. Hmmmm

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  2. As a long time reader, I have been silent. Today, I feel compelled to write because you are expressing what I have been feeling for some time. When I retired from my profession (law) and began my second career (art), my closet was high-end professional clothing. When I go shopping, I recently realized that I stray automatically to the same items I wore in the office. When it comes to what I actually wear in my studio, I am more in line with your "gym rat." My suggestion? You could do many of us a favor and create a chic "dressed down" wardrobe that works for our post-office lives. --Scotti, http://www.msadv.blogspot.com

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    1. Ditto! I've been retired for several years and my eyes still wander to the professional section while shopping. I have more clothes than I need in the wrong category. Please help us, Janice, and thank you for your honesty. Once again, you are helping all your faithful fans.
      Pat

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    2. Although I have been retired from the law for 10 years, I still veer toward professional/dressy clothing. My time, though, is spent primarily in very casual clothing. I would dearly love to see you do a much more casual chic capsule. Yes, I'm retired and living a casual lifestyle, but I still want to look good!

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    3. I'm in the same situation- I work mostly at home, go to the Y, walk the dogs, go to the grocery, maybe have a quick lunch with friends. I find myself changing clothes 3 times a day because I still start off the day like I'm going to an office! Would love to see a more casual capsule that would get me through my casuals days looking good!

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  3. Like Scotti above, I had a major career change: from a business consultant to a metalsmith. Even though I spend my days in the studio, I still hold on to my tailored jackets and silk tops. While I am still buildinga wardrobe for my new lifestyle, I can't quite let go of the old one yet.

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  4. Why not a post on a well-curated, complete spring-summer gym wardrobe? Not that I myself would ever darken the door of a gym, but it would probably be useful for you and for many others. I was wondering, to be honest, where you would ever wear that dressy gray silk coat that was a central part of your summer wardrobe.

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  5. I am capable of wearing gym clothes when I am not going to a gym anytime this month! I don't put them on and then go out to run errands, but if I am driving out to our farm and spending the day alone out there--the gym clothes seem appropriate! My super casual (in warm weather) tends to be knit dresses. I would love to see a super casual wardrobe based on knit dresses!

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  6. Isn't is amazing when we reveal something about ourselves, it turns out that lots of folks are going through the same thing? I'm still working in a cube farm, but it's a high-tech cube farm, so our dress code is one step above gym clothes. A super casual wardrobe would be great to see!!

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  7. Another retired librarian,I tend to "overbuy" dressy clothes and then look for places to wear them. Monsieur is a really casual guy so when we go out together…
    A lady at church asked me if I was a fashion buyer. At home, I walk 5 days a week and also lift weights. Gym clothes for older, curvier
    women must be a niche. Longer tops and comfortable bottoms that can go out for coffee or errands. A stylish workout wardrobe would be nice.

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  8. Congrats on your 4 year blog-o-versary! Marie Kondo made a great point about "lounge" wear - i.e., the stuff you wear around the house when you're alone. She noted that most people have a stack of worn-out clothing that they would never dream of wearing out the door, to wear at home. She says your at home clothing should be as lovely as your wear out clothing. As a telecommuter who could easily spend every day in my jammies, I've been noticing lately the difference it makes to wear something lovely, even if I'm the only one who will see it.

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  9. As a retired but youthful 65 year old I struggle with creating a comfortable and colorful wardrobe for wear at home and doing errands. Especially with our hot humid summer weather just around the corner this needs to be addressed. I have calculated that realistically 80-90% of my waking hours are spent in very casual dress mode while 5-15% is smart casual and 5% exercise or yard work. Couple all that with black no longer being a good color but charcoal is, a just slightly warm coloring and almost gray hair and I'm finding it very hard to find clothing to buy.

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  10. Me too!! I took an early retirement 18 months ago and am realizing the same thing. I spend the majority of my time in work out clothes or super casual clothes but continued to buy dressy work clothes. I would love to see a "chic" super casual wardrobe series.

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  11. i'm lucky because my work wear is pretty much the same as what I can wear at home. Of course, like many others, I have too much. Thank heavens for my tiny closets! They keep the numbers somewhat contained.

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  12. When I first started reading this blog, I planned out a small wardrobe built mostly around three suits and spent a couple years gradually working towards that. Not long ago I regrouped because I work in academia and can count the occasions I've had over the last couple years for wearing something that formal on one hand -- and even then, I almost always look more appropriate in something a little dressed down (a non-matching dress and blazer, say). My new "wardrobe plan" is much more in keeping with how I actually live.

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  13. Lights came on and bells were ringing when I read this post. You are right on the money here for me. My alternative to the gym clothes has been comfy (read elastic waist) knit pants and various t shirts and cardigans for my at home, in the studio, still good enough for errands or lunch with a friend wardrobe. Since I sew I can mix it up nicely and come up with variations on a theme but remain casual enough for the current lifestyle. I am now enjoying the benefits of the tunic length top for Spring/Summer planning. Slim trousers and a nice tunic length top look pulled together but not too casual. Retirement from one position to another makes us examine the wardrobe and change our focus. I may need more gym clothes, I wear the same 3 or 4 items three days a week. Mmmmm

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  14. Looking forward to more on this topic! I've found that until I had resolved the "work clothes" dilemma in my closet, I wasn't open to looking at my casual clothes challenges. In the meantime, of course, I no longer work in an office everyday. But, there is a huge security in knowing I have a great selection of coordinating stuff that fits just waiting for me to need it. So, it's just this last year that I've begun seriously studying jeans, knit skirts, knit dresses, chambray, etc. and making progress in getting pieces I love and wear over and over. And I've just touched the edges of the workout/loungewear problem. My rule is never to wear yoga pants to town for errands because I believe that once I do it - yoga pants will become the only thing I wear 24/7. How can we keep from sliding down that slippery slope? I wrote about it on my blog a while back. Keep writing, please!

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  15. I dont understand the stigma (or confession) regarding sportswear. Clothes that can be construed as gym wear or very casual wear are part of our culture and they need not look sloppy and lazy. I've lived in nice sportswear for many years and find it appropriate for all but the dressiest occasions in my life. There seems to be an association between being comfortable and laziness.

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  16. A summery knit dress over leggings or wide linen pants would make a great comfy casual look.
    For winter, a fitted tee, yoga pants/ponte leggings and a nice cardigan and boots can go a very long way.

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  17. Yes, yes, yes. I love beautiful fabrics and interesting designs, so being a sewist, that's where I allocate my sewing money and time. However, it also means I am usually more dressed up than most people I am with, except for my sewing buddies. I spend the least amount of money on my gym/yoga clothes and yet I typically wear them 20-25 hours a week (not only exercising).

    Deb from Vancouver

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  18. I can relate! I wear business or business casual 4 days a week, but when I get home I want to be comfy. I have many things that are too fancy for my lifestyle. It would be great to see your ideas on gym/casual wear that might be nice enough to wear for coffee or errands.

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  19. It's interesting to see the difference between how we buy and how we actually dress! I'm a stay at home mom who used to be an engineer, and I have to be careful that I don't overdress my daily life.
    Happy blog birthday! I'm a newish reader, and I'm curious--why the name "The Vivienne Filed"? Would you mind explaining it some time?

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    1. Heck - I'll explain it right now!

      Ten years ago, at least, I was a participant in a Yahoo Discussion Group about all things French. Most of the members were women of a certain age who love Paris, and who are fascinated by the mystique (real or imagined) or the French woman.

      At this time, I was traveling for business. A LOT. And at least every 3 months or so, I went to Paris. I always stayed at the same hotel, where I often hosted training functions. And my facilities coordinator at the hotel? Vivienne! We look nothing alike, but we had a very similar approach to dressing, with a core of black clothes, and accents of white, grey, and red...

      I wrote, on the discussion group, about my conversations with Vivienne, and after a while, other members of the group would ask me to ask her specific things. So it turned out that I wrote very often about Vivienne and her approach to personal style, budgeting, shopping, and wearing accessories.

      Fast forward to about 4 years ago. I was SUPPOSED to be looking for a job, but I was, in fact, surfing through blogs, and I found someone who was QUOTING (!!!) things that I had written about Vivienne. Turns out that after the group on Yahoo had broken up, someone collected all the things that I had written, saved them in a Word documents, and named it The Vivienne Files!

      So I decided that I would take that name, the domain, the email etc etc, and in order to at least "hold the place" for the domain, I wrote a couple of blog posts.

      The rest is (modest, but happy) history!

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    2. What a great story! I enjoy this blog so much.

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    3. Wow! Now... will we ever get to know the real Vivienne? That will be a treat!

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  20. I probably overdress my daily life, but I want to wear clothes I feel amazing in and would be confident if I ran into anyone while out and about. I dress better than other teachers in my school, but I also believe my high school students like that I do. I might be more relaxed some day, but for now (even at 61) I like to dress up a little bit more. I wish I had some extra funds sitting around right now...i would be all over one of your Hermes scarves...there are some beauties there, Janice! Have a great weekend!

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    1. I think dressing beautifully for your students is a marvelous honor for them, and for you. You always look SO beautiful...
      big hug,
      Janice

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    2. Pam, thanks for saying what I'm feeling.

      For everyone who feels fantastic wearing gym clothes or "lounge clothes," which are often the same thing or closely related, as regular at-home clothes, bravo. We should all wear what makes us feel great wherever we are.

      For me, unless I'm stepping into yoga pants between an evening shower and bedtime or to wander around the house during an insomnia night, I only feel good in regular clothes at home. Nice jeans and a flattering top, knit pants and a chic sweater, slim ankle pants and a drapey tee, whatever. I only wear clothes that fit well, and they are all as comfortable to me as gym clothes.

      If I can't walk proudly straight out of the house without a wardrobe adjustment, or meet absolutely anyone at the door feeling good about how I look, then I don't want it on my body whether I'm working from home or just being at home. If I don't get fully and well dressed, with an accessory and a little makeup, as soon as I'm out of bed, I soon start feeling like I must be either sick or depressed. Motivation, confidence and good feelings ebb away.

      My clothes send a strong message to my mind and body. Even going for a fast walk or to the physical therapy gym I'm personally happier in comfortable jeans or stretchy casual pants and a quick-changeable tee than in sweats or workout gear, though when I have taken yoga classes I've been happy to wear yoga clothes or something approximating that during class time.

      I can conceptually understand the cozy factor and emotional comfort many feel when they stay in pjs or robe or gym clothes (all the same to me, just for myself) much of the day or whenever they are not out of the house. I sort of get the idea that we dress to impress others when we are out, and we dress to pamper ourselves with whatever is comforting whenever we are at home. I especially can understand it when time at home is rare and precious and time away is spent very "dressed".

      But however I can appreciate it in my mind, in practice I shudder. I think I must really dress for myself more than anything, and my particular self wants to feel nice in the same way other people would say I look nice. No matter how upscale and chic and coordinated the gym or lounge clothes, they send my particular self only messages that drain me rather than inspire and genuinely comfort me. Looking in my home mirror at any time of any day and feeling confident and knowing that's the way I live is far more comforting to me than any elastic waistband.

      For everyone who rocks the gym look inside and out of the house, and inside yourself and in the mirror, more power to you. I know it can be either a good look or a great comfort to a lot of people. I've tried and I can't do it without disappointing results all around.

      I love the chicness of almost everything Janice shows on this blog. I learn so much about keeping an easy system of managing and wearing my clothes so they give me what I really want from them. I guess that's really what we all want.

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    3. Pam, I think that students appreciate the respect that you show them by dressing as if each class is an important event.

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    4. Pam, I had a teacher in school who was always very elegantly dressed. Her wardrobe was understated but beautifully coordinated. I still remember her and still think that if I can ever achieve that level of personal style, I will have "arrived." :)

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    5. Last year my daughter had a geography teacher who always dressed with panache. She was admired by all junior high school students. And the girls would note, discuss and admire her every day.
      Please consider doing more posts on smart casual dressing.
      thanks
      Irene

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  21. Of all the wardrobe analyses, overhauls, and programs I've done in the last year or two, this simple math exercise is the one that had the clearest message. I did not approach it from the gym rat direction, rather the opposite. My lifestyle, measured in # of outfits needed in a month) required less than 20 percent business or "going out" type clothing, but my closet contained more than 70 percent business and dressy outfits. My pie charts were very illuminating! This is a great place to start for people who are wondering how, why, or when to redo their wardrobes.

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  22. Yes, I totally have too many dressy things for my life right now. But no, that won't stop me from looking at your Hermes scarves for sale! I've kind of decided I need to create a life that includes more excuses to get dressed up. We just got season symphony tickets, for example. I love beautiful dressy clothes.
    But yes, I could make sure I've got enough casual, look-good clothes too. Great post Janice!

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  23. I don't have too many clothes...there is a balance of casual and dressy and my walking clothes.
    Every morning I get dressed with the thought I need to look presentable...I once got caught in my painting gear when I ran out ofpaint I zipped to the paint store and ran into a fellow that I had a huge crush on in high school...I looked horrible and was so embarrassed so I have that in the back of my mind when I go out!
    There are many nice gym clothes out there and they are sooo comfy...I can see why dressing this way is so appealing.

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  24. Thank you for being so honest with us, your readers! Truth is, most people's lives are pretty casual. On the into-mind blog, a blog of minimalist dressing, one of the things the writer has you do in assessing your wardrobe is to determine the percentage of time you spend doing various activities (like Katrina mentions in her post above) versus what is really in your closet. It's certainly more fun to buy clothes for the fantasy life, but in reality I think most people live in the more casual clothes.

    Janice, when you've posted your "what I wore this week" outfits, I always wondered how you would sit around the house working in some of those lovely outfits. I have 6 cats and can't imagine wearing anything at home other than jeans and a t-shirt lest I get snagged or drooled on! Covered in cat hair is a 100% given.

    While I love, love, love the posts you put together with all the lovely fantasy(for me) life clothes, it would be interesting to have a series on "real life casual" clothes. There's no reason one can't be casual and stylish. Even on days I work from home I have to have on actual pants rather than gym clothes. I just can't get anything done when I'm too casual :-)

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    1. I actually DO spend a lot of time here in our apartment, working on The Vivienne Files, dressed in a nicer outfit or dress. But my work days are "broken up" in a way a lot of other people's aren't - I might head out to lunch for 90 minutes, or race off for a doctor appointment, or at a minimum, walk across The Loop after work to meet Belovedest. Plus, I'm sort of manic about not buying anything - even the most dressy garment - unless I sit around in it for hours and be comfortable!

      And we have no pets....

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  25. I realized a long time ago that I shopped for the life I WISH I had (glamorous New York socialite), not the life I actually have (small Midwestern town self-employed computer geek). For the most part, I think I've stopped doing that, but it's a constant struggle. I'm still drawn to glamorous clothes I'll never wear!

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  26. Thank you so much for your honest re-appraisal of your wardrobe. I was going to write to you because my clothing needs are so unlike someone who works 9-5 in an office environment and voila - your post appears! I am a part-time preschool aide, and don't think a part-time job justifies a specific wardrobe - but the needs are such that it does! So my quest is for attractive clothes that can take dirty little fingers and be washable. All the staff sweep and wash floors as part of their jobs. These could not be investment clothes! I live in a casual part of Montana (men wear blue jeans and their best boots to weddings and funerals).

    I am trying to think what would work for the very hot summers that can last from may to October, with snow at any time! I have very little idea of what would work for investment pieces. (I did buy a lovely pair of trousers in a season-less fabric that fit wonderfully, and a cardigan). I would like to hear your suggestions, as well as any of your readers! (I'm thinking of cool dresses for summer. Love your blog!!

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    1. I live in NC where our summers are typically hot and very humid. I live in washable knit or linen dresses in the summer and accessorize with colorful sandals and jewelry. Most places are air conditioned so I'll take a shrug or cardigan with me into restaurants.

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  27. We move every couple of years. Overseas, back stateside, then back overseas, soon (not soon enough) again back stateside... And with every move my lifestyle changes. I've gone from full-time floor nurse (scrubs) to part-time volunteering and frequent traveling, to full-time work in an office setting (business casual), to full-time housewife. The scrubs were easy, the business casual was understandable, but I have never quite figured out what to wear when I'm not working full-time. It probably has a lot less to do with clothes than it does with the fact that I feel like a fish out of water when I'm not employed full-time. But knowing that doesn't make it any easier. Or at least it hasn't so far.

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  28. Interesting how much discussion this post has generated. I think we all project who we want to be on our wardrobes, instead of who we are. This can be good, encouraging us to wear nice clothes everyday or dress up for dinner, or bad, impacting our day to day life instead of making it easier or more luxurious.

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  29. I don't wear gym gear but do tend to wear old clothes for doing the housework / gardening / general slouching around watching tv.
    I have to wear a uniform at work (Fire Dept).
    I rarely go out for entertainment / socializing / dining. I have discovered over the years that I really dislike dressing up in formal wear. A complete opposite to what I was like in my teens and 20s, always dressed up, always going out, but then I lived in London, UK. Now I live in a rural farm town in southern Ontario.
    In the last two years I've been doing a major overhaul of my wardrobe. Thanks to this site I discovered J Jill.
    J Jill styles are what I am all about in my 50 + age. I choose clothes now based on smart / casual, comfortable, drapey and soft, easy to launder.
    Having to wear a uniform to work makes that part of my life easy, a no brainer. I retire in 2018, different home, less housework, no gardening, more travel and going to the city for mini-breaks (concerts, dining etc). I know I won't be dressing formally but at least now I have clothes that range from casual to smart, with the help of accessories and jewellery.
    And thanks to you Janice, I've learned to figure out what colours really suit me, that are my favourite shades and dump all the other weird and wonderful coloured clothes that didn't match up with anything else, that didn't really suit my skin tone i.e. bright orange. What was I thinking??!!!

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  30. I love the lifestyle pie chart. By doing that exercise I realized what mix of clothes I needed in my wardrobe. Just puts things in perspective. I am stay-at-home person but needed a dress for attending a wedding. So I bought one and know I might never wear it again as clothes go out fashion. But I knew that at the time of buying - it was an informed decision. Carol S

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  31. Confession is sooooooo good for the soul. I always hated dressing up. When I was a kid, partly because I didn't have many clothes, I immediately changed into my play clothes when I got home from school. That's much like changing into something more comfortable after work. And I always hated wearing makeup. It did not play nicely with my skin and I didn't look like me when I wore it. I finally stopped when I was about 40.

    This retired librarian never was a "chic" dresser. I dressed to relate to the people I served. That varied from job to job. The last 15 years of my career was spent in a research facility where the "suits" from corporate headquarters were suspect and not admired, and if anyone dressed up, the standard joking question was, "Where is your job interview?"

    In my husband's 27 year career at a different company, his wardrobe changed only slightly. He wore jeans and a T-shirt every day, usually with a lab coat over it. When he gained too much weight to feel comfortable in T-shirts, he switched to Hawaiian shirts. At one point he had a collection of about 50. Somewhere around that time he also moved out of the lab into a more administrative position, so the Hawaiian shirts were dressing up.

    Now that we have both been retired for 11 years, I can tell by our weekly laundry what we do during the week. We wear gym clothes (stretchy, breathable pants and a T-shirt) twice a week to the gym and usually don't change for the errands after, although he might change into a different T-shirt if he gets really sweaty. Costco and Walmart don't care what we have on. He has one gym outfit he wears and washes every time. I have 3 so I don't have to do that.

    We wear "house pants" and T-shirts the rest of the time at home. We might, accent on might, make the hour plus drive into town 2-3 times per month (other than to the gym) for doctor appointments. Then he will wear a pair of jeans and a T-shirt. I wear something somewhat nicer, but I'm sure it would not qualify as even casual city. Tucson is way more casual than I'm sure the casual city you see in your neighborhood is. I suspect that most of Chicago is way more casual than that, too.

    As far as anyone seeing us at home, that would be the few people (total 7) who live on the 3 sides of us, any workmen that come to the house and maybe the UPS guy. Otherwise it would be the coyotes, ground squirrels, javelina, snakes, lizards, hawks, roadrunners, jackrabbits, and other desert critters on our land or out and about when I'm walking our dog.

    Where this blog has been very helpful is with my packing for our European trips. My husband doesn't change much from his T-shirt and jeans uniform for those, but I do like a bit more variety and wear somewhat nicer things because they are lighter in weight, less bulky, wash easily and make it possible for me to use a 22" carry on and a tote for everything for a 4+ week trip.

    I am looking forward to what you do with this new realization from you and many others. I'm also hoping the garments chosen will be inexpensive and widely available.

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  32. To Anonymous at 12:50. I am the same way. If I dress in sweats or leave my PJs on I actually start to feel sickly as well. I also have to have shoes on at all times.

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  33. Love the honesty. I really like your wardrobe combos. But honestly, even at my advanced age I wear jeans and polo shirts or linen shirts 90% of the time. I work in theater tech and with HS kids, tend my grandkids (lots of car and sports time) and garden. I cook too well to get taken out to eat. We go to one or two black tie events a year. I have way too many silk shirts, jackets, and "office" things. I do wear nicer things to travel, but still lean to jeans with silk shirt and Hermes scarf even then. Guess I keep hoping for that fantasy life I'll never have.

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  34. I have a whole collection of floor-length beaded/red carpet evening dresses, with nowhere to wear such dresses. How ridiculous! I too tend to spend a lot of time in my workout clothes, though, regrettably, I haven't done a workout in months... Must try harder.

    OTOH, when I venture out of the house I tend to wear much less sloppy/casual attire than most people. I don't find jeans very comfortable or attractive so I am more likely to wear a wool skirt and silk top, or a silk dress, than jeans, even if I am only going grocery shopping. I don't wear much makeup though: to me many women's makeup tends to look plastered on with a trowel, and I don't personally find it beautiful. If I wear mascara, I don't wear lip stain, and if I wear lip stain I don't wear mascara. I never wear BB cream or foundation, because I've never found one that looks like natural skin as opposed to a layer of plastered on paint.

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  35. AND once again you've hit the nail on the head! My biggest gym failure isn't that I don't want to go ... It's that I don't want to drive all the way back home from shopping or errands or lunch with the girls to change into my very old, very faded gym togs (insert 'rags'). NOW I get it! Thanks again, old friend.

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  36. I don't believe in going out in gym clothes. When I finish the workout, in summer I change my gym top for an ironed cotton shirt. In winter I put jeans on top of my gym leggings as I don't believe leggings are outerwear and unless it is very hot I put on a "third piece" which is some sort of jacket which is quite sporty. None of this takes any time at all and I then don't run into anyone while I'm in only gym clothes.
    Having said that, the new trend in retail is the "fitster" market which is flattering gym clothes, since most young nonworking mums seem to live in them. My daughters bought me some Lorna Jane "flashdance" pants for going to the gym and they are super comfortable, flattering and can be worn with a shirt or jacket after the gym (as above).
    But I'm afraid I believe that wearing gym clothes all day is a very bad habit unless you ae a fitness professional who works in fitness all day. If you're not, plan your life to do better as we don't want to down the slippery slope of letting ourselves go, do we ladies?

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    1. My counter is this. I work a full time professional job. I dress when I volunteer, network, run errands, etc. I am also an active tennis player in public parks, I practice Yoga and a martial art in studios, I run on public sidewalks, and do some weight training in my office gym. My exercise is public! Part of me looking my best does include a well fitted, attractive, clean, comfortable wardrobe of athletic wear.

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    2. Also- sometimes I like to attend a lunch time yoga class at a studio near my work. To save time, I have been known to wear ankle boots and a wrap dress over leggings and a tunic tank to ease the transition to and from work.

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  37. As a PS, might I add the Oscar de la Renta quote that if you don't dress well every day you lose the habit and its not about the clothes it is about how you live your life.
    Having said that, you have to dress for the life you lead, so putting more money and time into buying well-fitting jeans might make sense.Also pretty shoes add quite a bit to any ensemble, as Janice always shows us, and they can be sporty and casual.
    The move to casual dressing is kinder to the young and fit than it is to older people but look around for inspiration. I saw two sisters yesterday, well into their seventies, dressed casually and beautifully. One had a pale mint cotton sweater, olive pants, green keds type slip-ons and a bright spring green bag. It went together fantastically. The other sister had well tailored black pants, pale mango cotton sweater and a lovely china bead painted necklace in colours which tied her ensemble together.
    You just thought, wouldn't they be interesting and positive people to meet?

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    1. For the first time ever, I have found myself with a strong negative reaction to the tone of comments on this blog. I was going to just let it go, but in the end decided to speak up.

      It may not have been intended that way, but to me the comments of Anonymous above (at 12:50am and at 6:53pm, no April 19th) seemed to cross a line. There is a wide range of views expressed by the commenters on this blog, and of course there are some that one disagrees with. But I have never considered the comments of Janice and her readers to be offensive, including when commenting on what they consider to be appropriate or not; but these came across to me as very different. Comments like "unless you ae a fitness professional who works in fitness all day. If you're not, plan your life to do better" and "its not about the clothes it is about how you live your life" sound so superior and judgemental (even if the latter is a quote, in the context of the rest of the comments it comes across as a put-down), while "we don't want to down the slippery slope of letting ourselves go, do we ladies" is downright patronising.

      The writer knows nothing of any of us and our lives: will she ask every person dressed in gym clothes if they are a fitness professional before she looks down her nose at them?

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  38. You're really onto something here Janice and the discussion you've prompted is fascinating. So many of us (me included) are drawn to clothes that we don't really need for the way we live. It seems a mix of habit (buying what we used to need), fantasy (buying for the life we'd like to lead), denial (buying for the person we aren't), and probably much more.
    I think you show an excellent range of clothing styles in your examples, most of which are either already 'smart casual' or casual. The challenge for us is to - like you - be realistic about who we're shopping for (who am I really?) and why. Your pie chart is an excellent, simple way to help us.
    On another subject - the idea of the 'uniform' wardrobe - versions of the following article have been in the Australian media recently (you may have seen them already in the USA). They bring a new dimension to the discipline of the pared-back wardrobe. http://www.dailylife.com.au/dl-fashion/why-this-woman-wore-the-same-thing-to-work-every-day-for-three-years-20150415-1mlf7p.html I had to laugh.

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    1. Sorry about the split infinitive ... I was thinking about ideas not grammar.

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