When You Blog in Your Pajamas

Bluebird of Friendliness. My daughter took this sweet photo.

Bluebird of Friendliness. My daughter took this sweet photo.

Miles I ran yesterday: 4.5

Hours in the day I wear running clothes: 1

Hours in the day I “dress up”: 2?

I made a Scarlett O’Hara-type vow when I was 13: I would never again, as God was my witness, wear a slip.

Of all the slippery-ish, uncomfortable, meaningless garments in the world… grrr!

By the way, have you heard we’re getting a new pope? And have you heard about what Princess Kate wore at her last public event?

My mom and I were talking last night about why the media seems to seize on certain events and people who may or may not affect the world too much one way or the other.

The answer: pomp and circumstance.

We, as a culture, are experiencing a dearth of pomp and circumstance.

No one (thank God) wears slips anymore.

I can blog in my pajamas (or sweat pants or running clothes).

When I meet clients or have interviews, I can meet with them in “business casual” clothes, whatever that means.Β When I see gorgeous gowns hanging in the windows of boutiques, I wonder who really wears them.

But a pope? Steeped in centuries of tradition, mysterious rituals and great costume changes? Why wouldn’t the media want to cover it?

My mom used to place a very high value on dressing “appropriately.” When we went to the ballet or the symphony or church or a silly school concert, it involved a certain amount ofΒ procedure.

There was the annoying process of getting ready. Then, throughout the event, the pantyhose would wriggle down my legs or tear or leave elephantine creases at my ankles. The dreaded slip would shift around in opposite directions from the dress or skirt or cling embarrassingly to my legs as the wind and static cling had their ways with me.

By the time I got to college, there were fewer and fewer events where I had to dress appropriately. And at the end of college, I had to dress up one final time.

The only time I remember being certifiably hung over was the morning of my college graduation.

Someone, I don’t remember who, talked me into tequila shots the night before. There was a certain throw-caution-to-the-winds-who-cares-if-I-don’t-yet-have-a-job-and-have-to-attend-graduation-tomorrow?

It felt nice.

Until my parents and sister showed up at the door of my room to attend the ceremony. I had dragged myself through the shower and was lying across my twin bed with my head dangling over the edge.

I was not a pretty sight.

But I threw on (slowly, very slowly) a dress, sans slip, and my Carolina blue graduation gown.

The temperature outside in May felt like 98; it was probably in the 80s. We made our way to the football stadium, a gorgeous procession of blue the color of the sky.

I was sweating underneath my gown, and I couldn’t find my friends. My best friend had graduated in December, and my boyfriend wasn’t even close to graduating. I was adrift in a sea of blue, buffeted about until I found a blessedly cool bleacher.

My head hurt. My heart hurt. I was finished with school and had nowhere to go but back to live at home with mom and dad.

But when I sat in the middle of a group of rowdy fellow graduates, the sky all puffy white clouds and clear blue, the mortarboards and gowns so festive and optimistic, I felt my spirits lift. The speakers played our fight song and “In My Mind I’m Going to Carolina.” The professors up on stage, set apart by their serious black gowns and stripes that meant business, told us that we’d achieved something.

My dress stuck to my legs, but I didn’t care.

I was going places in this world, and a slip was not going with me.

Do you think that pomp and circumstance still has a place in our super-casual world? Why do you think that we resist tradition when people are so obviously drawn to it?

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44 thoughts on “When You Blog in Your Pajamas

  1. David Gentry says:

    Amazing, Anne, how you can paint a scene!

    To everything there is a season …. The season of casual will end.

  2. Carrie Rubin says:

    I think it’s nice to dress up for special occasions, and I’ll do so if forced to. But it’s a rare event that will get me in a dress, and an even rarer one that will get me in pantyhose. Could there be a more uncomfortable garment? Well, aside from a straitjacket…

    • annewoodman says:

      There is something so amazing about a sea of people dressed in some sort of costume: Mardi Gras, graduation, dance festivals, weddings… I hope those never end.

      But I concur: pantyhose not required.

      • Carrie Rubin says:

        Speaking of Mardi Gras, which I didn’t even know it was today, I just got back from lunch at TGIF’s with my husband (yes, not the best restaurant I know, but I really wanted the black bean burger; it’s meatless and yummy), where the waitress offered us beads for Mardi Gras. Really? At lunch? Was I a party pooper to say no? Sigh. I’m no fun at all…

      • annewoodman says:

        I hope she wasn’t expecting you to do anything to get the beads, Carrie. ; ) I didn’t realize TGIF’s was that kind of restaurant.

      • Carrie Rubin says:

        I sincerely hope not, too. πŸ˜‰

  3. Bernie Brown says:

    I am from your mom’s generation and I still wear a slip. Should I say that publicly and still hope to keep my friends? πŸ™‚ I also like to dress up. So, I guess I’d say I’m drawn to pomp and circumstance. And I am in awe of the pope and the queen, and I’m neither Catholic nor British, so I guess that proves I’m a sucker for ceremony. And by the way, Miss Anne, I have seen you lookin’ very good all dressed up on several occasions, so you must harbor some secret desires to escape our oh-so-casual society. πŸ™‚

    • annewoodman says:

      Thanks, Bernie. I do love to dress up! I love pomp and circumstance. I do plan to never wear a slip again (I try to buy dresses that are already completely lined ; ). It is nice when there is a time to dress up, a time to dress down.

  4. A time and a place, Anne. A time and a place. Men also have useless attire, ties! It takes a death or a wedding to get me into one anymore. When I started in banking, I was required to wear a suit coat at my desk. Talk about uncomfortable during the summer. Now it’s khakis and oxford shirts. The one thing I will say abut dressing up is that there were no ugly women at prom. πŸ˜‰

    • annewoodman says:

      Ha! You always manage to hit the nail on the head, Dennis. ; ) Yes, banking seems to be one of the last bastions of formal dressing.

      Men look so very nice in a suit and tie. But if I were a man, I would hate having that noose around my neck! Glad the summers are more bearable now.

  5. thepoelog says:

    I wear a slip. I’m wearing one right now. Because otherwise, my pencil skirt would be sticking to my tights and the hem of said skirt would slowly creep up my tights until I was pulling an Ann Hathaway on my 10 minute walk to the metro. Or the static between skirt and tights would cause me to get electrocuted the next time I touched a door handle. And lined dresses are fine until it gets hot and humid (ah, DC) and the lining sticks to you, while your dress or skirt goes in a completely different direction. A slip is much better at making a suitable barrier. This is based on endless research and experience, and is an immutable fact. Alas.

  6. Daryl says:

    I still like to dress up when I fly, and when I go to nice restaurants (even when I’m by myself). People seem eager to please when you are well-dress–it’s weird. Hey, but if I get a little extra pour of wine, or a larger helping of apple pie, it’s all worth it πŸ˜‰

    • annewoodman says:

      The point being: there’s a reason why Daniel Craig is the epitome of cool. I’ve never seen him wearing sweats.

      I am very glad you still dress up. You need to do it more when we’re together… not when you’re flying and going to nice restaurants solo. ; )

  7. I like to dress up occasionally, but most of the time I’m much happier in comfortable clothes. I’m glad that my day job doesn’t require me to wear a suit or anything like that, smart casual is fine there most of the time unless we have a big important meeting.

    I do have a slip and it is for a very particular purpose. I have a wraparound dress which is black and has a sheen to it, the trouble is, because the material is silky, it can have a tendency to slide open a bit, so I have a black slip I wear underneath which looks almost identical to the material of the dress, so if there is any slipping and opening going on with the dress, nothing inappropriate is revealed!

  8. robincoyle says:

    You rebel you! No slip!

    However, slips have their place. In the rubbish.

  9. jmmcdowell says:

    I really enjoy the idea of dressing up. It’s the implementation that’s hard for me. πŸ˜‰ I’m with you 100 percent on the slips. I never liked them, and the straps always seemed to slip on me no matter what I tried.

    I’ll have to dress up in May when my niece gets married. Any recommendations for a good chain store where I can find a nice outfit? πŸ˜‰

    • annewoodman says:

      Ooooh! Do you have a Nordstrom Rack? Great dressy dresses at a decent price. Some TJ Maxx stores have a great, unexpectedly good selection of dresses. Also, Banana Republic can have good dresses that would also be work appropriate after all is said and done. One of my favorite wedding appropriate dresses came from White House Black Market. Oooh. Don’t get me started. ; )

      • jmmcdowell says:

        There is a Nordstrom Rack nearby! And the others are close, too. Thanks so much for the tips! πŸ™‚ (When you get to Katarina’s story in the manuscript, there’s what I hope you’ll think is a fun scene where she has to dress up for an event with a bit of pomp and ceremony. πŸ˜‰ )

  10. 4amWriter says:

    I used to enjoy dressing up, but that was before I had kids. It just seems like far too much trouble trying to deal with children and cleaning the house while in a dress and heels. My husband can’t stand that I’m in my pj’s or sweats at 6 in the evening, but it’s so much easier to pick up toys, wash dishes, run up and down from the laundry room in yoga pants.

    As much as I enjoyed dressing up, I hated slips and hose. I could never find the right fit. But they made me feel mature and put-together nevertheless.

  11. Amy Mak says:

    Sometimes I actually wish I would “make more of an effort.” I have made a vow that I will get dressed in the morning and put on some mascara b/c I am far more productive…even if no one sees me all day. Isn’t that funny? I think there is a place for dressing up. I like that my kids (and I) put on church clothes each sunday. Concerts, symphonies, meeting the queen (?)…but I shall never wear nude hose again. Ever.

    • Amy Mak says:

      …and my husband works at a school and when some of the kids walk around in their pajamas and boxers hanging out of their jeans I want to yank their pants up myself! Make an effort! πŸ™‚

      • annewoodman says:

        One of my friends has actually stopped a college student to tell them that jeans hanging low isn’t a good look. In today’s violent climate, I told her she was lucky he didn’t have a weapon.

    • annewoodman says:

      Me either, Amy. Maybe we could start a movement: No Nude Hose Ever (NNHE). When Princess Kate started wearing nude hose, I swore.

  12. Melissa says:

    I used to work for an attorney who believed in “proper” dressing. Casual Friday meant I wore slacks. Otherwise, I wore skirts with slips, hose, pumps, etc. And jeans? *gasp* Never. I now work in a place where jeans are worn by everyone everyday. If someone dresses up, then they must have some function to attend at some point in the day. I’m just vain enough that I try to walk out of the house looking somewhat put together.

    I think that the further we step away from the traditions of “pomp and circumstance” the more we crave them. It’s kind of like the United States being the great democracy it is, but so many of us are fascinated by the “Royal Family” in England. Then we dub the Kennedy family as America’s Royalty. There’s a comfort in the tradition of it all.

  13. I dressed up today. I have on jeans as opposed to my Sponge Bob Square Pants pajama pants.
    What is this word: “slip”?

  14. I always feel sorry for my friends who have normal jobs and therefore a work wardrobe as well as a casual one. But then again, they have the money to afford two different wardrobes!! That is a really gorgeous picture at the top of the page. Did your husband take that one – I know he takes cool shots?

  15. I think pomp and circumstance has so much attraction to so many because it is so alien to the everyday. You can take an interest and still be detached. It’s like watching a soap opera. Or slowing down to peek at a car wreck along the side of the road.

  16. Ravena Guron says:

    I dressed up properly once, for my year 11 (I was 15) prom. It was horrible. I was really aware of the fact that my dress kept slipping and by the end of the night my 3 inch heels were killing me. So we all took off our shoes and did the rest of the night barefoot πŸ˜€

    I’ve seen Kate Middleton dressing up and I’ve always been like, people call her a style icon, but who really wears that in real life? Like the people who don’t play polo…. and stuff? (I couldn’t think of any more real life rich people activities :D)

    • annewoodman says:

      You don’t do rich people activities on a regular basis, Ravena? Hmmmm. ; )

      The heels are seriously damaging… now that I’m an oldie, I have to be very careful which shoes I wear to go to all those polo matches and horse races and cocktail parties… kidding. I don’t do any of that. ; )

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