Not a Thing to Wear

I’m almost sixty-four years old and I don’t own a dress.

There was a time in my life when I did have garments of such a decidedly feminine nature—back when I was about twenty-five, maybe. 

Don’t get me wrong.  I like dresses and sometimes find myself going through the dress racks at my favorite department store just to see what’s in style right now. 

I have even been tempted to try some on, although the gawd-awful lighting and fun house mirrors in the dressing rooms make the experience more of a psychedelic one than I would wish.

It’s just that at this point in my life, I really don’t need a dress.  I’m not a church goer (see The Orthodox Agnostic for more explanation on that) and I don’t have a paying job that I have to dress up for. 

The kindergarten kids I read to twice a week wouldn’t care if I came to our sessions in pajamas.  In fact, there is a Pajama Day at their school where everyone, including the teachers, wears his or her snuggliest jammies for a day. 

Is that a blogger’s dream or what?

At this stage of the game, I’m more into comfort than getting dolled up in a skirt or dress.  I have a lot of nice dark wash jeans (thank you Stacey and Clinton for the advice) and several pretty sweaters and tops so I always look put together when I have to go out in public.  

So it was amusing when my granddaughter asked me a probing fashion question the other day as we cuddled together on my couch, while watching “Ben 10 Alien Force” during our weekly Sugary Cereal/Cartoon Marathon at Memaw’s last week.

Most of her inquiries in the past have been of a theological nature, which always leave me squirming a bit as I try to walk that delicate line between not contradicting what her parents have been teaching her and my blurting out that Genesis is basically a creation myth. 

Sometimes I feel like I’m under the scrutiny of a miniature Torquemada—but one who’s much more adorable than the original, I can assure you.

This time, she kind of squinted at me with those sweet, green eyes of hers as she posed the question:

“Memaw, why don’t you ever wear a dress?”     

My answer was essentially what I’ve just been saying here; that I don’t really have the need for one and I like wearing pants because they’re comfortable and easier to get around in for what I have to do during the day.

She thought about that for awhile and then told me:

“I know when you can wear one.”

“When?” I asked, thinking she would say “to church” and that I would have to dance around that minefield once again.  Instead, she said:

“To my wedding.”

I smiled (and melted inside) and said:

“You got it!  I will definitely wear a dress to your wedding.”

My granddaughter is eight.

I figure I’ve got a good fifteen years before I have to start looking.

My very first artist trading card

39 thoughts on “Not a Thing to Wear

    • My husband would echo you on that one, Thomas! A couple of years ago we gave some of his old clothes to our local thrift store and the suit he’d worn once to his oldest daughter’s wedding in 1981 was the first thing to go. 🙂


  1. I still remember my first full time job between high school and college. I had to wear a dress everyday. No other option. Now that seems like a joke. I wore a mother-of-the-bride dress and a mother-of-the-groom dress.


    • Ditto on the mother of the bride/groom dresses. In high school we had to wear dresses or skirts every day AND nylon stockings–held up by a girdle with those irritating hook things! Wish I had the shape now that I had back then when I didn’t need a girdle, but had to wear one anyway. Sheesh!


  2. Actually, I LIKE wearing dresses–the kind that just hang there. Try finding one. Everything is sleeveless and short, and if that isn’t insult enough, they throw some spandex in there to make it ride up your butt and sit there. I want my muumuu!

    Funny how kids notice those things. When one of my daughters had a conference with her son’s teacher, he asked what she planned to wear. Surprised at the question, she said, “A nice pair of pants.”

    He shook his head. “Wear a dress,” he told her. “A pink one.”

    She’s 8? You’d better start shopping.


  3. i’m awaiting the day when i can retire the suit jackets for good… i tend toward men’s suit jackets for work. they’re better made, and have a far nicer ‘hang’…


    • Yes, why is it men’s clothes are usually better quality than women’s but at the same time generally less expensive? Maybe for the same reason Viagra is more likely to be covered in insurance policies but birth control pills aren’t. Hmmm……


  4. I’ve never owned a dress either.
    Being a man, that has rarely been an issue.

    For most of my life I wore dark clothes, usually black. One day I came home from shopping with a red shirt. Totally blew my mother’s mind. I still more or less wear the same type of clothes, but every once in a while I work in something different and there is always a comment from someone. I was always a very casual teacher and I dressed neatly but usually wore jeans. Sometimes if I had a meeting I’d wear a suit and the kids would never let me hear the end of it.


  5. I think dresses are ‘out.’ My daughter and I tried to find some cute spring ones but they don’t exist anymore I guess. I just own ONE dress that is comfy, like a sack. Oh, and one old black linen one frmo the 1990’s for upcoming funerals.

    I do love me some Stacy & Clinton! They are hysterical.


      • Or maybe the “sisterhood of the dusty dress’ (for the one we really do have hanging in the back of hte closet ‘just in case’). I do have a pair of shoes with something called ‘heels’ – just one pair, unworn in YEARS, and also ‘just in case’.


      • I don’t even have a dusty one, Moe! I got rid of any of those in my periodic closet purges. I go through like a Cossack and ruthlessly toss out stuff I haven’t worn in a long time. The only things that have survived the purges are my high school song leader (dance) costume from 1965 and a fringe-trimmed leather jacket from 1970. They have achieved the status of religious relics after all this time.

        I’ve likened the song leader costume to the Shroud of Turin—I drag it out once in a while and worship what I used to look like. 🙂


  6. Pingback: She speaks for me | Whatever Works

  7. Clean jeans is dressed up in my neighborhood. There are dresses in the back of the closet, but wearing them would look silly. Love your granddaughter’s foresight…for sure dress codes will have changed by the time she walks down the aisle.


  8. I’m the same way! I live in jeans, leggings, or jeggings, can not wear spike heels though I love them, and have some cool tops and jewelry when I try to be presentable. But I did wear a gown to my daughter’s wedding. I’m sure you’ll have a wonderful time and look great in your dress when your granddaughter gets married 🙂


    • Hi, Amy! Good to hear from you again! Shoes are another thing that have to be comfortable for me anymore. Gone are the days of enduring foot pain just to be fashionable. I wonder if I wore a long gown to the wedding if I could get away with bedroom slippers underneath. Ya think?


  9. Dresses are no longer my bag, either, although I will be buying one for the Bar Mitzvah I’m attending this summer!

    That said, I had fun dressing up for my wedding day. 🙂

    Love the ATC!


  10. When my niece got married, they wore dresses but all went barefeet. At least that was the plan. Possibly not the best plan when you live in Wisconsin.

    Like you, I haven’t worn a dress in years but I did make some skirts to wear when making a long car trip, in the summer, in an unairconditioned car. A cotton skirt is way cooler than jeans. I’ve got a pattern for a Cissy Spacek, on the farm style, dress that I’m going to whip up with my twelve previous projects are all done. RIGHT!

    In the meantime, I’m going barefoot. Heals are torture


    • savanvleck – skirts rule in the summer! I live in Florida and marvel at the folk around me wearing shorts with pockets and buttons and zippers and not a lot of air. I learned years ago that a lightweight, full(ish) – at least not fitted – skirt (long enough to skip the underpants!) is the coolest garment. Breezy too!

      Good choice for your car trip.


  11. What a great blog!
    First time reading and it won’t be the last!
    Given that I live in Canada, and this winter not letting go. Pants are the way to go ….along with undershirt, shirt, sweater and down coat!
    LOVE the ATC, which I have been doing for 10 years.


  12. I just found you and love this post. I will have to go back and read some of the others. Your granddaughter sounds so sweet. And no, she will not forget your promise. Start shopping. I think Stacy and Clinton could help with that, too!


    • Thanks so much for your kind comments, Chlost! Yes, my granddaughter forgets nothing so I’m sure my promise will not escape unnoticed. I’m afraid if I bought anything now it would probably disintegrate in the back of my closet by the time I need to wear it.

      Thanks for stopping by–y’all come back!


  13. Yes, not only do I know about ATC quaterly , but Ronna is a good friend of mine. We were both at the very first meeting trading 10 years ago!
    Where do you think I got the idea to check out your blog: Ronna’s! During a slow morning at the office.


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