This was originally going to be titled “A Dress A Day” but then I realised I was wearing jeggings, and now I’m in pyjamas, so “Hello Legs!” it is. The idea of a dress a day is something that began late last year and has now become a loose resolution for the year ahead.
It began with an impulse purchase (oh, how I’d love for more good things to start like that). I saw a beautiful fine knit dress, I was in need of cheering up and they had it in my size. It then hung on the back of the wardrobe door being watched from afar.
I have always been a jeans and t-shirt kind of person. I think it stems from school years where uniform involved either black trousers or a skirt, my last couple of years there in particular saw me wearing a skirt much of the time. So when I left school, partly as a way of distancing myself from school years, I stopped wearing skirts. And during those years, the only occasions I wore a dress were Halloween* and the senior dance.
Dresses always felt like something I “couldn’t” or “shouldn’t” wear. It’s perhaps telling that my relationship with my body during my school years was Not Good. For some reason this led to the idea that jeans were acceptable but dresses weren’t. Despite the fact that my body was no different in a dress, than in a pair of jeans, a dress was Off Limits.
It took getting married to get me back in a dress. In the intervening time, I had made do with trousers (a skirt made an appearance once!), telling myself that they were, of course, more suitable, practical etc. My wedding dress was the beginning of a change of heart towards dresses. It was simple and I felt good in it. Good was a strange feeling, but I liked it.
That was five years ago, though. It’s only been in the past four months that I’ve listened to that feeling. There have been points where I’ve tried dresses previous to four months ago, but I was always glad to take the dress off and not repeat the experience until the last one was sufficiently far in the past.
The impulse buy, it was bothering me, though. Especially as I had paid full price! I’m not sure what the tipping point was, but it was a familiar feeling to other points of “taking the plunge.” I paired the dress with leggings and wore a tank top underneath (it was a very fine knit). I went about my day as usual, and it was okay. No one screamed at the sight of my legs or my tummy. And I felt good. I felt comfortable.
I decided to repeat the experience. Repeatedly, as it were. Mr. Juniper hadn’t said much, other than to offer reassurances but I knew he was glad that I was enjoying this little experiment. I knew something had changed for good when I went out and bought another dress. Again, a fine knit one. I had the beginnings of knowing what suited me; chunky knits didn’t look so good, fine knits looked … good. (Bear in mind, this experiment started in October/November, so a warm dress is a bonus!)
It was at some point in December that I realised I hadn’t worn jeans for weeks. That was when I realised that I wanted to carry on like this. I had never been truly comfortable with jeans, however well they “fitted” they somehow always managed to not quite “fit.” But with dresses and either leggings or tights, I really was comfortable. That was when I started looking at another dress which had been lingering in the wardrobe, one that had been worn once or twice a year and then left neglected on the hanger. I adored the print but let my fear take over. But now, now I’m enjoying the print, at last.
I do, as is evident from the beginning, enjoy my jeggings (with a tunic, usually). I bought these somewhat by accident during the summer. I was about to go into hospital to have an operation and knew that on the drive home, if I was going to be sick, I could at least be sick in comfort. As it turned out, the jeggings have been very handy. They’re thicker than leggings and super when I’ve needed to sling something on in a hurry and for whatever reason a dress hasn’t been practical (it happens!).
In the mornings, I do sometimes glance at my jeans but then I remember: if women can climb Everest in dresses, I can manage daily life in one.
*There was one dress that I wore two years running, with fishnet tights, no less. It wasn’t until the SECOND year I wore it, that I was about to head out the door and my brother pointed out the dress was see-through. Always check!