8.31.2015

Look Presentable Always: An Anecdote 2015

Before we begin today, thank you so much for your overwhelming outpouring of support after last week's post. Through the blog, social media, YouTube and private message, hundreds of you wrote in to offer condolences and share your memories of Gatsby and of your own dear pets and I can't tell you how that has helped me in the grieving process. Thank you. Thank you. Every day it gets easier but as you know, losing a dear pet is a very hard thing to go through. It will take time to heal.



This week's post shares an anecdote from this summer on looking presentable always. Why do I write about this topic and why do I continue to explore it? I believe that looking presentable is more than just a superficial thing. It's not just about style. It's not just about beauty. It's not about impressing other people. It is about so much more than that. It is about dignity. It is about respect: both respect for self and respect for others. I am sure you have noticed how casual and sloppy our society is becoming. It is rapidly changing every single day. This is something that bothers me deeply. Does it bother you? All we can do is work on ourselves and strive to present ourselves beautifully each day, to the best of our ability. This small action, believe it or not, can help to turn the problem around.

Check out this week's video to hear my anecdote as well as further thoughts on the subject. If you are unable to see the video above, click here, look in the sidebar of this blog, or visit my channel: www.youtube.com/TheDailyConnoisseur

News
Polish Your Poise with Madame Chic: Lessons in Everyday Elegance comes out October 27th from Simon & Schuster. Pre-order available now.

Madame Chic Inspiring Thought
Rather than a thought, this week I have a task for you. This week be an observer. Observe other people, whether strange or familiar. Take note of how they present themselves through dress. Observe the way you present yourself. Analyze how these observations make you feel. Just store this information for now. We will do more with it later.

Comment of the Week
Kelsey W writes:

This video really inspired me. I was sitting on the computer in my yoga clothes (after Mom and Baby yoga this morning) while the baby napped. While watching I realized this and quickly paused it, hopped in the shower, and then threw on whatever I found that was clean. Then, I caught myself wearing athletic wear again so put a bit more thought into my outfit. Now I'm wearing dark green khaki shorts, a grey and white striped tee, and even found a necklace and bracelet. Who said you can't look nice for a day at home with the baby! :)

Kelsey, I loved your comment and I am so happy that you and your baby are both benefitting from this. Well done!

This week I would love to hear from you. What do you observe from how people present themselves today? Do you strive to look presentable always? Why is this important? Let me know and you could be picked as the comment of the week!

Until next time...

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43 comments:

Jessica Schneidereit said...

After living in a casual college town for ten years and then a ski town for two, my husband took a job in Sacramento that included free rent in a gated enclave. I'm sure the neighbors cringed as we pulled up in our U-haul and beat up Suburu with the canoe on top! The next morning I ran to the grocery store to buy food. I was wearing a particularly ugly pair of sweats and an equally bad shirt. I was shocked to see woman who actually had dressed up to go shopping. They had nice fitting jeans and cute shoes on and blazers. Then I saw a woman I had gone to high school with! I ducked around the store, grabbed a few essentials and got out, determined to never let that happen again.
Murphy's Law is the worse you go out in public, the higher chance you'll have of running into an old acquaintance, and that person WILL be nicely dressed.
allsquaredup.blogspot.com

Andrea W said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Elisabeth said...

Oh my word, I have an example of an epic fail...

I was feeling particularly worn down one Friday morning a few weeks ago - and I knew I would be at my desk all day because I was swamped at work!! SOOO, I wore yoga pants and a t-shirt to work (Madame Chic would NOT approve). Of course, I received a lovely email from a dear friend inviting me to a ladies fund raiser for a local shelter - and I could not say no. Yes, it was a very casual affair, however, yoga pants and flip flops were not presenting my best self. It was a bitter lesson to learn, and has made me more determined to dress appropriately EVERY SINGLE DAY - because you truly never know what a day will bring.

Thank you for your books and kind influence - you make me want to be a better me!! Blessings on you and yours as you mourn your sweet pup.

Grace and peace,

Elisabeth

Alice LoMascolo said...

Last week, I took my friend Holly to the hospital for some tests. Probably because of you, I was more than usually aware of how sloppy at least 90% of the people around me looked. I, of course, had on a nice dress, jewelry, and a minimum of makeup. I actually started to feel overdressed until I reminded myself that I was not overdressed - they were 'underdressed.' I cannot tell you how many compliments I received from the hospital staff, even a couple men who commented that my dress was beautiful. It was quite a morale boost and reminded me that others appreciate it when I take the time to look my best. Thanks, Jennifer, for your influence.

Linda Elliott said...

Sorry to hear about Gatsby Jennifer. I have been through a rough time myself and I agree it always makes me feel better to look presentable. I have run into people I haven't seen for years at the grocery store looking like a complete mess and it's so embarrassing. I won't be doing that anymore! Thanks for sharing.

Rebecca Sheffield said...

This was some pretty heavy vanity, I admit, but I took the time to shower, shave, fix my hair and put on a little makeup when I realized I was really in labor! My husband was timing my contractions and asked me if I was nearly done with my makeup, I said yes (slow going because I kept pausing for contractions), and he said "Good, because they're 2.5 - 3.5 minutes apart. We need to go!" My reasoning was that I'm going to feel miserable for any number of hours, and it's not going to make me feel better if I roll in there with sloppy hair, bare face, and PJs. Plus I had no idea how long before I'd get to shower again (turned out it was the day I left, so I'm glad I bothered). It makes me feel worse when I feel sloppy and "undone," and for labor I wanted any little boost I could get! I'm pregnant with baby #2, and, if there's time, I'll do it all over again!

Although I do recall some late night college trips to the grocery store (for who knows what--snacks?) with my roommate--both of us in pajamas. Why I thought that was "fun" I have no idea. :) Live and learn!

jackie said...

I am quite a bit older than you Jennifer and have watch these changes for most of my adult life. But it really became eye opening when I was working at the local grammar school a dozen+ yrs ago and saw how parents were sending their young children to school. It really was shocking to me. Young girls in skimpy skin tight exercise outfits, t-shirts with advertising and crude words on them...how could parents dress their 7 yr old children like this?... and sadly it has just gotten worse and worse. I applaud your efforts to bring back some decorum to everyday life. Because it does effect us in more ways than just style or fashion. It degrades the whole culture.

Tonya Leigh said...

First of all, I am SO sorry about your doggie, Gatsby. Love this topic so much. When I started truly caring about how I was showing up in my own life, my world exploded with opportunities that I'd never been available to when I was wearing sweats and not really caring. I also lost weight, another by-product of caring about your appearance. Thank you for inspiring us all to live more beautifully Jennifer!

mpenhoet said...

Your message makes me think of another area of life you touched upon- moving into a house. Life circumstances dictated that we move multiple times internationally and domestically over the last 15 months. With 4 children it's beyond stressful as you can imagine. Selling a home, and then renting a series of apartments and homes meant staying "lean mean and hyper organized" from wardrobe to kitchen ware.
What struck me in all this were my friends compliments and comments as they watched me "deal". I assumed it was purely logical that when the boxes arrived it was :size up the spaces, arrange the furniture, unpack essentials and put up the artwork, disperse the indoor plants and arrange newest flowers on dining table.
SO many of my friends responded by being stunned. More than once. "gosh we did not get around to putting pictures up for over a year" said one. "Flowers? plants? I can't even find my cooking pans!" said another.
This got me to thinking about the concepts you discuss in your book about living a lovely life. It's SO hard to move for kids! I always hung up their photos and put their bedspreads, rugs and pillows out FIRST so that night could be cozy.

I think we all buy into "oh it's all so stressful" and "it can wait"- when my own playbook dictates just the opposite. I derive enormous pleasure out of seeing our well-loved things arranged however they NOW fit wherever we NOW are - and boom. My family is happy, I am happy. Things are pretty and life moves effortlessly. Just my latest thoughts on living a wonderful life wherever it happens to be.

Marija Charlton said...

Hello Jennifer,

First of all, let me extend my sincere condolences to you and your family for your loss of the always-chic Mr. Gatsby.

For this weeks topic, my anecdote concerns my husbands and my move to a beautiful seaside town in Australia, known for its alternative, relaxed culture. As we walked around the town during our first week, my husband turned to me and said, -We might have to start dressing down and abandon wearing our shoes! Now, we are by no means a very glamorous couple, but we do dress nicely everyday, and I truly enjoy my morning time of getting ready and adding small touches of a scarf or jewelry to my outfit.
So, I replied that perhaps we could lift the people see around us, rather than it being the other way.

The funny thing is that, about an hours drive from us, the area is known for its ultra-glamorous style, so you will often see, women in particular, dressed to the nines, with thick layers of make-up and lashings of mascara. I always find it quite humorous, and wonder why it increasingly seems to be one or the other...

Much love,
Marija

Luciana Erregue said...

Something along the same lines happened last week to me, Jennifer, the "you never know" moment you so eloquently discuss with us, your audience. Last Saturday morning I woke up with quite a nasty chest cold. I did not feel like dressing up much, but I since I had to run errands, I decided to throw in a breton striped long sleeve t-shirt, (I live in Canada, so it is definitely colder than California) a taupe scarf, a pair of navy slacks and a pair of navy Clark's slip on clogs. By the time I returned back home, my chest cold was quickly becoming quite the asthma attack, which landed me in the emergency room of my local hospital.
My family took me to the hospital, and even though I felt absolutely terrible, looking presentable enough somewhat calmed the anxiety of feeling so out of sorts, giving me a gentle grip on controlling the situation as much as I could. I am doing much better now, but I still think about looking presentable always as one more tool when we need that extra reassurance that everything is going to be all right. Take Care,
Luciana from Edmonton.

celkalee said...

Personal maintenance has become somewhat optional these days and I am appalled every time I leave the house. A very long time ago I decided that I would not be that person and continue to be prepared much like you did when the welcoming neighbor arrived at your door. So many times I was glad that I was well groomed and dressed. The grocery store is a minefield. I cannot tell you how many times people I know from University or the hospital where I worked duck around the end shelves hoping to avoid me. They were without makeup, hair unkempt or ratty clothes. I have to admit a bit of self satisfaction during these events. Husband has remarked in the past how silly it is to be so 'fussy'...his words. He is starting to understand.

I have extended this philosophy to my home. My cleaning routines are automatic after years of fine tuning the process but one element never changes. I clean my kitchen as I work. My core rooms are guest ready all the time. My downstairs bathroom is spotless. I call this my 'dailies.' A quick Dyson sprint, no papers, mail or magazines out of place and a spray and wipe in the bathroom take care of that every day. It takes 30 minutes and I have a large house. Last but not least, the front porch/door must be clean and spider web free. That is no small feat when you live in the woods but it can be managed a few minutes daily.

Pets reflect our souls. I have had a lot of great dogs. On October 8th of last year I had to let go of my departed Son's best friend. He was 17, a large dog, the emptiness of his loss has remained. I have a beautiful black Lab that also belonged to him. She is the best dog I have ever known. She is 12. I know how difficult this is for you and my thoughts and prayers go out to you to cushion the grief. Just remember that in spite of the vast internet world we remain a supportive community. Take care.

Vicki Zimmerman said...

Jennifer, what a wonderful example you shared about your new neighbor welcoming you with fresh-baked brownies and you were dressed appropriately to welcome guests and take on the day. Bravo! I loved your story.

I was following a fashion blog before I found you, but you have really changed my perspective in so many wonderful ways through your eyes and your lessons from Madame Chic. Please keep posting more videos on looking presentable, because it isn't superficial or stylish.

Today, I went to a matinee with a friend to see an amazing foreign film, "Phoenix," and I dressed appropriately for the theater in white jeans and a navy cotton sweater and ballet flats, due to the air-conditioned environment. I felt polished with my daytime makeup and comfortable for the day.

As you shared in this week's video, life goes on, we don't take a day off and when we maintain our dignity, we feel better for it. Thank you, always, Jennifer.

Patricia said...

Jennifer, I love all your videos, have both of your books published thus far, will definitely purchase your newest book, and follow religiously the 10-item wardrobe because it makes life so much easier. As you say, I don't have to think about what to wear to look both presentable and fashionable. I so agree with your perception that society as a whole seems to have morphed, to my mind, from casual Friday to "anything goes," even pajama bottoms at the library or supermarket, to sadly shorts and t-shirts at a wake...the latter, to me, the least common denominator for lack of respect for oneself and others, in particular, the deceased.

So very sorry, Jennifer, for the loss of your dear Gatsby. My husband and I,
likewise, have endured the sadness of losing our two Golden(Retriever)Boys some years ago, each within four days of each other, though our elder pupper (My husband,Scott and I, don't have dogs, we have "puppers")Golden Boy, Chance, was 13...our other Golden Boy, Hunter, only six-years old. It took a bit of time for us to grieve them both,but healing for us involved noticing how empty our home seemed without their presence. Eventually we added Golden Boy, Cooper, to our family. When Cooper was five years old, we got our first Golden Girl, Bailey Rae, who just turned two. One of the ways that helped us in our grief was purchasing a brick for each of our first Goldens, inscribed with their Given Names, respectively, Chance and Hunter, and their Surname, Wilson with DOB-DOD placed in a walkway at Yankee Golden Retriever Rescue. We'd been long-time contributors, but we also added Tufts University Veterinary School (Tufts did their very best to try to save Hunter), and also the Connecticut Humane Society.

I am going to e-mail you a poem entitled "Rainbow Bridge," which helped us a lot because the sentiment allowed us to cry our hearts out. Having done so, we felt we'd honored our pupper companions, the memory of each of them, Chance and Hunter, forever engraved on our hearts.

Patricia Wilson
Columbia, CT














































































mariluvscoffee said...

Hi Jennifer - My mom has always instilled that in us. To always get dressed everyday, no matter how you feel. I remember a few times not feeling all that great, having a cold & my Mom said, you will feel better and have a better day if you get dressed & look presentable. I used to hate that she was always right! Now, I cherish all those little anecdotes from Mom. It is very refreshing to hear you share those same principles. Sadly, it seems alot of that has been lost today. I truly enjoy your blog & your advice is wonderful and refreshing!

Saltysue said...

Listening to your video reminded me of many occasions when feeling unwell, that if not I bed sleeping I would shower and dress and yes this would help me feel better. I was particularly shocked when in hospital prior to and after having my daughter by "C" section. Most of the other women would wonder around the maternity unit in night wear and robes all day, I don't know how mentally their bodies could differentiate between night and day. Although, after the birth, I was not the quickest on my feet I would shower and put a dress on and yes did feel more human on the outside, I sure this activity helped me stave off any baby blues.
My daughter is now a stylish 20 year old young women.

Josephine Chicatanyage said...

I totally agree with this philosophy. I have definitely had some very difficult times in my life however I have always made an effort to put on some make-up and get dressed. It makes some much difference to the way I have felt. When you do not have a choice about things happening around you at lease you have a choice about how you present yourself.

Rose said...

Jennifer you captured the word for this topic "dignity". What has happened to dignity? People seem to have no sense of shame in dressing sloppily, poor grooming is laughed off -- why? I find it a paradox that in an image-obsessed society people are so careless of themselves.

I remember the book "The Lost Art of Dress" that you recommended last year. Generations of women of all income ranges took pride in themselves and in presenting themselves as well as possible. Why are so many people losing this?

When did it become ok, even a matter of pride for women to be slobs?

Stephanie said...

In your book, you recommend getting rid of anything that is not presentable. Between that, and keeping my exercise clothes separate from my capsule wardrobe, I have been presentable all summer (well, almost every day) even though I don't have time and energy to think about it, with my oldest children out of school. Thank you for the inspiration.

Polly F. said...

There are so many good reasons why it is important to look always look presentable. Here is one that motivates me: I have three teenagers with smartphones... I have to tell you that there is no way I will let myself dress sloppily with those phones around all the time... I never know when my picture will be taken! :) Those images could be around long after I am gone, and I do not want my kids' memory of me to be one of those mamas who wore her yoga pants all day. I am dressed. I am presentable. I take care of myself. And that is how I want to be remembered in those phone images. :)

Thank you for your continued inspiration, Jennifer!

RebeccaHively said...

As a certified etiquette consultant, I thank you SO MUCH for such a timely and badly needed topic. I'm still amazed after all these years that people just don't seem to understand how much dignity and respect we feel inside if we ALWAYS project that on the outside by our dress, demeanor, facial expression etc. Thank you!

Ashley Buffa said...

It never fails, the day you don't get dressed and 'fixed' is the day someone shows up.

My husband and I were watching Cheaper by the Dozen II last night (we have eight children of our own). The family was on a cabin camping trip and I was struck by the way Kate (the mother) dressed the entire time. She was in cute skirts, tops, and cardigans, cute shoes, etc. the whole time. One night they even camped out in tents and she was in khaki capris, a fitted t-shirt, and a scarf around her neck. I'm not sure about the practicality of that particular outfit, but Kate's "brand" was definitely chic.

I'm constantly told "You don't look like a mother of eight children!" And I respond with "Well, how is a mother of eight supposed to look?" I enjoy being put together whether we go anywhere or not.

Earlier in my motherhood journey I realized that I rarely put my makeup on and wore my nicer clothes for regular days, but if I was going anywhere I would get dolled up. What kind of a message was I sending to my children? You don't get my best? You're not special enough to see me in makeup and earrings? So now I give my children and husband my very best every day, and the general public gets the fringe benefits.

~ Shannon said...

First of all, I am so sorry to hear of Gatsby's passing! It's been many years since I've had a pet, but I still remember the pain that comes from losing one. You have been in my thoughts and prayers!

As for being presentable always -- several times lately my four-year-old little boy has told me, "Mommy, you look so pretty in dresses!" Technically I wear skirts most of the time and only have a few dresses, but the sentiment is appreciated. :-) I didn't expect him to take so much notice of what I wear, especially at such a young age. So YES! Our families do notice how we look!

I'm so looking forward to your 3rd book, as the first two are wonderful! Thank you so much for your books and blog -- they are quite an inspiration and encouragement!

Blessings,
Shannon

Annie B. said...

Your comment has really struck a cord with me - I've been lagging on making our house a home, and we've been there for almost 2 years. Thank you for the inspiration to go home and make the house we live in NOW happy for us NOW.

Annie
Sweetbananie.blogspot.com

Maura Redmond said...

Since reading your books I have made more of an effort to wear nice clothing and be presentable always. I am very much looking forward to your next book.

My anecdote: As you probably know, school started here in LA a few weeks ago. I decided to wear a new dress as my "first day of school" outfit. I was talking to a mom at drop off and she works at a law office. She asked me where I worked. I told her I was a stay at home mom. She was surprised and said that I always look so nice that she just assumed that I worked. It was a very nice compliment to get. We certainly get our fair share of moms in yoga pants at drop off, but I have come to enjoy wearing nice clothing.

-Maura

ewa ew said...

I'm still I'm too lazy to always look good and of course always when I go in soiled blouse to the nearest store there I meet long unseen friend.

Soyokaze said...

Yesterday, as I arrived -late- to my taiji class (I'm working on my punctuality), I heard a friend of mine say something along the lines of remembering that every day is a present, thus we should always try to look and be our best to acknowledge and celebrate the present we are being given. I loved her perspective, and I thought you might like it too.

Kathryn Bechen said...

Jennifer, I totally agree with you on the concept of looking presentable always. When my husband and I were out the other day I told him I missed so much when it was a pleasure to look at your fellow humans and delight in the way they took care to present themselves well. It used to be like looking at "art" to see our fellow peoples. No more, sadly. I agree with you that what is happening worse and worse over time is simply a lack of respect for one's person, and for others as well to go out not only wearing shabby clothes, but the lack of grooming is very disturbing too. Both my husband and I are committed to looking our best always. That doesn't mean I wear a ball gown and he wears a tux to do errands. :) I will say though, that it does take work, and time, and some means. But I have also always felt that you can get your hair but at SuperCuts for $22 and have five nice clean pair of slacks, five nice tops, and three pairs of shoes from Goodwill and still look put together and attractive, so it's more about lack of caring for yourself! And, lack of organization and time management too. (Of course I would say that with the books I write, but it's true because everyone on the planet is busy.) I also agree with you that all we can do is look our best to set a better example. Blessings to you for keeping on keeping on with your important lifestyle message. :) P.S. Also, look up the poem Rainbow Bridge on Google; it will touch you in your Gatsby grieving.

Sarah said...

I rally appreciate the encouragement to look presentable always right now. I'm pregnant with my first child and just starting to get to the point where I'm going to need to wear maternity clothes. I can already see the appeal of living in the most comfortable clothes during pregnancy and maybe even more so once the baby arrives, but I hope to use this philosophy to pick out maternity and post-baby clothes that are both comfortable AND presentable. I know I'll feel better about the transition into motherhood if I feel that I'm presenting myself in a dignified way.

mimimanderly said...

I don't even have "grubby clothes" any more, because there are few tasks around the house that are really apt to ruin your clothes. Also, I see women in stores all the time, buying cute clothing. But I don't see them ever wearing this cute clothing. They go out running errands wearing things I'd be ashamed to wear out in the yard for gardening. What do they do with this nice clothing? I guess they just hang it in their closet for some special day that never happens. It's a shame; they could put the dress on, fix themselves up a little, and maybe then they would have their special day!

I like to dress nicely when I go out to run errands. A typical outfit for me this summer has been my white sundress, black and white polka dot wedgie sandals, my pearl necklace (which I always wear), earrings, and a red striped necktie worn as a belt that picks up the red in my toenail polish and my lipstick. The woman at the farm market I go to told me that I always dress so nicely. People also seem to talk to me more and treat me better when I am well-dressed.

Chrissie Thatcher said...

My 7 year old son was diagnosed October 22nd of last year with leukemia. For the first month we were in a bit of a haze and I think I did not even shower and wore my pink sweats the whole time we were in the hospital. When we got out of the hospital and a friend gifted me with a haircut and color. At first, I thought no way! I am not going. Then I thought well an hour away from home may do me good. It sure did. I felt a bit better, even in the midst of a hellish experience. I thought well I need get back to showering and dressing each day. So since that day I have committed to looking presentable daily mostly because I bought your book during one hospital stay. It really has helped me I feel stay more on top of things and not give in to the sadness. Now when I meet other newly diagnosed moms I encourage them to try and keep getting up everyday and getting dressed. It seems small but it really made a difference for me! It all started with a haircut and a book!

Ruth Carter said...

I think that looking presentable can be a manifestation of mental health. One of the things that doctors watch for in depressed patients is the lack of motivation to wash and dress properly. Obviously not all people who don't present themselves beautifully will be mentally ill but perhaps an inner, unacknowledged mental issue is being expressed. It has been noted that the current generation is the most medicated one ever and although clothing cannot fix many of the world's problems, self-perception is a concept which is often unexplored.
Regards,
Ruth

Evaline said...

Hi Jennifer,
How lucky are you! Neighbours who bring brownies!

If it's not an imposition, would you mind sharing the colour of your wall paint in the background please? We have been trying to find the right soft blue green for our bedroom and it is surprisingly challenging.

Thank you.

unmappedcountry.com said...

I"ve been dressing better lately, and I have to say that I've noticed my husband compliments me quite a bit. He really notices when I make an effort, and that inspires me to continue. I have to fight the self-consciousness when I'm around friends who don't really care what they wear - but I have noticed that now that I dress up a little more when we have people over for dinner, my guests make an effort, too. This is usually just the women, actually. The men are still in their uniform of short-sleeved button down and jeans, sometimes t-shirts.....

Thanks,
Hope

LoxleyEliah said...

I have a few antidotes.
1) As a teenager I was known for being overdressed to everything but people said it with a bit of envy and admiration. One day my father was driving me to the library to pick up and book and at the last minute decided to go in with me. Since he hadn't planned on going in he was wearing his holey work pants and painters shirt and no shoes! He asked if it would embarrass me if he went in and I said no, "but it might embarrass you" is what I was thinking. Sure enough he ran into one of his richer clients. Whoops!

2) Now as a young professional I have to dress up most days and find it tedious. In college I got used to wearing jeans, sneakers, and a t-shirt every day, with no make-up, and hair pulled back in a pony-tail. This allowed me to get out the door in 10 minutes from waking up and including eating breakfast. However, after dressing nicely for a few months it has gotten to were I feel sloppy in that uniform. I guess I had forgotten how good it felt to look good- and to get reacquainted with the feeling of fitted clothing. On my off days it is such a relief to make a good impression when I meet up with someone unexpectedly- especially as I am building my professional reputation.

3) My final antidote is actually about how dressing up could be the wrong option. Once when I had a pretty serious cold I went to see the doctor. Although I felt bad I dressed up in nice slacks, shoes and a very flattering sweater. When I got to the doctor's office all the nurses and the doctor told me I looked great and couldn't possibly be too sick! So I guess if you want more pity and to convince someone that you are truly run down you shouldn't dress up!
Of course on the other hand I find wait staff, customer service, and other professionals to treat you better when dressing up. You are even more likely to be bumped up into first class!

I do understand the pull to not dress up and I think one of the main reasons people use is comfort. Thus I think part of the solution to this problem is investment shopping (as you propose) to buy quality, comfortable goods. Of course you don't want to wear nice shoes if your nice shoes pinch or toes or don't support your arches. Or if your nice bra is itchy. Or if your nice pants are too tight. Choosing fewer clothes that look and feel great on you will help making dressing up less of a chore and more of an indulgence!

Sherry Johnson said...

Before a quick trip to Home Depot with my husband, I remembered your "look presentable always" philosophy. I took a minute to change my top, comb my hair and use lipstick. Sure enough, we walk through the door and my husband immediately sees a friend from his stamp club. I was introduced and because I felt presentable, was able to smile and converse with this man. I felt pretty sure I made a good impression.

You just never know when you will be glad to made the extra effort.
Sherry

mimimanderly said...

LoxleyEliah, above, made me laugh in remembrance of high school. I, too, tended to overdress, and even though it was the "hippie" era, I didn't even own a pair of jeans. One day, I wore an especially chic black and red outfit. While in the loo, combing my hair, a fellow student asked me if I was a teacher.

People always seem to fall back on the excuse that dressing sloppily is "more comfortable". If that's the case, these are people who just don't know how to shop. There are plenty of attractive and comfortable clothes out there. I know, because I buy them. I think that these people may be trying to fit in with their peers, and since their peers dress shabbily, they do as well.

galant said...

I have just watched our latest video and yes, I'm shocked, too, by how people dress and behave today. This has caused my husband and myself to shop in different parts of town where there is still a degree of decorum (an old fashioned word but I'm sure you know what I mean) and people dress and behave as one might hope, with dignity and courtesy. I also believe in dressing each day. I write for magazines and often spend the day sitting at my computer but I do so in neat jeans (always indigo, not ripped at the knees, that's a fashion fad too far for me!) shirt or Breton top, shoes, with hair washed and brushed and make-up on. Experience has taught me that you only have to have a 'sloppy' day, not bothering to shower and dress, but slobbing around in dressing gown, and sure as eggs is eggs, someone will knock on the door. Even if it is 'only' a delivery person (and they should be afforded the same dignity that a guest would be afforded) it is very embarrassing to have to apologise for ones apparel! And as well as washed hair, makeup and presentable clothes, I always make sure that I've spritzed with scent - I have three favourites I use in rotation: Hermes' Caleche; Hermes' 24 Faubourg; Channel 19. I don't feel dressed without my scent! And I only wear bedroom slippers from bedroom to bathroom (and in the UK 'bathroom' means that, it is not a euphemism for the lavatory) and once dressed, I wear shoes in the house because shoes prevent you from slobbing, too!
I am so looking forward to Madame Chic book Number three!
Oh, and I totally agree with LoxleyEliah above ... I also try my best to look smart when attending the doctor's surgery and then I'm sure that he won't think I need ot be there!
Love your blog, by the way. Even at my great age I can learn a trick or two!
Margaret P

Ann said...

Hi Jennifer - first, my sympathy on the loss of Gatsby. And...I am so interested in this topic. I am a school librarian and I dress professionally every day. I notice a difference in the behavior of the students when I am dressed...and they often comment on my outfits, so I feel I am making a positive impression. I am working on not being as sloppy when I change out of my "good school clothes" and wearing tailored jeans and nice tops to work around the house after school. I see others at school and out in the world who dress sloppily and I can't figure out why. You can be just as comfortable in nice clothing. We have Casual Fridays where we donate money to dress casually - I make sure I have dark washed jeans and trendy tops. Some people dress so sloppily, a co-worker commented under her breath " I wouldn't wear that to clean the house in". My husband and I see it at church each Sunday as well....shorts, sports team tee shirts, flip flops....expensive items but not appropriate for worship. We were lucky enough to take a two week river cruise in Europe this summer - and while there are no more very formal nights on cruises we made sure to have nice outfits for the evening meal and programs. Again, we were amazed at how sloppily people dressed. I don't want to be critical, but I can't help observing this and wondering....for what occasion DO you put effort into your appearance? Like others have mentioned, sometimes I get the comment "What are you all dressed up for ?"....I want to say "for ME!" Thank you for your wonderful books and your blog...looking forward to your new book !

Jeanne Denning said...

This is the first time I have heard of you or watched you, but I was delighted with your comments today. My mother had a rule that whenever I left the house, I had to look as good as I could for whatever I was going to do. I was never allowed to leave the house in curlers (this was in the 1950's). She died in 1964 and the 3 times I left the house in curlers (in the mid-1960's) I ran into someone I had not seen in years and felt so foolish. Needless to say, I did not do that again. That advice has served me well all my life as people always comment on how nice I look, or 'you always look great'. It wasn't long in the early years before I realized how much my daily mood was impacted by how I looked--so following this 'rule' has been one of the nicest things I have done for myself. It is such a treat to see someone in your generation feeling this way---and doing something about it!! Kudos to you!!
Jeanne

Anna Carini said...

Hi Jennifer,

I just wanted to let you know how much I have loved your books and blog! I have changed by life style so much! I have loved the 10-item wardrobe this summer and pretty much always wear dresses and skirts now. I've been so inspired by you!

One question I have is about what to do for cold weather. I live in Philadelphia, and I always struggle to dress nicely when it gets cold. All I want to wear on a morning is a fleece and warm sweatpants! I've loved wearing more skirts and dresses, but do you have recommendations on how to dress nicely when it's really cold out? Do you recommend having more than 10 items so you can layer in the fall and winter?

More questions and topics for blogs I would love to see would be about home life and how to enjoy being a joyful homemaker and woman in all our mundane tasks. I never hear about this in our day, and I have loved your message to be a connoisseur of daily life, including cooking and cleaning!

Thank you for all your writing and videos! I always look forward to them and can't wait for your new book!

Taylor Robey said...

Hi Jennifer!

I have never posted on here but had the urge to this morning. Always love your 10-item wardrobe posts. I've always been interested in dressing with less (but still remaining stylish) and your 10-ten item wardrobe approach is by far my favorite. Most concept dressing seems much too regimented with little to no room for personal style/creativity! After reading your first book a few years ago I can definitely say the book and your blog posts have changed my life for the better. I always try to use my best, dress my best, and eliminate the various forms of clutter that life seems to pile on us all. Your weekly posts help keep me motivated and focused so thank you. Looking forward to your F/W 10-item wardrobe!

Mariam said...
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