# Dressing well # teatime with Jennifer

Yoga Pants Every Day? Motivation to Dress Well | Teatime with Jennifer

In today's teatime with Jennifer, I answer a question from a reader who asks for motivation on dressing well. Amber writes:

Hi Jennifer,

I have been following your blog since Autumn of this year. How helpful your advice has been in helping me to keep a calm, well-kept home for my growing family. I am still having some struggles, however, with my personal routine. My children are babies, and I stay at home. I like to get the most messy housework done early in the day, and exercise during nap time around the middle of the day. My goals prevent me from a solid dressing and toilette routine, as I do not want to spend the time on hair, makeup, and nice clothes if they are going to be undone with cleaning and exercise! I would be so grateful for insights into your routine. I am also wondering if you wear clothes from your extras for housework. Thank you so much!


Amber's concern is very valid. I receive this question a lot! What is the point of dressing up each day, when it will all be undone shortly thereafter? I answer Amber's question in today's video, along with commentary on an article I posted recently on my Facebook page, that drew a lot of fire: The Chicago Tribune's opinion piece, Unless You're Doing Yoga, Put on Some Real Pants. This article drew a lot of anger on Facebook, but I explain in this video why I think many of its points are valid.

I hope you enjoy teatime with Jennifer this week!

Also, did you notice? I got a new video camera and microphone! I am stepping up my efforts to make my videos better for you in every way. Thank you for your patience as I get used to using my new technology.

Comment of the Week
Summer S. writes:
My husband and I decided we needed to get back into making weekly dinners. I was writing out our schedule this week and went to check on your post and laughed at our serendipitous topic. In the summer time I often make lunch a big salad, whatever I might have in the fridge or want to put in it varies. I also enjoy tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, olive oil, and salt and pepper! That is very satisfying and maybe add a glass of lemonade. I also LOVE cucumber sandwiches when it is REALLY hot!

In the winter/fall I usually have deli meat roll-ups with cream cheese and fruit or carrots. Sometimes I'll splurge and have a PB and J sandwich with my boys!

Thank you for sharing what you eat for lunch, Summer. I love to know what other people eat. I'm happy to hear that you and your husband are getting back into making weekly dinners!

Today I would love to know... what do you think about the thoughts discussed in this week's video? Do you think it's important to dress well every day? Can you get your messy work done in your nice clothes? If you try it, let me know how it goes! What do you think of the Chicago Tribune article? See you Monday!

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The Wool Fairy said...

Hi Jennifer,
I really enjoyed this post. This is something I have struggled with because of my lifestyle. I live on a rural property with farm animals. I also exercise daily. My kids are in school now, so it is easier to organize my schedule. I put exercise clothes on first thing in the morning. I usually work out before the kids get up. While still in my exercise clothes I try to get the real dirty work done such as feeding the chickens, bringing in a load of firewood...etc. These are things I could not really do in my nicer clothes even with an apron. Once the workout and dirty work is done I have a shower and get dressed for the day. It's definitely hard to figure out if you are alternating between really messy and not so messy activities in the day. I do housework in my regular clothes with an apron. I agree with you, one needs to figure out what works for them and tailor it to suit there lifestyle. I wrote a little blog post about this very issue. Here is the link:


Unknown said...

Hi Jennifer and Amber,
You can have your cake and eat it too! There is a company called Betabrand that makes yoga pants that look like slacks. Slacks! They are in the mid-pricey range, but have sales sometimes. I found out about them through Gretchen Rubin on her Happier podcast who says she wears them every day. I think the dual-function clothing is a great idea, especially if you like to travel.

Kristy said...

I am a regular gym goer (4 mornings a week-free child care!!) so I've had to come up with a workable dressing plan. I get dressed for the day in my workout clothes. Very light makeup (concealer, cc cream, blush, *maybe* mascara if I'm doing a non sweaty class). Hair pulled back is a must for me to work out. I get our two big kids on the bus, do housework and then pack up and head to the gym with my 2-year-old twins. So yes, I do have to do kindergarten pickup in my gym clothes bc it's on the way home immediately after class. After lunch it's more work around the house and then at the twins' naptime, I shower and get dressed. I figure even if it's just for the afternoon and evening, at least I feel good and I'm sure my husband appreciates the effort, too. This routine is working for me at this stage of life, so just thought I'd share. 😊

Margaret said...

Thank you! As someone who doesn't "exercise" but rather chooses to put movement into my day I don't own or wear yoga pants! And perhaps I don't fully understand the lure either, I do find it shocking how some chose to dress in public. Just as my mother did I find it easy to get up, shower and dress and then wear an apron throughout my day as necessary. Thank you for your encouragement and forum to open up this discussion to others :)

One thing I find especially challenging is dealing with "pajama day" at my children's school and clubs. My kids know that I find this completely inappropriate and are usually happy to simply wear sweats and a pj top. What are your thoughts? Or experience?

Thank you, I so enjoy your blog and books!

Emma Knight Peel said...

It amazes me that people get angry about articles or opinions about dressing nicer. It must hit a nerve with some guilt they feel. Or, maybe they are just very liberal and protest things, especially telling women how they should dress. Maybe it's a question of wanting to be ladylike, or not.

I personally agree with you, and I am sure that you stand out among the crowd in your presentable clothes. Not everyone has the body for yoga pants, and even for people who do, I believe they are just too tight and revealing, even if you're proud of your body. It's better to leave something to the imagination. I also believe that yoga pants and sweatpants are just lazy. You can be comfortable in street clothes. I found some stretchy pants that are so comfortable, but they have darts in the back and a wide waistband and look more like equestrian pants. They look great tucked into boots or with flats, and they don't look so casual. I adore feminine fashion. We have so many choices! I'm always impressed by people who make more of an effort when they dress. People who appear pulled together effortlessly, who still look comfortable and dressed appropriately for the season and weather seem to have their lives better organized. They definitely stand out. Presentation does make a difference in how people perceive you.

Sandra said...

Dear Jennifer,

I strongly agree with you in regard to appropriate clothing and "no" to yoga pants always and everywhere. I live in San Diego, and I see super-tight yoga pants year-round everywhere. Truly. Recently I went to an excellent classical dance performance, and I was quite appalled by seeing a woman "of certain age" wearing grey frumpy yoga pants to this event. I feel that it is very disrespectful toward the performers and also the attending public like me. I also agree with you that women like you and I are in the minority. Perhaps this contrast feel so stark to me because I am from Europe, and in my home country women put a lot more thought into how they look. Thank you for all you do!

madeofmydreams said...

Hi Jennifer!

I enjoy the fact that you have chosen this topic for your Tea Time episode. I listened to your video while I made my coffee and drank it this morning and then read the Chicago Tribune article. Now it is my afternoon tea time and I am composing a comment.

I think that dressing well falls in line with using your best. Everything you do, everything you wear, everything you say adds up to form the impression other people have of you. I want people to see me as intelligent, put together, subtly quirky, whimsical, and beautiful in a touchable sort of way. None of those things is expressed by wearing yoga pants, therefore, my yoga pants are relegated to my yoga practice because my pleated skirt would not work well with my forward bend. I am also a mother of two young ones and currently nursing my 6 week old, so I've chosen my 10 items to reflect all the things I would like for people to think about me, as well as to be accessible for my little man when he's hungry. (for instance, I like to nurse cross-legged and therefore I do not have any pencil skirts in my 10 item wardrobe although I have included them in the past.) My thought on wearing nice clothes for daily life is that, when you have young ones and messy projects you're going to have to wash your clothes anyway, so you might as well wash your nice clothes. I'm not advocating wearing a silk blouse that has to be dry cleaned and therefore adds an extra 2 errands to your week because you wore it once and now it has PB&J smeared on the front. But your cotton blouse, that you can toss in the washing machine on delicate is just as acceptable as a tank top or a holey t-shirt and it proves that you are valuing yourself. Some women choose yoga pants because they want to project their athleticism, or their relaxed nature, or because a lot of people choose to wear athletic clothing for daily life and they just don't want to stand out. I don't think that their choice should be belittled~ I'm not a nice clothes supremacist... but I do think that each and every person should put thought into what they chose to wear on a regular basis and the impression that that projects to other people. Are you accurately expressing both yourself and your own worth?

~ Kathleen

Summer Smith said...

I love this topic, I loved that article you sited and I love what the other women have commented on so far. I wrote notes on things that came to mind while you were talking. I have a surprisingly amount to say about this topic that has taken about a decade to come all together, so hold on.

First, I want to say that I can relate to the lady with the kids. I often struggle with getting out of my pjs in the morning when I'm just going to be at home. It is something I'm learning more and more to struggle with and just get dressed and that I get more done when I get ready for the day, and I feel better about myself when I do. It also makes the day somehow go better than if I didn't. I will admit to the voice inside my head saying, "but I don't want to waste my good clothes at home, no one will see them." However, with the help of you and others over the last several years, I realize that is nonsense and that I need to do it for me, if not, for my family and those I care about.

This leads me to the psychology of dress. I am an art therapist (easiest way to explain is think psychologist + artist = Art Therapist) and for my internship and for 5 years after my degree, I worked at a hospital for the criminally insane, mostly working with men. Clothing and attire was something that came up A LOT, for our safety. If a woman was dressed too provocatively it was a danger to herself and also to the other staff and patients. If she were to be attacked, we had to get the patient off of her and in the mean time the patient and/or the staff could be hurt. This was a very serious matter. Which led to a lot of discussions over the years on how to dress and why to dress a certain way and the message it conveys, whether you want it to or not. It was a fascinating discussion to dive into. For that reason it is interesting to me to see, compare and think about those women that are dressed in yoga pants vs. someone that takes a little more time with her appearance. I have learned it is not only showing a respect for those around you but it also shows what you truly feel about yourself. If someone started to dress down or change their appearance at work, it was a warning sign for depression and/or burnout. We would check in with them. I wonder if a lot of women are just not proud of their appearance and think that no one notices them anyway. If so, that is truly sad. Women have such a power to encourage.

I also agree with the comment above about finding comfortable beautiful clothes. It is possible. I also think this is a part of honing your own style and being very selective in what we wear, like in the 10-item wardrobe. This, I believe is one of it's purposes, to have you find a style that works for you, and shows off your best self. It doesn't mean that the clothing has to be terribly uncomfortable. There is a compromise that can work beautifully. I love finding an item that compliments my body and is also very comfortable. I will wear that item a lot more than something I just picked up on a whim and if I like it, my whole being will reflect that happiness in what I'm wearing. When I try on new clothing my husband always knows if I feel confident and/or like it by the way I stand. I didn't believe him at first, but he is right. Clothing might feel like a trivial thing to many people, and that might be where the slouch in clothing has come from, but it is so much more than that. It is a very important topic that as, you can see, I love to talk about! Sorry this is so lengthy! :)

Linda LaRoche's Blog said...

Being in my mid-fifties I may not be your average reader, however I enjoy your blog and I confess your thinking is in alignment with mine. I too live in Los Angeles and work at home and see the yoga pants epidemic everywhere; but it's also carried onto the American culture nationwide. What I don't like about the result of careless dressing other than those things you mentioned- lack of efficiency, no thought of self-expression, not understanding clothing is as a powerful communication tool; is that it espouses an all black or black/gray look. While a black dress at a formal event, suggests elegance wearing it on a daily basis is a poor choice. As humans we are affected by the psychology of color so why not put on casual, neat, clean clothes with color that have a positive impact on our moods, feelings and reflect a positive outlook?

Christina said...

This is such a timely topic as I'm working out during naptime. I get dressed every day, including shoes, and feel so much better about myself by doing so. Like you said, I wear an apron when cooking and cleaning and haven't ever messed up my outfit. I recently purchased a white denim skirt as part of my 10 item wordrobe and was happy to find that even in a white skirt I can take care of my seven kids, homeschool and take care of our home without messing it up. With workouts (nearly daily) I find I can just freshen up a bit before changing out of my workout clothes and save the shower for before bed. I actually don't own yoga pants. I have one pair of leggings for causal wear but still wear a nice tunic with them. I was once asked at a dentist appointment if I was going to work afterwards and I said, no, home to my kids- it's laundry day. I'm sure you can imagine the look I got. I'm assuming she must wear yoga pants when not at work.

Maria Crepaz said...

Dear Jennifer!

I am following your blog for almost two years and I am very inspired by your books. Sorry for my English, but as I am from Austria (Europe) this is not my mother tongue! Your books helped me a lot during my transition from working at a corporate office with formal business attire to stay at home mom for one year and now going back to work. The 10 item wardrobe helped so much for the pregnancy as well as for maternity leave.
But concerning yoga pants, in my opinion there are quite huge differences! For example, I found myself dark navy high quality yoga pants which reminded me strongly of your beloved Loft fluid ankle pants. If I combine them with a nice shirt or blouse, I feel very comfortable but still nicely dressed. Here one similar Style:

-Do you find this acceptable or still not, because they are labled as "Yoga Pants" (Jogging Hosen in German)?

Best wishes

PLL said...

I understand those who choose to wear yoga pants, however like anything a good thing can be overdone. Unfortunately, I think many (not all) people choose to live overscheduled lives and are exhausted and the idea of wearing something comfortable is one less stress and for many of us yoga pants became our best friend. I know I have been guilty of overdoing the yoga pants goes anywhere at times in my life. More recently I find that their appeal has waned and I wear them less and less, and choose to dress in nice jeans, casual or dress slacks with a cute top, blazer or sweater. Getting to bed sooner, cutting back on social media, organizing my meal planning and cooking are a few changes that I have made so I am less tired and more aware, attentive to what I am wearing and now putting a better dressed foot forward.

Tara said...

The other day, I was reading "Little House on the Prairie" to my son, and I was struck by a scene in which "Ma" washed and ironed her children's clothes. This was during a long journey in a covered wagon and the children would not be seen by anyone except their family. Aside from that, washing and ironing (when the iron had to be heated by a fire) was surely an arduous process. After noticing this, I started paying attention to other ways in which the Ingalls family followed routines that instilled dignity into a life that otherwise could easily have been brutish. This reminded me of the importance of following your routines, even when you think no one is watching. It's a small thing, but I did think to myself, if Caroline Ingalls can iron in the middle of the prairie, surely I can shower, dress, and try to put my best self forward each day. :)

B.J. Chiarucci said...

Hi Jennifer!

I agree with Maria, not all yoga pants are the same! I actually think they can look smarter than jeans when done right. It is more about their quality, etc. If they are really worn out, covered in lint and animal hairs, too tight, etc., then yes, I probably wouldn't want to wear them, but that goes for most items of clothing. And, I wouldn't wear most "yoga pants" as casual wear without a tunic or long cardigan!

Susan Watson said...

Hi Jennifer,
I really like a trend that is popular in Spain called Sporty Chic. I like to follow the fashion blog of Spanish TV star Paula Echevarría. It just so happens that today, 2-2-2017, she posted a Sporty Chic fashion choice. The title of the blog post is Hola Febrero. You can see the photos at her Elle Magazine blog which is called Tras La Pista De Paula. The Internet address is http://paula-echevarria.blogs.elle.es/. She is wearing black sweat pants with a silver side stripe, a grey sweatshirt with a colorful graphic design on the front, a black leather jacket, and white tennis shoes. I think this Sporty Chic look is perfectly presentable and projects a joyful attitude.

Anonymous said...

I think that the women who were "offended" by the article's anti-yoga pants stance are being defensive because it hit a nerve. If they are comfortable with the idea of wearing yoga pants every day, they wouldn't react with anger. They would just shrug and say, "Meh... it's just one person's opinion." If they are defensive about it, I think it's because they do not actually like the yoga pants so much as they either don't want to stand out or they are too lazy to make an effort and people who do make an effort threaten them.

I actually have yoga pants, but I only wear them to exercise in. I find them much too revealing in their snugness to feel comfortable wearing them out of context.

As far as being afraid to wear nice clothes on a daily basis... what exactly are you saving your nice clothes for? The hard truth is that we are mortal and we are all going to die. Maybe sooner rather than later. Keeping that in mind, every day we are alive is a special occasion. Why not look and act as if we are happy to be here?

Christine said...

I am a swimmer and go to the pool on average about 4 times a week during the lunch hour. Because I'm going to get wet, there's no point to doing hair and makeup in the morning, especially if I'm not going to leave the house. So my usual routine is to dress in a nice outfit, do my skin care routine, brush my hair and teeth and leave it at that. When I get out of the pool, I have to shower and when I get home, that's when I fix my hair, put makeup on, perfume, jewelry etc. There is no reason why you have to do your whole routine in the morning. For me, doing it in the middle of the day works perfectly.

A few years ago I worked for the Look Good Feel Better program. This program helps cancer patients deal with the appearance related side-effects of their treatment. As the patients (predominantly women but also men as well) learned to apply makeup and work with scarves and/or wigs it was amazing to see the transformation in their mood. It was empowering for them to have the small measure of control over their appearance. I believe that this can work for any individual. I think everyone can get a lift from fixing themselves up to look their best on a daily basis, whatever form that takes for them.


Fancy said...

good advice but yoga pants sound grumpy but there are some beautiful colourful options that slim you and make you look gorgeous. I had a small kid and lululelom set (beautiful pant and gorgeous top) would look stunning (practical!). Wear them till 3-4 pm and then take a shower and put something beautiful and make-up for the evening (while your child is having a quiet gime) -easier to motivate yourself to run (after your child) jog, do press ups in the park when there is a chance! Hard to do it in your lacy top and oops lost a chance for that precious ab work! Love you Jeniffer none the less:) x

Zulejka said...

It was nice drinking coffee with you, thanks! ;)

I'm struggling with the same thing, I love looking putt together etc. but my clothes get dirty very quickly even if I'm wearing an apron; dogs jump on me with their muddy feet and ruin my jeans, my little one grabs my white shirt with chocolatey fingers, I spill things on myself (I'm so clumsy sometimes) ... I'm also on a very strict budget and can't afford to actually ruin my clothes (such as with climbing trees and getting kids' paint on them ... ). I also like to be comfortable and when it's cold, tunics+leggings aren't enough. So I wear sweatpants a lot at home but I wouldn't be caught going to the store in them - or anywhere! (Okay, I'd wear them in a case of an emergency if I didn't have time to change;)). But I definitely feel much more productive and positive about myself when I'm wearing real clothes.

Pam said...

When my son was little I spent most every day (unless I was going somewhere) in sweat pants and an athletic type T-shirt because as a SAHM I wanted to be comfortable chasing a toddler, getting in the floor, etc. But I felt "frumpy" all the time. It took a long time to occur to me that I could still be comfortable in something other than sweat pants. I have found that so many jeans have a bit of stretch in them now (lots of colors and styles) and can look really nice with a dressier T-shirt, cardigan, and ballet flats or boots. I also love wearing maxi skirts/dressing when the weather is warm. They look really nice and I feel like I'm wearing a nightgown. :-) I feel so much better about myself when I don't feel "frumpy". I think that also translates to feeling more energized and being more productive - at least for me.

Gloria said...

Thank you for being an inspiration. For years, I cared for my home in horrible clothing because I was worried about ruining nice outfits with cleaners. It really was demoralizing. Then, I gradually realized that most bleaches and other harsh cleaners are unhealthy and completely unnecessary. I now keep an immaculate home using mostly vinegar, water and essential oil solutions that I mix myself; and I can wear nice outfits (plus an apron) while home-keeping. On those very rare occasions when I paint a room or clean the porch with bleach, I wear an old, stained shirt and jeans that I keep in my utility closet with my rags. My closet contains only nice clothing.

Anna M said...

Jennifer, your school of thought and message is like a breath of fresh air. Thank you for your perspective! I recall some ladies on my local FB moms page validating each other on being the moms seen dropping their child off at school in PAJAMA pants. I was secretly cringing on the inside! I don't want to look as if I've given up on myself (my husband and kids don't deserve it either) and I don't enjoy seeing other women around town dress as if they've given up on themselves either! As you said, whether you like it or not your clothes convey a message to others. My perception is that yoga pants may not always look frumpy, yes they can be a nice quality, but in my opinion they convey laziness (how ironic). I agree that it really does not take much time or effort to look presentable -I feel so much better about myself when I do!

Miss L. said...

I agree! Thank you for doing this video! I enjoyed it and you answered some more of my questions. With wearing nice lounge pants, I do find it more appropriate to wear them for exercise and when I do see someone in pubic, the question always comes up in my mind, "Did they just finish exercising at the gym or come from a hike at the lake?" I find that a lot of the activewear has become quite revealing as well. If I don't feel like wearing jeans or dress pants (because they're a bit more restrictive than activewear), for most days I wear a nice midi or maxi skirt/dress with leggings underneath. I find this option to be just as comfortable (or more) as activewear, plus I'm ladylike in my clothing choices. (Even right now I'm in a black midi dress with gray leggings and boots.)
Recently I've come to realize we as a culture have chosen to believe (whether we realized it or not) the perception that only activewear is comfortable/not restrictive when really there are a lot of decent clothing pieces out there that are just as easy to move in and as quick to put on. It just depends on the material.

Gerty and Stripes said...

Hi Jennifer. I agree with your thoughts. I often have 3 chnages of clothes during a day. I exercise in the morning in my yoga clothing, I teach at an all girls' school in New Zealand so get chnaged into dressy-suits, then I collect my children from school in the afternoon and I often change into my striped tees and skirts or dress to go to their extra-curricular activities or potter aroud home, I wear a apron to clean and cook.
When Ive been asked about why I wear different clothing, I always reply that I wear clothes for their purpose; when I eat a steak at home I dont use a bowl and spoon, I use a plate and knife and fork, Its the same with clothing.
I only wear exercise clothes for the purpose of exercising, I wear suits to teach because thats whats I'm required to wear for my job (my students all wear a school uniform of a blazer, tie and skirt), I often wear skirts at home beacuse I love them and they make me feel beautiful, comfortable and feminine.
I dont have a multitude of clothing to wash, because I have now trained my whole family in the 10 item wardrobe (although it doesnt apply to my husbands work ties! And also as most schools in New Zealand have a school uniform, it means my children who are 8 and 10 can stick to a designated wardrobe as well).
Keep on inpsiring Jennifer, I enjoy reading your posts.

conscious bliss said...

Jennifer, i think you nailed it with the "well-planned" capsule.
Just like someone with a corporate job requires a separate capsule for work versus home, we can have different capsules for those messy activities versus less messy days.
I volunteered with a group whose grueling schedule involved sleeping on buses, packing & unpacking huge convention center set-ups every few days, being presentable enough to meet the public at a moment's notice, and dressing modest enough for monastic environment.
We had enough space for one suitcase, that i knew i might have to carry up a 3 story walk-up. Quite the fashion challenge. It took time to perfect, but I knew my clothes had to be presentable and were going to wear out very quickly.
I found that breathable materials, such as cotton were essential, and my go-to's quickly became target slim/straight dark-wash jeans (thick, soft, & stretchy) & chinos with some durability and stretch, & jersey maxi skirts. I had a layering tees, and a few cute shells & cardigans.
I wore those clothes out quickly, but always looked presentable, and even got some compliments.
It's all about planning, practicality, and creativity.
I had perfected my volunteer capsule wardrobe but was realizing that my regular wardrobe wasn't nearly as organized and curated when I found your book, Jennifer! It was total kismet! I love systems & organizing and devoured your ideas with gusto. :)

Ladylike said...

Hello Jennifer,
Your response to Amber hit the nail on the head, and it's great to see so many supportive comments here. I agree with you that the key is in the wardrobe itself. If there are slouchy items available in the dresser drawers, there is always the temptation to wear them. I also have a few tips to add. When my children were little, and I was homeschooling them, in the country no less, I did fall into a rut of wearing sweatpants without fully realizing how I looked. The light-bulb went on when I found myself in the airport on a trip with my family. I was still wearing my sweatpants, and I felt just terrible as I looked around and saw how sharply other people in the airport were attired. That was the beginning of my wardrobe journey. I am happy to say that I am now one of the most nicely dressed parents at my daughter's school. My hair is usually in a ponytail. As you said, putting on clothes that are all ready to go doesn't take much time, and my make-up takes 5 minutes. Now I have only one sweatshirt (a very nice one) and one pair of exercise leggings, and I wear these only for sporty events such as my daughter's bike-to-school day or her girls' sports expo. I actually don't even wear these for exercising. For exercising, I wear only things I wouldn't be caught dead in in the outside world, such as tennis skirts, just to remove any temptation of wearing them when it's not appropriate. For house-cleaning, which can also involve perspiration, I generally turn off the heat in the house and strip down to my camisole, for example. I might also wear a skirt or shorts instead of long pants. When I'm done cleaning, I do a quick wash up at the sink (no need to take another shower) and then return to my nicer clothes. This method works for me, and I hope these ideas will be helpful to Amber and to others.
Warm best wishes,

Maureen said...

Amen, sister! Awesome video, Jennifer.

I came across this article a couple of weeks ago, and it made me think of you.


Laurie Hembree said...

I too use an apron and gloves when I'm cleaning. Putting these on helps get me in the mood to clean and of course saves my clothes from getting dirty. I think yoga pants look pretty bad on most people and am surprised they are so popular. A pair of pants almost always looks better than the form fitting nature of yoga pants

I so enjoy your blog. Thanks, Laurie

Hannah Sjogren said...

Hi I really appreciated this post, I am a stay-at-home mom and I clean and exercise at random times, so I can relate to that struggle. I had a mentor who had a goat farm and vegetable farm, even though she was in the dirt daily she was very intentional about wearing a strand of pearls and earrings. It was a small touch that gave her a classy look even in her work clothes. That has always left an impression on me and so even if I have a day that yoga paints are a must I try to do something classy with my hair and wearing earrings. I feel more feminine and presentable.

Madeleine Lawrence said...

Hello Jennifer,

I've just enjoyed a lovely cup of Earl Grey tea whilst watching your video. I wholeheartedly agree with your sentiments, I live in a large university country town, and frequently see way more of people's bodies than I would like to! And yes, even pyjamas at the supermarket. I was really stunned the first time I saw this - when I was growing up it would have been a sign of mental illness to appear like that in public.

I have solved the 'comfort' factor in dressing by choosing mostly linen (and in Winter linen/wool combo) pieces that are flowing and comfortable, yet elegant. The waist of my pants are often drawstring which means you can move and breathe freely. I always wear an apron to cook, wash dishes etc...I've discovered the linen crossback apron - doesn't need tying, just slips over your head and provides great coverage. If I'm gardening and going to get really dirty I just wear old jeans and a button down shirt that is perhaps too faded to wear to work any more. If I'm going to yoga I wear my yoga gear under my clothing whilst I'm travelling to class.

Back in November a significant part of my home was destroyed in a fire. As you can imagine, it was a completely shattering experience physically and emotionally, with a huge amount of work needed to get our lives back on track and the house rebuilt (I am still living on a building site with no running water indoors!) As bad as I felt, I still tried to dress well every day, even if it was just a clean polo shirt and jeans. I always put on my ear rings and some lip gloss, and this made me feel better. I dressed up when meeting friends for lunch or coffee, and this helped take me out of my difficult situation for a few hours. I think it probably helped my kids too, to see that mum wasn't falling apart. I think it was Alexandra Stoddard who said that dressing well is a gift you give to others. I know it uplifts me to see people dressing well, and that certainly doesn't need to be expensively. Just being clean and well-groomed can be enough!

Jennifer, I do think that the yoga pants trend is part of a much larger trend towards laziness in society. People find it too much effort to cook dinner - just get take away. Too much effort to clean the house - just live messy or pay someone else to do it. Too much effort to send a thank you note - who needs manners, right? Too hard to walk to work, just jump in the car etc...There seems to be some congruence between the growth of overweight, depression and debt and the decline in effort on so many levels. I believe I read somewhere that people were admonished to present themselves as well as possible to keep morale up during the second world war in England. With all of the challenges facing the world today this could again be timely advice. I hope at some stage things will swing back again.


The Daily Connoisseur said...

Hello ladies, As usual, I just loved reading your comments on this post! Thank you for sharing your stories and your testimonials. Head over to the YouTube video to see even more comments there. I just love this community! Have a wonderful evening. With love, Jennifer xx

Little Miss Know-it-all said...

Hi Jennifer,
I enjoy your teatime chats, thanks.
In my view, there are a couple of points here. One is that a woman's situation can vary widely - I doubt if Madame Chic worked out and she didn't have young kids/babies when you knew her, either! She was also of a different generation and approach in many ways, I'm sure. Your age and lifestyle, whether you live in the city or the country, deal with housepets or farm animals and so on will all play a large part in your daily activities and how your day is structured. I guess this means that one plan will not suit all and each woman will need to discover for herself what is the best solution - wanting to look decent just means that this may require a little more thought or a rearranging of schedule for some. My life as a homemaker, grandmother and office support to my husband and with a medium-sized dog (and a cat) in a small town has a different rhythm from when I had three children, school and leisure activites, a large and small dogs, two cats and a horse and lived in a tiny village... Things shift, we get older, wiser, better organised - and sometimes more relaxed! I figure if someone is worried about spoiling their "good" clothes, perhaps their choice of "good" clothes is not completely appropriate to their current life situation. (I hope that doesn't sound too harsh, it's not meant to be, more of a suggestion!)

Another point which is more to do with the yoga pant discussion is that if you look at photos from the past, say the 50s (like your I Love Lucy!) the women are actually wearing what they considered leisure wear, before we had lycra. They wouldn't wear their best dress for housework, either, they had second best and everyday clothes. They wore slacks, jeans and shorts that were nicely cut and they wore a blouse with it - I think that is a simply huge difference to a T-shirt. Just putting a neat checked and fitted blouse with jeans or shorts looks so much better than a T-shirt (which was originally men's underwear till James Dean came along, just saying!). I love seeing old holiday snaps with women dressed like this, little blouses and shorts or dresses and playsuits in the summer and cute sweaters with slacks or jeans in the winter, still weather-appropriate but so much more pleasant to look at (and an apron to cover it while doing housework!). I guess I still wouldn't exercise or muck out stables dressed this way, but hey, we can dream!

In real life, I have moved on to a uniform that works for me (and that others have mentioned). I wear short colourful tunic dresses with tights and boots in winter and capri leggings and sandals in summer because it's comfortable, looks tidy, is easy to get dressed in and suits my personality and older figure. It works for me and I think always look presentable, even though I rarely wear make-up and usually put my long grey hair up simply. I can sit on the floor and play with the kids without fussing over a dress but still look feminine as I go about my daily work. Someone else might prefer to take inspiration from Audrey Hepburn and stick to black capris and a black top for their everyday look, or only wear shorts and checked blouses all summer (depending on climate) or lead a lifestyle where every day is a tea-dress day or some other kind of uniform. Above all, I do agree that keeping the number of main items down is a very useful one for busy women, so as to make the choice of what to wear each day a simple one, you've really nailed it there!

Robyn said...

I fully agree that dressing nicely for work, events, dinner etc. is back sliding. The uncle who dressed up for his niece's (I think) hospital visit was heart warming, but I am somewhere in the middle on the debate that was discussed in this video. When I'm home I wear leggings, a tunic swearer or longer top, light makeup with combed hair. As a child my parents strictly enforced the rule: when we came home from school, church or work, we changed out of our street clothes to our home clothes.( my dad was in the military so he would change out of his uniform immediately) Our street clothes were a precious commodity. I have carried out this habit with my self and my children. There is something psychologically soothing about shedding the outside world when I am at home, fully embeassing the Danish concept of hygge. Other than a quick trip to the grocery store I do not wear my "home" clothes out but I have to say some of my "home" clothes outfits are cuter than my street clothes outfits.
I am not a 24 hours yoga pant supporter but when you are home there are ways to wear leisure wear styles and still look neat and tidy. Remember, It wasn't so long ago women didn't wear pants, men always wore a tie when going out, and wearing jeans was a no-no. It's about striking a balance

Bianca said...


As a mom of a 9 month old who is currently off work on maternity leave, I try my best to "dress up" each day and avoid yoga pants as much as possible. It puts me in the right frame of mind and less like a slob! I do have a question about footwear inside the home. I live in Montreal, Canada (oui, je parle français mais je suis anglophone). where we have snow for several months of the year. Where we live, people rarely wear shoes indoors. I personally find it very dirty as you track everything into your home. It is custom to remove your shoes at the door. What do you do? Is it custom for people to wear shoes or slippers? My issue with slippers is that I find it hard to find something comfortable and supportive and still be chic! I currently wear Crocs which are hardly chic! They make me feel like a slob! Do you have any suggestions? Thanks so much and I love your blog!

Madeleine Lawrence said...

In response to Bianca,

I wear Birkenstock woollen slippers at home. They are clog shaped but made of woollen felt.


Patricia said...

Jennifer, you've no idea the difference your blog has made in my life. Of course, I'd always dressed appropriately for social occasions and have always considered myself a romantic. When company came, I always made a distinct effort to create a welcoming and romantic mood, even for visits with my girlfriends. However, on a day-to-day basis I'd don old jeans topped by even older, sometimes ragged sweatshirts because I knew I'd be cleaning my home, etc. Sometimes I'd make a run to the drug or grocery store wearing whatever I'd been wearing while cleaning at home. Most of the time, I wouldn't run into anyone I knew. However, on the off times I did, I found myself embarrassed by my appearance. You, on your blog, have made such a significant difference in my life. Not only have I adopted the 10-item wardrobe that you espouse, but I also began taking care with my appearance even if I was just going to the hardware store or the post office. I immediately felt better about myself. That was a significant change (although I'd always combed my hair and put on lipstick to start the day because that was what my Mother always did...and she always chose to wear nice slacks and a blouse for her days at home instead of the ubiquitous floral house dresses the mothers of my friends wore). Somewhere, along the way, from office to daily household, I'd somehow lost the last part. Just recently, I've adapted to wearing the items from my 10-item wardrobe on a daily basis, not just when I leave my home. What a difference it makes to my mood and attitude even as I pursue my household endeavors, and invigorates me then, when I'm finished with those, to pursue my creative endeavors, like writing, art, and seeing friends on a much more regular basis.I'm older than you, Jennifer, yet you are an inspiration to me to realize that at least some of the younger generation still respect and conduct their daily lives with thought, civility, and even a touch of romance. The above from a "child of the 60s."

Little Miss Know-it-all said...

@Bianca - I have seen a lot of ballerina-style slippers in a variety of materials, including fur-lined felt, which are a pretty slipper alternative!

Lana said...

Hi Jennifer! I love your teatime chats. I have the same question as Bianca - what do you wear on your feet while you're indoors? I'm a new stay at home mom and while I manage to get dressed most mornings, my fuzzy slippers don't nicely complete my outfits! I can't wear just socks on our hardwood floors and I don't like wearing shoes in the house. What do you wear while you're home?

Lisa Gronewald said...

Hey Jen!
It's a struggle for sure. I usually try & get my workout done first thing in the morning so I don't have to worry about changing mid day. I've adopted your madam chic tips for a few years now. I love it! It's pretty funny, the moms at school ask me how early do I wake up to look so put together? If they only knew the amount of dry shampoo with curls from days ago. Lol It really does make a huge difference in how I feel & what I get accomplished. I'm all about the madame chic revival�� Thanks again friend!

Stuff_Stories said...

Dear Jennifer, as always, thank you for your post! I would love if you can addresss the #dresslikeawoman issue that has gone viral iN one of your "tea time" episodes.
From what I learned from your books -in which you of course give the advise to " embrace feminity" - I am pretty sure that you don't think about it that way a certain politician (supposedly) thinks about it. Isn't it true that the ten item wardrobe is about finding your true style? To get a sense about how we want to live? Who we want to be? And if that means that it's Jeans and a Breton shirt every day it's totally fine? What does it mean in your opinion to dress like a woman? I know that you don't want to get political on the blog but I really would love to hear from you about that in general. All the best, Lisa from Germany

Tmeyers said...

I just had to post a comment about my experience today. I took my kids to the Children's museum, and I noticed a lot of women dressed in yoga pants or cutoff jeans or no makeup and hair piled on top of their head in a ratted mess. Except for one. I was eating my lunch in the snack bar and this woman came practically gliding in. She was beautiful. And it wasn't like she was dressed to the nines. Her outfit was a simple striped dress and cardigan and sandals. Her hair was pulled back into an effortless but tidy bun, and she was wearing drop pearl earrings. Her baby was teeny tiny and strapped to her chest in a carrier. But she was stunning, and I didn't realize how sloppy everyone else was until I saw her. And when I saw her it instantly made me feel like I was some neaderthal hunched over my meatball sub, so I sat up straight. I wanted to get up and talk to her but she left too quickly! What we wear matters, the details matter, and people ARE watching. I know I am.

Cristina Castro said...

Jennifer, I am an European-based follower and I am always hugely surprised of what an issue the "yoga-pants" dress code is in the US. We don't seem to have this issue in Europe so much, I wonder where did the US society get that from and why is it such a plague there? Very interesting.

In any case, since this is not a huge issue in Europe, for me would be interesting to see another one of your hair tutorials and also if any tips on how to take care of suede leather shoes (especially nude color ones which get dirty really easily). Would also be interested to know how you deal with kids tantrums in public and how do you manage to have some time off with your husband with 3 kids. I have one and I barely manage to do anything else than take care of her and work. Feeling always tired. How do you keep your energy high? cheers and greetings from Switzerland, Cristina

Silke said...

Dear Jennifer.
Am also a European-based reader of your blog and I absolutely agree with everything Cristina from Switzerland just posted. I would just add one thing: I am completely struck by how many of your readers do a work-out routine. Without any bias I just would like to mention that as a working mum in Europe, there is no time left for. I use my bike to go to work and that is it. Women'a bodies after the birth of children have their own dignity. As I said it is not to criticise just to show my admiration and support. (Personally I quite thin but that is rather an accident).
You are all beautiful because you are women.
Silke from Germany

Chrissy Gilder said...

Hi Jennifer,

I frequently face this dressing dilemma, not because I have small children, but because I am working on a Ph.D. at a business school, and I want to exercise during my lunch break. I have found a happy compromise for chillier months that involves layering yoga leggings and a bra top under a business casual dress (similar to the dresses that you use in your 10-item wardrobe), or else a skirt and cardigan. The leggings are usually solid black, but I have recently purchased bordeaux and navy. Although this doesn't work for days that I run on the treadmill, it does help me make time for a full hour yoga or pilates class over lunch. I keep some face powder, dry shampoo, wet wipes, perfume, and an eyebrow pencil to touch up if there isn't time for a shower.

Alas, I have not found a quick fix for warm days. That will be my challenge this season.

Thanks always for your lovely blog,