When was the last time you got all dressed up? Was it for a specific occasion or just because you felt like it that day? Why don't people get dressed up anymore?
This morning, I was in one of my moods where I felt like getting all dressed up for absolutely no reason just to run to the grocery store and post office. I did my makeup, fixed my hair and put on a short kaftan and my new Jeffrey Campbell thigh-high gladiator sandals. I also added a giant floppy hat and gold hoop earrings because I never skimp on accessories (side note: having a strong accessories game is the key to having killer style).
While I was out, at least two people asked me why I was so dressed up. It got me thinking about why people don't get dressed up anymore.
On my desk is a photo of my grandparents that was taken in the 1940s in the Philippines. Despite the heat and lack of air-conditioning, my grandfather had on a three-piece Western style suit and patent leather shoes. My grandmother was wearing the baro at saya, which is the traditional puff-sleeved blouse and long, wraparound skirt that Filipino women would wear. They were on their way to Sunday mass. It wasn't even a special occasion.
Their way of thinking wasn't unique to the Philippines. It was happening everywhere. Going to a restaurant, a grocery store or to church were all activities that were valued more then than they are today. The economy was different and fewer people could afford to go out much. Most women who went grocery shopping back then were not far removed from the days when people had to slaughter chickens and milk cows in order to get the goods that were now easily purchased at a local store.
Although we still get dressed up for what's important to us (weddings and job interviews, for example), there is simply not much that's important to us anymore. Not like in the 1940s. While I love to get dressed up whenever I'm in the mood, I went out to dinner the other night wearing jeans and a t-shirt. It wasn't a big deal to me and I didn't feel like putting forth the effort especially since it was 80-something degrees outside coupled with the fact that I was starving and in a hurry to eat. As much as I hate to admit it, I wasn't very grateful to be served dinner in a restaurant. Now, if I got an invitation from the White House to join the Obama family for dinner, you can bet I'd put much more thought into my outfit. We still feel the need to get dressed up when we feel that an activity is an honor or privilege.
I am not suggesting that if you are a casual dresser, you're not grateful for anything. On a widespread cultural level, it's a blasé attitude about our daily activities that dictates how we decide to dress. Most people I saw at the grocery store and post office were wearing shorts or jeans.
Do I wish that we could go back to the days when it was the norm to wear pearls, have your hair professionally styled and wear a dress and heels just to serve dinner (in your own home, no less)? HELL NO. I will make more of an effort to appreciate the reason we no longer value the ability to go to a grocery store though.
What about you? Do you like getting all dressed or done up for no reason? Share your thoughts in the comments!