For what seemed like a hundred years but was maybe twenty five, I had to seriously plan what to wear every single day. I had to get up before my children did, take a shower and style my hair. I had to put on makeup, including mascara, for heaven’s sake. Then I had to go into my closet and pick out some sort of suited affair: skirt, blouse with the inevitable bow-neck, panty hose, and high heels. And then, even worse, I had to choose the damn accessories: pearls, earrings, necklaces, handbag (curse the wardrobe consultant who said that purse and shoes had to coordinate), and if the blouse had no bow, a scarf. I never got the hang of tying those freaking scarfs. And I resented schlepping my wallet back and forth between handbags. Geez.
Then, when I came home from work at the office, I had to change into mother-appropriate clothing: the kind of things one wore to soccer practice, music lessons and the dog park. Jeans, a tee shirt, sneakers (they were acceptable back then), and maybe a belt.
While cooking dinner (that is another story; I did that for what also seemed like a hundred years, and I no longer relish the idea of a healthy casserole or pot roast), I had to put on an apron to cover me up, because invariably, there was grease involved.
All of this dressing and undressing, planning and plotting my outfits was awful. It got to the point that some days, I just wanted to wear my robe to the office. Pearls were my enemy. Pantyhose? Don’t even get me started.
So these days, now that I work out of my pantry, life is different. I often don’t have to get dressed at all. But if I do have to put something on, my goal is to get dressed ONLY ONCE. This is a real challenge on days when we have some sort of occasion, like going out to dinner or to the theatre.
So my thinking on these days goes something like this:
It is ten o’clock. I have to clean the bathrooms today, fill the birdfeeders, go to the grocery store, and take a walk. But there’s that THING tonight. So how can I do this?
Well. Black jeans. They work all day. And a top—I need an all purpose top. Turtleneck is good. Black? No. Too formal for the grocery and bird store. They will think I am a poet or something. White? NO. I will most certainly spill something on the front of it at lunch. Gray! Gray is good. Gray and black looks chic and yet casual. And then tonight I can throw a scarf on. Shoes? Ok. Not the black flats—again, the poet. Danskos? A little farmy for evening. I can compromise on this. Danskos for today, and then a shift to the flats for tonight.
I succeed in this most of the time. I have perfected the all-day look. But it gets dicey on the days when we have to go to something like a wedding. On those days, I just cancel all my activities, shower, put on my make-up and the fancy duds, and sit quietly in a chair until it is time to leave. But by God, I only have to get dressed the one time.
It took me years to perfect this approach. The key? Black jeans. I have seven pairs—one for every day of the week. One pair, for the formal occasions, has sequins. Feel free to have me as your role model. But be sure that on the days when you have a wedding or funeral to go to, your chair has a nice view, a cushion, and a reading light. Because those days can be very LONG.