Sorry, fellow goddesses (and I just KNOW this isn’t you), but this is one of my biggest beefs since returning to the Land of the Free. What happened in the last decade? During the years I lived in Cyprus, my family and I returned often for short holidays around Christmastime and again over the summers. I noticed a gradual shift from casual to straight-out sloppy in our society. Initially, I found the casual appearance of Americans to be a refreshing welcome from the general “everyone-looks-so-put-together-in-this-restaurant/bar/beach/club.” Several years ago, on our annual summer pilgrimage to Virginia, I recall going to a Mexican restaurant with my family. We sat at a table in the center of the restaurant. In a booth beside us, a middle-aged couple were eating dinner. I marveled at their relaxed outfit: a college sweatshirt, blue jeans (they were probably mom-jeans, but she was seated, and I can’t be certain) and sneakers. Honestly, they matched. I thought it was sweet, refreshing. People could go to dinner without fussing over make-up, hair, and a coordinated ensemble.
Fast-forward a few years, and there seems to be a shift that surpasses the jeans & sweatshirt for older folks into the I’m-too-lazy-to-get-dressed-look. My family and I were out to dinner the other night and my 9-year-old son went into the restroom on his own. He came out looking upset, confused. He said there was a bum in the bathroom at this semi-nice restaurant (I don’t think I should kiss & tell which restaurant where we ate).
What do you mean “bum,” honey?
Some older guy was washing his hands in the bathroom, but he was wearing pajamas. He doesn’t have clothes, Mom. Should we give him some money?
I looked around and found the “bum” in question. Sure enough – he had enough money to dine with us; but, he was simply . . . slovenly, unkempt. Hair longish, unbrushed and wearing pajama pants with dirty sneakers.
This is my over-generalization with where we are moving in the US: I believe we are, as a country, a little too comfortable with being comfortable. What is wrong with actually brushing one’s hair, teeth and changing out of clothes before leaving the house? Do we not own mirrors any longer? We certainly take enough selfies. Could these little reverse cameras not act as mirrors?
Let me preface this conversation: if you are in high school or in college, I will give you a freebie. I will assume you have been up most of the night reading, studying or partying (all of which are fine answers). You got little sleep; you rolled out of bed to make it to your morning class. I remember those days. I am not hating on the college girls. It is your time to enjoy the comfort! You probably look great in your yoga pants, anyway. But I need to ask: when did we, as a nation, start wearing elastic waistband, leggings and yoga pants EVERYWHERE instead of skirts, dresses and pants? Don’t get me wrong, you can easily find me in a pair of yoga pants – when I’m off to the gym. And I will admit: I am addicted to the fleece-lined leggings during this past snowy winter. My body has not yet adapted to its new environment in the snow-capped mountains of Virginia. But for the most part, I wear these leggings at home lounging.
One of my new-ish mom friends in Virginia has coined me her “fancy friend,” which I find hilarious. I am less dressed up in the US than I was tottering around on an island in the Med. The biggest difference I noticed is with other moms during the school-run. In Cyprus, the local women come dressed to the max for school pick-ups. It was a standing joke with the non-Cypriot moms (generally British and European). You could always spot the Cypriot moms: driving German cars, peroxide bleached hair (everyone is Greek or Turkish descent. How naturally blonde could they really be?), manicured nails, tight skirts, and dangerous stilettos. The British moms would snicker, most dressed casually in beach attire. The Cypriot women had jobs (yes, they dress this way for work). The British moms generally didn’t work (many came to the island to retire or their husbands worked at an off-shore oil rig in the Middle East and Cyprus was a safe, nearby location for family to reside). But guess what? I know their Cypriot husbands loved seeing their women look so hot all the time.
I am often times shocked, mouth agape during school pick-ups in Virginia. I am 100% certain this does not just pertain to Virginia, by the way. I have seen countless parents (both moms and dads) come in pajamas, house slippers, hair in messy pony tails with zit cream still on (okay, this last one is only women). Really? How hard is it to get dressed by 3 PM?
But what I don’t understand are we women (professional, career-centered, mothers, girlfriends, lovers, wives), how we can be so focused on what celebrities are wearing, but yet we choose to go so “casassh”? Gloria Steinem may be seething over this post. I am not advocating burning our pants. Hell, no! I love my charcoal-grey, lined pant suits. And I am a HUGE feminist – equality across the board, equal pay, and I believe it is high-time we elect a female American President. So I don’t believe this is a feminist-issue. How I dress portrays how I feel about myself. Do I take care of myself? Do I eat well? Do I exercise? When I feel good on the inside, I want to look good on the outside. And I believe these statements can be reversed.
I think we women (and men) need to stop pretending that *nothing* matters. Somethings still matter. Is it how we dress? No, not necessarily, not always. But first impressions are still made. Why do we try so hard to dress the part for a job interview? A first date? My suggestion: pretend everyday can be your interview or first date: because you never know who you may meet that day.
So if you are in college, enjoy your yoga pants, ladies. You, too, high school girls. But women of this world? Let’s try trying again.
Don’t believe me? Take the challenge: make a promise to look *nice* for the next 2 weeks. Notice any differences? More looks? Meeting any interesting people? More doors opening for you (figuratively and literally)? Do you feel better about yourself? Do you have a bounce in your step, knowing your hair is bouncing and your outfit is rocking? I bet you will. I do.
Discover your Inner Aphrodite . . .
I so agree with this post. I see this all the time in department stores (I don’t eat out so can’t say about that). I think in general, people have lost their self respect and dignity for some reason, sadly. You do feel better and walk taller when you have something nice on in public.