When I was younger, I remember holidays as being a time to Dress Up. People gathered together and wore their Sunday best as a way to celebrate, mark the day as special/out of the ordinary, and contribute to a festive atmosphere. As I get older, however, I see that the trend is to dress more casually whenever there is an opportunity to relax and unwind.
I enjoy relaxing and unwinding as much as the next person, but I have often found myself craving that special feeling and festive atmosphere that comes with a dressier outfit. Can't there be a happy medium?
I say, "yes."
Dressing Casually v. Dressing Poorly
The main problem with the casualization of holidays is that it created a very slippery slope - one year the norm is dark denim and, before you know it, everyone's in sweat suits and slippers. We all need to remember that there is a big difference between dressing casually or comfortably and dressing poorly or sloppily.
For me, the difference often simply comes down to a lack of joy - and finding joy in the bleak deadness of Winter is what these holidays are all about, dagnabbit. Dressing without joy is about running away from pain (e.g. the stress of choosing an outfit outside of your normal repertoire or the physical discomfort of constricting "dress clothes"). Dressing with joy means getting into the holiday spirit, allowing yourself to feel a bit of pride and gratitude for the life you've created, and really celebrating the things you love about yourself.
Making an Effort v. Stressing the *%^# Out
Some of you are probably rolling your eyes at me for being a preachy hippy about now, but I'm not forgetting about those who work overtime and shuttle kids to and fro and . There truly are ways to make a bit of extra effort for the holidays without your outfit becoming the straw that broke the camel's back - and lots of times, it actually amounts to doing less than you'd think.
What Stressing Looks Like
- Waiting until the last minute to get dressed and realizing that "you have nothing to wear"
- Squeezing yourself into an old item you haven't tried on in years and feeling super uncomfortable
- Scouring the mall for that PERFECT NEW THING
- Worrying that none of your things are special because everyone's seen them before
- Stressing over whether or not you're hitting all the big trends
- Suddenly demanding that your outfit make you look 20 lbs thinner
- Locking yourself into thematic "holiday" colors
What a Little Extra Effort Looks Like
- Thinking about the day's activities well in advance and deciding what type of outfit is appropriate and comfy
- Trying on outfit ideas a few days beforehand when no one is rushing you out the door
- Reaching for favorite cuts and silhouettes that fit and flatter your body now
- Sticking to signature colors that flatter your complexion
- Playing up the features you're thankful for by...
- ...adding a little extra "something" - bling? ribbon? lipstick? sassy shoes? a clutch instead of a tote? - to an everyday outfit you already own and feel great in
Seriously, if the holidays are stressful for you, then just wait until you try to reinvent your wardrobe wheel while your SO is jingling the car keys and tapping his foot by the front door. There ain't nothing wrong with wearing your very favorite items, doing just a tiny bit more than usual to jazz things up, silently thanking your awesome stuff for existing... and patting yourself on the back for acquiring such awesome stuff in the first place.
Hey, isn't it better than dodging the family photos all day after letting it all hang out?