Let’s just say first off that I know I am a little bit crazy. Anyone worth knowing is, in my opinion.
Part of my crazy stems from adolescence, when I tried to shape my world into something lovely and interesting (the way I still do now), except my world wasn’t ready for it then, and there was only so much I could shape. That world, out in the east end, still wouldn’t be ready for me today. Maybe the bodysuit/gold belt/hair-sprayed-bangs look has been replaced with a perfectly messy bun and black yoga pants, but either way that’s not my look and it never will be. I get PTSD just driving through there on the way to my daughter’s horseback lessons.
Now I’m in the Highlands, and I can let my freak flag fly. My freak flag is pretty conservative—it comprises pretty dresses and beach waves, every day—but back in high school people had lots of questions about it, and sometimes, occasionally, people still do. The question that boils my blood more than anything else is the slightly accusatory: “Why are you so dressed up?” Variations include, “Look at you, all dressed up! I just rolled out of bed and here you are in a dress!” and “Do you even own a pair of pants?” and “Why do you always wear dresses?” Actually, I think that last one is the worst. Why should I be on the defensive about what I choose to wear? While we’re asking intrusive questions, I’ve got one: “Why do you never brush your daughter’s hair?”
In defense of dresses, I wear them because they are easy. They are literally one piece. I don’t have to think about them. I don’t even have to match anything. I throw on some nude pumps and I am done. The most I might have to think about is adding a contrasting or coordinating cardigan if it’s chilly out, and maybe a stack of bracelets if I’m feeling bold.
So, to answer the burning question posed by the Real Housewives of Hurstbourne, Plainview, and Lake Forest: I wear dresses because I like them. I wear them because they’re pretty, and they make me feel like I’m presenting myself well, and because in a dress I’m ready for anything. Maybe it’s 4 p.m. on a Thursday and I get a text from a friend who wants me to be her date for an art gallery opening or political fundraiser. I can walk out the door within minutes. Maybe it’s a Saturday morning and I just want to look nice walking through the Cherokee Triangle Art Fair. You might be in your yoga pants, and that is totally fine, but I’m going to be in a dress, so please don’t judge me for it or act like I’m trying too hard.
I think that’s what it boils down to for me, the implication that I’m trying too hard. I am someone who tries. I remember in college, when I was actually hanging out with the cool girls for the first time in my life. “Trying too hard” was their ultimate insult. So I was someone who tried, but I learned how to make it look like I wasn’t trying. But is it such a bad thing to be a person who tries? Now I’m an adult, and I can be whatever I want. Like always, I’m someone who wears dresses, and I’m someone who tries.
I don’t judge people who don’t try. I’m friends with people who are proud of their general lack of effort, but they also don’t judge me when I do try, which is why we are friends. I would never criticize someone for wearing yoga pants–I would never even think to say, “Why do you always wear yoga pants? Do you even own a dress?” Can you imagine how rude and mean that would be?
Who cares what anyone else wears? The only wardrobe I care about is my own, and I want it to be all dresses. I won’t ask you about your yoga pants because it’s rude, and because it doesn’t matter, and because you are my friend and I like the interesting parts of your personality. I literally could not care less about your yoga pants or your motivation for wearing them, which, I suspect, is comfort-driven. All I expect is the same courtesy to be extended to me.