Five Reasons to Over-Dress For Your Day

We've all done it. We've all stood in front of the mirror when we dragged out of bed, looked at our yoga pants, looked at the day's schedule and thought, "Oh, what the heck." I routinely do it on Fridays because Thursdays are always an exceptionally long day for me. I leave the house at 8:30 AM and don't return till 11:30 PM. Friday is the one day a week I willingly wear athletic pants and a t-shirt to work. I'm a nanny and many people find it a little ridiculous, what sort of clothes I wear for a job that could easily warrant nothing nicer than yoga pants and a tank top. I'm climbed on by small children all day e'erday. I'm teaching school and wiping small booties and cooking the evening's dinner and playing soccer barefoot in the back yard because I don't want to wear my new leopard-print flats in the yard. So why, people ask, do I routinely wear outfits above my pay-grade? Same reason I take care with my outfits when I'm only going to Walmart, or to the coffee shop to use wifi, or to the Post Office and feed store. My reasons are, in fact, the same reasons that cause me to dress accordingly when I do have a more formal engagement. The reasons are as follows:

1.) "She quietly expected great things to happen to her, and no doubt that's one of the reasons why they did." -Zelda Fitzgerald
"I'd hate to look shabby for destiny." I say this halfway with my tongue in my cheek, but the heart of the sentiment bears scrutiny. I never know when something intriguing will happen to me and I want to look good when it happens. People laugh at me over this one, because it is a little silly. But truly, would you want to stumble into meeting one of your favorite actors or musicians while wearing sweats and a hoodie? Or maybe a friend you haven't seen in ages, or an interesting stranger, or a a policeman ticketing you for running a red light. You never can tell with bees.
2.) "Being well-dressed is a beautiful form of politeness." -Anonymous 
I like to dress nicely because it is a beautiful form of politeness. I'm telling the people with whom I interact, without words, that I value them. I might only be going to Walmart, but I'm willing to put the same effort into my appearance when seeing them that I would when seeing someone I actually...well...I actually want to see. When someone dresses nicely to meet me for coffee - just me, not a boardroom full of bosses - I feel incredible special. It's the wordless things.
3.) "Personal style comes from within. It's when the woman, her individuality and spirit, comes through. She uses clothing to express who she is and how she feels." Donna Karan
 Hearkening back to what was going on last point, style is a way to tell the world who you are, what you value, how you feel. Having personal style, developing it, and wearing it into the world is a thing that only the mature woman can do...because having personal style is to know yourself inside and out and to be able to translate that into clothing.
4.) "Sometimes you just have to put on lipgloss and pretend to be psyched." -Mindy Kaling
You don't always feel like dressing up. That's kind of the point of doing it, though. A good outfit, good makeup, or a favorite pair of shoes give you some swagger. My best friend calls a good outfit a "power move" and we both know the value of wearing your best when having a tough conversation, working with difficult people, or simply grinding out another day of the same old retail job. When you're at least looking like you're ready for life, life will often become ready for you.
5.) "Refuse to be average. Let your heart soar as it will." A.W. Tozer
You don't have to have other people's view on the world. You don't have to look at your life and think, "There's absolutely no reason to paint my nails today." You don't have to wear ripped jeans and an old concert tee unless you want to wear ripped jeans and an old concert tee. You don't have to wait for a special occasion to curl your hair, or wear bright lipstick, or high heels. You don't have to dress as simply as everyone else if you're feeling fancy. Just be yourself. Follow your own path and if someone sneers because you're wearing sequins before dark, take comfort in the fact that they aren't their own personal disco ball.

I hope I've helped to explain why I consider it worthwhile to wear a dress to work and high-heels to the book store and earrings to the pharmacy and lipstick...well...lipstick always. Not because I am being irrational about what my job entails, not because I think I'm better than everyone else, not because I want to be noticed, but because of these five things: hope, consideration, expression, determination, and originality. I'm happy to wake up half an hour earlier, to carry lipstick in my purse, and to fuss a little more with my cardigan. All of these things are but a small price to pay for feeling prepared, confident, polite, cheerful, and beautiful. As always, may your lipstick be red and your heels high.



  1. This was very inspiring, I am the wear ripped jeans and a concert tee, because that's what I like to wear. Black eyeliner and purposely tousled hair. I like something that is a mix of classy-grunge. That's my power move :)

    1. Hey, if that's your thing, then by all means, wear it! :)

    2. My power dress involves tennis shoes. Or hiking boots. I'm a naturally active person, and I feel best prepared when I know that I can, at a moments notice, sprint across broken glass, climb a tree, and jump off a six foot wall. It's a hard sentiment to explain to some people.
      I like the way Rachel expands my viewpoint to understand dressing up better, while at the same time encouraging individual style.

  2. Amen to this. I get looks for being the only person wearing heels at school, but I love feeling confident and yes, maybe a bit more powerful, because I don't care if they think I'm overdressed or not. I'm being me, and if that means wearing heels and lipstick on the daily, then that's who I am. :)

  3. Yes! I loved this! Every single reason! (And don't worry, #1 is one of my favorite reasons to dress up. It's not silly :))

  4. I have recently entered a universe in which apparently everyone wears gym shorts all of the time. All of the time. Or workout tights (this is a thing, apparently). A universe in which anything that isn't divided in the legs is automatically 'fancy.'

    I have never owned a pair of gym shorts. Or workout tights. People know me as 'the swishy skirt girl.'

    Thank you.

    1. Not that there is anything inherently wrong about gym shorts, but I've never owned a pair either...or workout tights. What universe IS this? XD

    2. Swishy skirt girl.
      Most awesome title of the day.

  5. I love this post so much. I totally end up overdressing about 99% of the time, but lets face it... dressing up and putting the time into looking cute and well put together does something to vastly improve difficult days and moods. So I think it's worth the effort, even if you get funny looks from the people at the feed/hardware store. ;)

    Today, I pulled out my favorite navy and white polka dot dress, a bright red cardi because its sort of an arctic outside, pearls, bright lipstick and will probably end up wearing red heels to run errands. ;)

    Also, I wanted to let you know that your leopard flats are pretty awesome. :) So cute!

  6. I spent most of my life in '90's home-schooler gear (the '80's and '90's had the worst fashion because it was "cool" to be sloppy often and marry that to home-schooler style, yikes!); I cannot enjoy old photos because I look so truly terrible. So I have tried to dress well and often seem "over-dressed," but whenever I am not I feel terrible and slobby. I just need to find the balance between comfortable/healthy and nice since I have made me feet look like an old lady's and I often feel uncomfortable/uptight in some of my clothes especially since I am not much into knits.

  7. I love this so much :) Seriously, Rachel, thanks SO much for encouraging us to get dressed up, even if we don't technically "need to." I used to not pay too much attention to what I wore to class every day--because, hey, nobody else did!--but now I've tried putting more effort in and it makes me feel a LOT better about myself. :)