I was in a slump. Every day, it was the same routine. Wake up, put on my usual t-shirt and black leggings, feed the kids, clean the house, do the laundry, shower, bed, repeat.
I wanted more, but at the same time, I already had everything I’ve ever wanted. So I fell into an endless cycle of picking and perfecting and lining all the pieces up just right, adjusting and readjusting, shifting and setting, believing this would give me that imperceptible feeling. I couldn’t even put my finger on what it was that I wanted, I just knew I wanted it.
The more I chased, the farther away I got from my goal. I became knit-picky, critical, irritable, and harsh. I was working harder than ever, yet somehow receiving less affection and praise from my husband. My relationship with my young children suffered, and the spiral of anxiety and mom guilt was never ending.
I desperately needed a change, but where would I even begin? I thought back to some of my more naïve daydreams from when I was pregnant with my firstborn: I had loved ‘50s housewives. They seemed to be able to do it all with a smile and in a dress. That’s the mom I’ll be, I’d tell myself. I’ll be poised, put together; my children will play in my skirts and dangle from my apron strings, and I’ll hang on my husband's every word.
“Why had I given up on that dream?” I wondered. “Was it really all that naïve? Where would I even start?” Transforming into a ‘50s housewife overnight seemed like a daunting and overwhelming task. I needed to break my transformation down into steps. “What’s just one thing I can do, starting tomorrow, to begin this transformation?” I asked myself. That’s when I decided on the dress, the hallmark of the ‘50s housewife. I would wear one every single day and see if anything changed. It’d be my own private experiment. I honestly didn’t think much would come of it, but boy, was I wrong.
Roommate to Wife
On the first day of my experiment, my husband was taken by surprise. He thought the dress I was wearing meant I was going out, but when I told him with a shrug and a swish of my skirt, “No, this is just what I do now,” he was taken aback. He made sure I wouldn’t tire myself out too much with my scheme, but also commented on how much he enjoyed seeing me in dresses. The fact that he couldn’t take his hands off me for the rest of the day confirmed this. “But would it last?” I wondered.
To make a long story short, yes, here a month later, it has lasted. Wearing a dress every day has brought out my husband's masculinity in all the best ways. For an entire month now, I’ve been a well-tended woman, physically and emotionally.
In all honesty, the bedroom has always been our strong suit. I’ve never had complaints, but after seven years together, things do begin to settle into a routine, and while routine is nice outside the bedroom, it doesn’t exactly make for a romantic atmosphere inside it. You know what is sexy though? A break in that routine. Forehead kisses, jawline caresses, taking a little more time, and putting in a little more effort. Something about these dresses has made my husband want to take care of me in a whole new way, on a whole new level, and it’s kept us both coming back for more… and more… and more.
Wearing a dress every day has brought out my husband's masculinity in all the best ways.
Emotionally, he’s now the calming, strong, and gentle presence I’ve always desired when I’m feeling stressed. He pays attention to my emotions, and he takes the time to understand what it is that I’m trying to communicate before responding. I feel more than ever that he’s finally “on my side.” He’s also attentive, and loving, and physically affectionate outside the bedroom, not just in it. He’s filled the role of leader and guide for our family more than ever before. He’s taken on a serious countenance when it comes to this matter, and while it’s required small acts of submission on my part here and there, it’s been the welcome change I’ve always craved.
This past month my husband has treated me the way I’ve always longed to be treated, like a lady, and I firmly believe it’s due to the fact that I’ve presented myself as one. I’ve realized that in order to be desired, I have to become something desirable. This was not simply an outward transformation however, it was an internal shift as well.
I’m a Better Mom
There’s something about a uniform that gets us into the right mindset. We wear them for sports, jobs, and military service. We have dress codes for events, parties, and dates. To break it down even further, we even have mini uniforms within our own homes. Pajamas for sleep, baggy/comfortable clothes for when we are sick, and old/worn out clothing for when we work outside. So why did I ever think the clothing I wore every single day as a mother would not affect my mothering?
Every morning this past month, as I would get dressed for the day, I was reminded of my ideal homemaker, the 1950s woman. I got to reflect on her as I did my skincare and put my makeup on. Whenever I smoothed out my skirts to sit, I was reminded of her elegance and attention to detail. Whenever I did something counter to my idea of what a ‘50s housewife would do, I was tangibly aware due to the constant, physical reminder of the dress.
It made me more aware of the message my image sends to others. When I was impatient, what message was I sending? Was I communicating to my husband and children that they were joys in my life, or burdens? Was I being a good and selfless caretaker with a happy spirit, or was I causing tension and discord with my self-serving attitude?
This is how the dress changed me from the inside out. By its constant, physical reminder of the mother I desired to be. It has been a source of extreme conviction in my life, but not guilt. It has been an encouraging inspiration for all the good I am capable of bringing to the lives of my children and husband through my many acts of service as mother and wife.
Chores Are a Tad Bit More Enjoyable
Chores are not fun. They are a dirty, smelly, chaotic, boring, disagreeable fact of life. However, by adding one variable into this equation that is decidedly opposite all those things, chores have become slightly less dissatisfying. There is something whimsical and enchanting to me about doing something difficult or messy while looking put together and polished. This fact, along with how my husband seems to feel even more strongly about this than I do, is enjoyable.
This new enjoyment is also closely tied to the dress's reminder of my duty to loving service. Every chore I do communicates love and appreciation to my family and promotes harmony. By washing the dishes (my least favorite task) I am directly loving the next person to eat off them. I am providing for my family in the most feminine way possible, through sacrifice and service. What could be more beautiful than that?
I am providing for my family in the most feminine way possible, through sacrifice and service.
It’s Not Just “Running Errands” Anymore, It’s an Event
Running errands used to feel like a chore. Okay, to be honest, sometimes it still does. However, these days it’s something I kind of look forward to. That’s because, 1) I get to drop the kids off at the grandparents, and 2) I get to add a little extra glitz into my day. Now, is wearing jewelry and accessories to the grocery store a little silly? Maybe, but do I go over the top? Absolutely not. However, if society didn’t dress so casually these days and women and men dressed like they did in the ‘50s, it wouldn’t seem frivolous at all.
Additionally, attracting attention is one of my guilty pleasures. Unfortunately, I used to go about this the easy way, with shorts that were a bit too short and tops that were a little too tight. I always got the attention I wanted, but it was often not the type I desired. What I wanted was to be admired, but what I got instead were unwanted and aggressive advances.
Nowadays, I turn heads because I look different. Most women don’t wear dresses to get groceries, but I wish more did. I’m not going out in ballgowns or anything like that (though that sounds really fun). Just a dress that I can pair with some white sneakers or my favorite charm bracelet.
As the saying goes, “Look good, feel good,” but it’s more than that. I’m now dressing my worth, and I’m worth putting a little extra time, effort, and thought into. I’m worth the work it takes to feel pretty.
I also like that my full body isn’t on display all the time like it was in my usual yoga pants. I love the freedom that comes from dressing with a little more class and sophistication. No more constant worrying about cellulite, stomach flatness, or stretch marks. I get to keep society and their opinions regarding my body at arm's length now. They have opinions about my dresses and fashion choices, I’m sure, but those aren’t as personal as opinions about my body. The only opinion that matters now is the loving one of my husband, and his is more generous and kinder than society’s.
I get to keep society and their opinions regarding my body at arm's length now.
Lastly, there is just nothing better than feeling feminine every single day, and dresses accomplish that for me. I love exercising my unique privilege as a woman to dress like one. It reminds me of my purpose, and my purpose is more than simply existing. It’s selfless service of those whom I love, and even those I don’t.
What started out as a little experiment with a few dresses and a handful of days, has completely transformed my approach to marriage, motherhood, and femininity. What started out as a way to make myself feel better, has improved the lives of every single member of my family, myself included. This has been such a drastic, delightful, and unexpected change, that I am never going back to the way things were before. Not in attitude or in fashion choices. I truly hope that more women try this challenge with me, as I believe there is something unique and valuable to be gained by all.
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