Categorically-speaking


i am not a formal person. i don't feel good "dressing up" for something. i went to a wedding last week. black-tie recommended. i had a new dress for the occasion, or rather, i used the occasion for (the excuse to buy) a new dress. since the occasion was the justification for the dress, i respectfully waited for the official day to wear it, knowing that after that use, i would appropriate it as an everyday item. i waited months.

BIG mistake.

why?
because this dress that i was (figuratively) itching to wear casually with my men's shoes, or my converse, or my perfect black flats, was foreign to me when i finally put it on for the formal evening. instead of wearing a favorite old dress, i was wearing a formal one. i hate that. by the end of the evening, i had figured out how i'd rather have worn it (different shoes, and sideways - the dress, not the shoes), but it wasn't ideal to use the wedding as a testing ground. i had been worried that wearing the dress beforehand would ruin the specialness of the dress, but by waiting, i ruined what was supposed to be the specialness of the occasion (just for me - i'm pretty sure the bride had a great time). i don't know why i thought i needed the dress to be pristine for the wedding - though i guess that attitude was what led me to purchase a new dress in the first place.

lots of editorials out there about transitioning items from day to night, and i always ignore them. i think in my case, it was a matter of making a mental adjustment rather than a sartorial one.

do you view your pieces in narrowly-defined categories (designated for certain occasions), or does anything go (anywhere, anytime)?

10 comments:

-h of candid cool said...

anything goes at any time.

Luce said...

anything, anytime. i'm a firm believed in sequins and mesh and metallics in the daytime, ripped denim and white t-shirt for night. the first bit made me sound like a hooker, but you catch my drift! haha.

Carlene said...

Hmmm, good question. I have a dress in my closet that I only wear to occasions, but it's not necessarily that fancy. I think I just wanted a go-to dress specifically for "occasions" (I think I really like that word now) and that's what it's for.

Other than that, I think I might be backwards in the "anything at any time" vein; I like wearing not-so-fancy stuff (alongside the fancy stuff) to fancy occasions. Fancy Occasions! I need more of them.

Iheartfashion said...

Great question! I like to think that I wear anything, anytime, but in reality I do separate my clothes into "everyday" and "special occasion". At least half my closet falls into the latter category and rarely gets worn. I have a wedding this weekend and am still debating what to wear. I fear if I wear something new I'll feel uncomfortable like you did.

erica said...

there are certain items in my closet that aren't especially fancy, but the cost of dry cleaning and fear of damaging the material keep me from wearing them more than 2 or 3 times a year.

i made a similar mistake (at a wedding, too) with a dress that i 'saved' for a month before debuting. i wish i had tried it out to a nice dinner first.

Anairam said...

I immediately start wearing anything new I buy. I can't wait to try it out! That said, I do not really buy 'special' clothes, mostly I buy what I can wear in the day, and then dress it up for night with accessories. Works for me. (I do have some tango skirts and tops though that I only wear for tango!)

materfamilias said...

such a good question. My lifestyle doesn't include many formal or fancy dress-up occasions so I usually find ways to work the few special things into everyday life (generally after an informal waiting period), or go vice versa and try to glam up the everyday through hairstyle, accessories, etc.

UNIFORM Studio said...

I normally do what you did -have a new dress for a special occasion. Last weekend I attended a wedding and wore a dress I'd been wearing alot since this past spring. I felt so comfortable in it and knew how to wear it and what to wear it with, that I felt great.
I will definitely do this from now on.

Alexandreena said...

Anything goes, anytime. I mix and match and definitely wear a lot of "special occasion"- type fabrics during the day, at the office.

Sal said...

I have had your exact experience, Editor. It's beyond frustrating.

For years, I kept to categories, but I'm heading toward the "anything goes, anywhere, anytime" mentality now. Certain exceptions like bridesmaid dresses and down parkas will always exist, but I'm learning what "dressing down" and "dressing up" really mean. And to me, they mainly mean accessorization.