Sunday, August 17, 2014

Over-dressed or Under-appreciated?

Did I overdo it?

My husband and I went out to dinner last night. Downtown. To a place considered— by location and price— to be a special occasion restaurant. It wasn't exactly a special occasion; Houston has an event called "Houston Restaurant Weeks" when hundreds of restaurants in town offer a set menu to attract diners and do good (a portion of the proceeds going to Houston Food Bank). This gives us an opportunity to try new places or revisit favorites that may ordinarily be out of the budget.

What I'm leading up to is— we got dressed. I wore a nice dress and even heels. This isn't exactly the dress, but it's close:

My husband wore a collared polo shirt, dark jeans, a blazer and his ancient python-skin boots that always get more attention than I do (the valet even commented on them).

We weren't dressing to impress, however. We got dressed because I like the idea of going to a nice restaurant and having a lovely evening with good food, drink and service. Aside from a small hiccup with the bread, we got all three and were stuffed and satisfied.

As I looked around me, though, I saw that practically no one was dressed to fit the place. There were a few young women in "date night"apparel— skinny pants, sky-high heels and a pretty top. Some gals dining together were just there for a girls' night out and may have come from work. What took me by surprise were the WOACAs (Women of a Certain Age) and their partners— women my age in other words— who have either given up the good fight or don't own a dress.

I'm not talking country-club chic either. These women may have been in chinos and a t-shirt or a blouse and cotton slacks— nothing special, nothing that said "I tried". As a consequence I began to feel a bit over dressed— as if my husband and I had suddenly become that "cute old couple" you might see in the park or at a concert. They look so nice together, but they look like alien space beings compared to the rest of the world.

Well, I'm not going to dumb-down dress just because everyone's doing it. Like my mother used to say when I gave that excuse, "If everyone jumped off a cliff would you do that too?" And I am obviously the keeper of the family flame. My husband actually asked if he could wear shorts to dinner.

We will keep marching along, and if we are marching to the beat of a different drummer— so be it.


  1. We do the same dining thing here - it's called "Dine Around Town" - and I'm always surprised by how poorly people dress to go for dinner. It's not just dinner either! It's the theatre or an art gallery opening (although the more artsy types do tend to dress up for those). Keep on dressing up, Michelle! If your style can inspire one other WOACA to try harder, that's a success!

  2. So nice to I am not alone, and don't you change either, Sheila!

  3. I couldn't agree more with what you have written. I, too, am so often disappointed, if not appalled, with what people wear. Obviously, money is not the problem. The malls and stores are always busy. Where do these people go with the clothes they buy? Not church, not dining out, not most places in public. Pride of appearance has become unimportant, it seems. I'm a woman of a certain age,too. If you lack fashion sense, are busy, or whatever, just put on a black dress or skirt and some lipstick! Sorry to go on a rant. I had to laugh about your husband wanting to wear shorts. My husband has wanted to wear nice shorts to church! Aghh! Love your writing, Michelle. I live in Houston, too.

  4. I totally agree - very few people make the effort these days. I was at a wedding recently and some youngsters even turned up in jeans!

  5. I am 70+ years and my husband and I love to dress up. --Even my grown children know the importance of looking good. I am trying to pass this "message" to my grandchildren as well. Love your posts.

  6. Just to add my support to the general agreement that there is truly nothing wrong with dressing up. Like others, I actually think that not dressing up when you go out to a nice restaurant (or wedding, or church) is something of an insult. Doesn't mean you have to wear a ball gown, or uncomfortable clothes, but, for me, it adds to the excitement and enjoyment of the evening to be wearing non-every-day clothes, some nice jewelry, nicer shoes (comfortable, but dressier) and "go out". Its fun. So, don't stop.

  7. I couldn't agree more. Where I live in Orlando it is shorts and flip-flops almost anywhere and anytime and it is altogether too easy to be more dressed up than anyone in the room. Dressing in something lovely is a joy. I do it for myself.