On a recent Saturday afternoon, my 35-year-old daughter Facetimed me. She was looking for help in deciding what to wear that evening as she was going out with girlfriends to an upscale bar/restaurant in the city. First option was a very sexy top with leather pants…Whoa! “That looks fabulous, but only if you were going out with your husband!” Option #2 was another sexy lowcut top – “Gorgeous again, but not for a girl’s night.” I replied. That’s where the call ended.
She ended up wearing one of the sexy tops. She felt great and she had fun. The next day we had a dispute/discussion that made me rethink some of my ways of thinking on how to dress. I have always believed that what you wear sends a message, it’s a way to express yourself to the world, your outfit being your personal ‘book cover’. I always thought that a married woman, when not in the company of her husband, should avoid overtly sexy attire because it sends the wrong message. Daughter Hayley believes that if the situation is appropriate for sexy attire, it is perfectly fine to ‘send a message’ of confidence and sexiness even if she is out without her husband. She claims that looking sexy doesn’t necessarily mean ‘looking for action’. Feeling both confused and challenged, I thought of a similar personal situation going back about twenty years…
As a member of the Tango Society of Boston, I would go tango dancing every Wednesday night – without my husband of that time because he did not enjoy it. Do you think I dressed conservatively? Of course not. I dressed appropriate for tango dancing: mostly in black, always form-fitting, lace stockings, high heels. Never encountered a problem of any sort. So why did I advise my daughter differently and why am I more conservative today when out without hubby?
Maybe a part of me was mama bear protecting her daughter? Or was I just stuck in an outdated way of thinking? I think the latter. The more my daughter and I talked, the more I felt that she was right – wear what is appropriate for the situation, and wear what makes YOU feel good. Period. Perhaps the reason that I pass on provocative attire when without hubby is that it does NOT make me feel good, it feels wrong. These are almost always times when I am alone and traveling for business. Even after hours I am not out ‘partying’, so more conservative attire feels appropriate.
You can teach an old dog new tricks! Thanks to this dispute with my daughter, I see things a bit differently today, and it feels right on many levels. While ‘what to wear’ guidelines can surely be helpful to many women, let’s not go back to archaic rules that limit our creativity, confidence, and joie de vivre! If an outfit is situation appropriate and it makes you smile, that’s all that counts.
Would love to hear your thoughts!