International Wear A Dress Day 2009 — Today!

Today is International Wear A Dress Day (Observed) 2009! If you're wearing a dress today, feel free to upload a picture either to Flickr or as a Twitpic on Twitter with the hashtag #iwadd.

If you're not wearing a dress today, that's your choice (and I fully support you in it), but I thought I'd post about some reasons I've heard people give for not wearing a dress on ANY day, and talk a bit about them.

"I can't wear a dress to work, my co-workers will think I'm [too dressed up|snobby|looking for another job]." International Wear A Dress Day gives you the perfect excuse to wear a dress to work; you are celebrating the holiday! They wouldn't give you grief about a Christmas sweater, would they? (Okay, maybe they would …) The bigger answer to this is: what do you care more about? Their opinion? Or your happiness?

"I can't wear a dress, [it's too cold/I ride a bike to work/I have to move boxes]." I have done all these things in a dress. (Today I will ride my bike five miles in a dress.) If there's a will, there's a way. These last two excuses are really a coded "Oh noes! What if people see my UNDERWEAR?" excuse, which I believe I answered with this rant right here.

"I work in a male-dominated industry, and I don't want to look too feminine." Newsflash: I'm pretty sure they already know you're a girl. If you treat femininity as something to apologize for, so will they. Do they worry that they are "too masculine"? I'm betting not. Acting like a guy means doing whatever the hell you want whenever the hell you want until stopped by force (as far as I can tell). So if you want to seem less feminine to fit in, try that first.

"I feel uncomfortable in dresses." That's not the question. (Actually, that's not a question at all.) The question is: do you *want* to feel comfortable in dresses? Then you have to start wearing them, or start trying things on until you find dresses you DO feel comfortable in. If you don't really care, then there's no problem; IWADD is a completely optional event.

"I'm plus-size." Yes, finding attractive clothes that fit well when you're a plus size is not the easiest thing in the world. But if you are determined, it can be done, absolutely. I see plus-sized women in fantastic dresses every day, both in real life and on the internets. And there's always sewing for yourself, your sewing machine doesn't care what size you are, and it never gives you a snooty look when you walk into the sewing room.

"I hate pantyhose." I hear ya, sister. I don't wear them either. I would say that unless you are a corporate lawyer or work in banking, bare legs or tights are acceptable in 90% of workplaces.

"Dresses are too expensive!" Sales. Ebay. And most of all: sewing. I've made dresses for $10, including the cost of the zipper & pattern. (And have you seen the price of jeans lately? Sheesh!)

"I work on an oil rig." Okay, yeah, maybe you should wait until your day off.

Do you have other questions? Leave 'em in the comments, and I'll do my best to answer them!

Happy IWADD!

83 thoughts on “International Wear A Dress Day 2009 — Today!

  1. Pemguin – tight = opaque….pantyhose = sheer. Does that help. i converted a always wear pants wearer to a sometimes wears skirts wearer at work. When my children were little I wore leggings under semi sheer broomstick skirts exclusively. The were perfect for toddler chasing and face wiping. Everything I can do in pants I can do better in skirts and dresses.

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  2. Oh, dear, I forgot! I didnt actually leave the house today, anyway. I like dresses, but many of them are out of circulation for the duration. My baby is 5 months old. He likes to eat. A lot. I have several nursing dresses, and I always like wearing them, but they dont come with pockets.

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  3. I, too, can only second the Body Glide Stick. Its changed my whole world of skirt and dress wearing! I cannot say enough, that I tried almost anything else, like powders, vaseline, deodorant. Nothing works like that stick. Work like a charm.I was not wearing a dress, should have been though. Must find/sew dresses that fit winter weather…. =)

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  4. Sigh. I wanted so badly to participate this year, I had a dress and everything…and then we got a hunormous blizzard here in CO and I ended up not leaving the house today. Perhaps Ill do it next Thursday and call it International Wear A Dress Day (Observed.)

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  5. I did not wear a dress yesterday, because I was offline for quite some time and did not learn about it until yesterday. :-( But I shall wear a dress today…

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  6. I wore a dress yesterday, but with jeans underneath. I always find it difficult to get my footwear right with dresses. I love wearing dresses, but like them causal and always end up with the wring boots/shoes etc. I have been inspired by you to start sewing and have a fab shift dress pattern arriving and have some fab material awaiting. Heres to me wearing more dresses, albeit with jeans/leggings underneath (Its just too cold in Scotland).

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  7. I donned a dress on IWADD then realized three of the buttons were broken and changed to a skirt, because broken buttons is the kind of detail that would have made me self conscious all day.So I was with you in spirit.You have a lot of readers who seem ill at ease with dresses! Must be an opposites attract thing. I guess I wouldnt read a blog about wearing pants (my usual uniform!)

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  8. Im another who was in a skirt rather than a dress, and that was only because Ive been wearing them exclusively since February (the aim is to get through a year, then Im thinking Ill mostly wear skirts/dresses) I was going to comment that I dont have any dresses appropriate for work (as a primary teacher) until I get around to making some, but Ive realised that I have one or two that would be okay.On the tights/pantyhose/bare legs front, as I hate wearing both tights and pantyhose (I think it has to do with being tall – I spend far too much of my day hitching them up) and its been too cold this (Australian) Winter to go bare-legged, Ive taken to wearing long (knee high or longer) socks in funky colours – mostly striped, but some Argyle, and one pair with sheet music. Ive become known for them, and Im going to miss them over the Summer.

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  9. I also only wear dresses and skirts for religious reasons. Pants arent socially acceptable for women in my community..shlowzkins: tights are for a casual look, sheer hosiery is more appropriate for a very formal occasion like a wedding, with a gown, elegant dress, and heels..

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  10. I wore a cozy (and cheap) sweater dress from target with knee-high boots and warm tights, and went ahead and went raking leaves in it! I got a comment from my mother in law (Youre all dressed up to RAKE LEAVES?) but it ended up being the perfect outfit for it! The long boots meant no dirty/soggy jeans hems, and the dress was sufficiently warm for when I was just starting off, but still let enough air through that I didnt get incredibly sweaty when the work got hard.I dont have a flickr or twitter account at the moment, though, so itll go unposted anywhere other than here. But it was observed!

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  11. Im wearing a dress today, but then I always do! Todays dress is black silk with ruffles around the neck, worn with vintage jet beads, black opaque tights and black patent heels.

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  12. I always wear dresses. I own one pair of jeans that I wear on camping trips, and thats it.I routinely have to move boxes and climb metal movable stairs at work, and I do it in a dress or skirt and girly shoes (flats or low heels) all the time. You can do almost anything in a dress/skirt provided its not too windy and youve had a little practice.

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  13. Um, I dont know what kind of bike you have, or how far you ride it, but they dont sell step-though bikes in my size at the local bike shop. Id have to find a bike shop that sells Dutch city bikes in a big sizes, as Dutch women tend to be even taller than me. Normally, the only bikes sold with step through frames are for women 5-4 and under.So… Ill continue to do my hilly 6 mile commuting rides in cycling shorts, with a dress rolled up in the panniers if I want to wear one. No way am I hurling my leg up over the saddle while wearing a dress.

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  14. I love the idea of dresses, but Im short-legged, and most of the chairs in my office building are just a little too tall for me. So I cant cross my legs comfortably while sitting in them, and the effort it takes just to keep my legs together while sitting in public gets tiring. So pants for me! But bravo to you successful dress wearers.

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  15. just a note on the tights/stockings subject: As a tall gal, I would suggest traditional leggings worn with boots and socks–its got the tights look without the tights pull and sag.my dress for the week:black Isaac Miz. vintage style from Target, black wide belt, eggplant tights and tall black boots(it had a Wonder Woman effect on me)

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  16. I have to confess, Im guilty of people will think Im too dressed up and pants are more comfortable but I do like dresses and even more than wearing them I like to sew them so I wear them as an excuse for sewing them.

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  17. Long-ish dresses with boots are my favorite get-up and Ill certainly wear one today! Jennilous projects: I have two solutions for chafing. I make pettipants in silk charmeuse, which is comfortable in most weather, and feels great. Theyre cut in two simple pieces and are a very good reason to learn to sew if you dont already. When its just too hot for pants, theres a lubricant called body glide that comes in sticks like deodorant and can be gotten at big drug stores. I believe its intended for athletes, and it does a great job.

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  18. I wear a dress or skirt every day. I only wear pants when its extra cold or I everything else is in the wash. Ive done this junior high! I went through high school without a pair of jeans–and that was in the 70s. People sometimes look at me askance when Im gardening in the front yard in a dress, but hay. Im now a petite plus size, so I order nearly everything. In the summer I apply regular deoderant in discrete places. My favorites this summer were three pencil skirts made of stretchable denim from Avenue. I wore t-shirts to dress down and blouses or sweaters to dress up.

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  19. I forgot it was IWADD yesterday and wore pants! I am mostly a skirt girl, but have been making more dresses now that I no longer nursing a baby.I wear skirts and dresses year round–they are much cooler in the summer and in the winter I wear them with tights and knee high boots and stay very warm. On inbetween days Ill wear them with the boots with kneesocks underneath.

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  20. I love dresses with an all-abiding passion and wear them quite willy-nilly and with impunity. I may even be one of the plus-size dress gals whose style youve admired on the internet.However I must, in defense of some of my fellow chubbettes, tell you that I endured what amounted to a 12 year Dress Drought during my late 30s and the majority of my 40s. I truly stink at sewing, (despite being the descendant of tailors), nor can I afford to pay someone else to make frocks for me. And Im a Brit – and the choice for fat Brits is not as wide or as varied as the choice for our American cousins. (I believe Australians and New Zealanders dont have a fantastic choice either). Our main plus-size manufacturers were either not offering dresses at all during that hellish chunk of my life, or, if and when they did, they were few, poorly made, hideous sleeveless polyester ankle-length shifts with high round necks. (If you were lucky theyd throw in a matching overpriced hip length long sleeved polyester blouse. Niiiiice). Believe me when I tell you Im not exaggerating.My personal lot has only improved because a non-plus-size manufacturer I favoured in my slightly less fat youth had the foresight to extend its size range significantly a couple of years ago. But they dont offer all their designs in larger sizes and quite often those they do make in my size frequently dont fit properly or work on my shape. Our major plus-size manufacturers have started to offer more dresses over the last 3 or 4 years but I still wouldnt bee seen dead in most of them – and my larger friends cant buy dresses from the shop I favour at all.

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  21. Re: not having a step-through bike and wearing skirts/dresses, heres a tip from Mr. Bike:lay the bike down; put one foot in the middle of the frame; pull the bike partway up; take your foot out of the frame; stand the bike all the way up; reverse to get off the bikeAnother bicycling tip: a large binder clip (I think some people call them bull clips) will turn just about any skirt or dress into one appropriate for riding a bike. I typically wear a knee-length A-line skirt for cycling and honestly dont care about flashing a bit of thigh, but sometimes I will clip a lighter weight skirt around one leg to keep it from blowing up into my face – not to mention scaring the horses on the streets. :o)On the topic of the post and many of these comments, I find the reasons why people dont wear skirts and dresses (other than personal preference) so interesting. I long ago realized that I was happier and more comfortable in skirts and dresses than I ever was in pants (including jeans) and shorts and have found them suitable for all occasions and activites. At this point, I only own one pair of pants – thin, white cotton drawstring pants that I occasionally wear to parties in the summer. Dresses are a lot more flattering on my curvy, vertically challenged body and they suit my lazy nature – all I have to do is pull on a dress, slip on my shoes, and go!

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  22. I fear that, being unaware of IWADD, Thursday was the only day all week that I didnt wear a dress or a skirt. :( I was in jeans with the intent of harvesting my potatoes — until it unexpectedly rained. I loathe jeans — theyre uncomfortable and unflattering. But rough, dirty work is what jeans are FOR.Im a plus size and I believe that skirts and dresses are infinitely more comfortable and more flattering to a heavy figure than slacks (and especially jeans). The right choice of style accents the good points while skimming tactfully over the parts best concealed.For example if you, like me, have wide hips and a large rear, try a circle or half-circle skirt. You will be AMAZED.And if you chafe (personally, I break out from the rubbing when wearing jeans — the airflow from the skirts keeps things dry and healthy), I have two ideas for you:First, Gold Bond Body Powder. Also good for underarm rubs, under your bra band, and that flap that hangs down over your C-section scar if youre unlucky enough to have a hanging abdomen.Second, Civil War drawers http://www.elizabethstewartclark.com/GAMC/FP/PDF/Drawers.pdf which are amazingly comfortable — especially since you make them custom to your measurements. This is also a good solution to draftiness for a woman of any weight.BTW — most issues of draftiness, the pantyhose problem, and most modesty issues when active are easily solved by making the skirt longer. A mid-calf to ballerina-length skirt made at least 1/2-circle full will fall in graceful and concealing folds around your legs while allowing complete freedom of movement. And you can wear the same knee-highs and trouser socks that you wear with slacks.As a bonus, if you should happen to be short and dumpy the longer skirt will make you look taller.Finally, I guarantee that if you put on a pair of jeans and I put on a long wool skirt and we both go stand in the snow Ill be warmer. Especially if I layered on another wool skirt underneath.

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  23. It may have been noted here before, but since it was totally new and exciting for me not so long ago… Ive got to recommend Monistat Soothing Care Chafing Relief Powder-Gel. You can get it in almost any drugstore. I swear I dont work for that company, but Ive been able to go from a mostly pants to a predominantly dresses and skirts wardrobe since I bought my first tube a couple of years ago. Wonderful stuff!

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  24. I love dresses but dont wear them for two reasons:1. I am plus size with most fat around tummy. I didnt find a dress yet that didnt make me look like a cylinder. I dont sew but the 5 dresses I did buy through internet are sadly at the back of the closet due to fit issues.2. I almost never cross my legs (totally un-lady-like me!). Even with tights/panty hose, it appears more scandalous to not cross legs with dress/skirt than with pants. So, I am always on look out for below knee dresses. Yet, the best part of my body are my legs.Any suggestions?

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  25. Its true, no one looks good when they hang a cylinder of fabric from their largest measurement. And fit is ALWAYS an issue for plus-size women because were not all the same shape.Women who carry their weight in their middles rather than their hips tend to look great in drop-waist dresses. Another good look for that shape is a long, loose sweater or shirt over a narrow skirt. The loose top skims tactfully over the weight while the narrow skirt emphasizes good legs. Some of these are maternity dresses, but you can see the principle of how narrowing the silhouette at the hips emphasizes the shapely legs. http://www.isabellaoliver.com/maternity-wear-blog/Drop-Waist-Maternity-Dress.jpghttp://www.comparestoreprices.co.uk/images/va/vanessa-bruno-drop-waist-dress.jpghttp://www.ashleystewart.com/ashleystewart/browse/productDetail.jsp?icProduct=8534WSSTicSort=%2Bordinalhttp://www.catherines.com/dresses-skirts/career-dresses/print-bodre-dress/4559c4560p26559/index.pro Its the upside-down version of the way I wear a fitted top to accent my chest and relatively small waist with a circle skirt to skim over my wide rear end.Learning to sew, or paying someone to sew for you, may be necessary, but if you try it youre likely to find that you look better than you imagined that you could look. :-)

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  26. @3KillerBsThanks so much for the advice. I was mostly looking at empire waist dresses. The waist on them didnt hit the narrowest part of my waist and resulted in disasters.Also, those and drop-waist things mostly made me look pregnant.I will definitely be on the look out for that cute mock-two-piece dress.

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  27. Im glad it was helpful.Regardless of which shape you have, the key to a great dress for a heavier woman seems to be to skim fabric lightly over the heaviest part while letting it cling to the best parts.Doing it can require some finagling. Being in my 40s now Im discovering that one of the privileges of middle-age is the freedom to ignore fashion and wear what you like. But trying to buy what you like when its out of fashion can be difficult.Youll probably never see me in a purple dress with a red hat, but I am wearing a fuchsia-pink skirt with a white blouse and a fuchsia shawl/scarf wound around my shoulders.Good luck.

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  28. Im glad it was helpful.Regardless of which shape you have, the key to a great dress for a heavier woman seems to be to skim fabric lightly over the heaviest part while letting it cling to the best parts.Doing it can require some finagling. Being in my 40s now Im discovering that one of the privileges of middle-age is the freedom to ignore fashion and wear what you like. But trying to buy what you like when its out of fashion can be difficult.Youll probably never see me in a purple dress with a red hat, but I am wearing a fuchsia-pink skirt with a white blouse and a fuchsia shawl/scarf wound around my shoulders.Good luck.

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  29. Acting like a guy means doing whatever the hell you want whenever the hell you want until stopped by force (as far as I can tell).This absolutely cracked me up. Thanks for the laugh! Great writing!

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