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Why I’m Switching From Leggings And Going Retro With The House Dress

A vintage housewife and her family blog header

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Leggings and yoga pants seem to be the typical fashion around most houses, while the house dress is out of fashion. Homemakers and stay at home moms live in their leggings, both in and outside of the home, and I can understand why. They’re comfortable and allow for a full range of motion, so squatting down to play with your kids isn’t a pain in the rear like it can be when wearing jeans.

But as I am getting more into the vintage side of homemaking, I’ve started to revive the old uniform of the homemaker: the house dress.

I’ve always loved vintage fashion and the aesthetics of vintage homemakers. While I don’t have the frame to wear vintage fashion anymore, I do still try to embody the spirit of it by wearing skirts and dresses most days.

And to be honest, it’s nice to look nice while doing chores. It makes everything feel more purposeful, and it makes me feel more energetic.

A housewife doing her laundry in a house dress

It seems awesome to stay in your pajamas all day when you’re cleaning and taking care of the kids, but I’ve learned through experience that it’s really just draining. The clothes you wear change your mood. Pajamas just leave me feeling tired and lazy, because I want to spend all day in bed.

When I shower, dress, and do my hair every morning, I get more done. That’s because doing those things is an easy accomplishment to start off the day, which creates momentum for the rest of the day. Now that I’m getting dressed in a nice skirt or dress every morning, I’m getting more done earlier so that I have time to relax when my husband gets home from work.

And it’s soooo nice to relax with him instead of having to finish my daily chores!

Historically, the house dress was a simple, solid color dress worn while cooking or doing chores. It was made of washable fabrics because it was assumed they would get dirty while you were cleaning, and they were meant to be practical rather than beautiful.

The big benefit of wearing a skirt or dress is that they allow for just as wide a range of motion as leggings! Can you tell that I really don’t like wearing jeans?

Most of the skirts and dresses I wear around the home were bought at the thrift store. That means that my daily fashion is frugal, too. And sure, you can buy leggings at the thrift store, but with the way their crotches wear out and their inner thighs get holes, I don’t think that’s a great use of my money.

The ideal house dress is light and breathable, because even in winter you’ll probably be breaking a sweat while cleaning.

So what are my big reasons for bringing back the house dress?

House Dresses Are Just As Comfortable As Leggings

Look, I know that dresses have a reputation for being fussy or too much trouble. But are they really that bad? Get a stretchy one that actually fits you, and you’ll be able to move just as freely as you could wearing a t-shirt and leggings, right?

I can lounge on my couch in a sufficiently long dress without worrying about flashing everyone, too. So do you really have a reason to think dresses are too fussy to wear? Or is that just society telling you it’s better to be a tomboy than it is to be feminine?

I Can Leave The House In A House Dress Without Feeling Immodest

Maybe it’s because of my added mom curves (and saggy c-section tummy) but I don’t love wearing body hugging clothes in public anymore. A flowy dress or skirt just gives me more freedom to have these extra pounds without feeling like I might get harassed by fat-shamers. I’m not comfortable showing off my curves like that anymore, and I probably never will be again.

So I like that a dress or skirt leaves more to the imagination.

A housewife showing off her house dress

House Dresses Look Beautiful

There’s a style that will fit your body type, and you will look absolutely incredible in it. Once you find that style, get it in every color and print out there, and you’ll never have to worry about what to wear again.

Do you feel beautiful in your pajama pants and Metallica t-shirt? More power to you, if you do, but I don’t. I like to feel feminine, and wearing a dress or skirt helps me do that.

They Free Your Mind To Worry About Other Things

Because house dresses are beautiful, and because you can’t go wrong wearing whatever one you pull out of the closet in the dark, wearing them frees your mind to be more concerned about your kids, your groceries, and your life. You don’t have to think about what you’re going to wear to grab the kids from daycare or when you go shopping.

I don’t know about you, but I love having one less thing to worry about every day.

House Dresses Are A Better Use Of My Fashion Budget

Like I said above, dresses don’t wear out as quickly as leggings do. Which means they last longer and makes my fashion budget stretch farther.

Plus, because they look so nice, they can also be worn in a wide variety of situations. I don’t need to buy another dress to go to my neighbor’s barbecue. Which means I can reduce my fashion budget and spend that money on things that matter, like retirement and my son’s college savings.

They Make You Feel Like A Real Vintage Homemaker

I’m a big proponent of “fake it until you make it”. And pretending I am a vintage homemaker makes me a lot better at keeping up with my kids and my house.

So, how about you? Will you be adding more dresses to your at-home fashion choices?

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1 thought on “Why I’m Switching From Leggings And Going Retro With The House Dress

  1. I totally agree with your article. I went from frumpy to fabulous, by changing two things, dresses and time in the morning to sort my hair and face, everything runs smoother now from running errands to cleaning and doing laundry etc x I feel great and look well put together – people often treat me better too more respectful x

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