Friday, August 04, 2006

The Home Keeper's Clothing

I not only am a keeper at home, but my professional endeavors are home-based as well. Like many women of today, I have a variable schedule. I might be cleaning a toilet one moment and running out to a meeting the next.
It never fails. The one morning that I dive into my projects without taking time to present myself well, that's the day that someone drops by uninvited. Or, my husband calls and says, "Would you like to go to lunch?"
In almost everything I've read about keeping a home or operating a home based business, the author counsels wearing clothing that inspires you to a professional attitude. The truth is, there is something energizing about knowing that you are groomed in an orderly way. Knowing that we are dressed in neat, fresh, feminine, and suitable attire does a lot to boost our spirits and efficiency.
We probably all have different ideas of what is appropriate and feminine attire for the homemaker to wear. And, we express ourselves in different styles. Some love lace; other women wouldn't be caught dead in it.
Thus, I can't dictate what you should wear for your endeavors at home. But, I do have a few suggestions:
A. Learn to love aprons. In addition to a kitchen apron, you will need some sort of smock or apron to protect your clothing when you are performing heavier tasks. It's good to own two or three aprons and a gardening smock. Wear these over clothing that you find to be attractive, neat, feminine, and comfortable. Then, when you need to slip out to the store, you can slip off the protective covering, freshen your hair and face, and be ready to go in five minutes.
B. Consider turning an crisp, but inexpensive lab coat into a protective covering for your at home work. You can embroider it and embellish it however you want. It will serve the same purpose as an apron, but it will provide even more protection to the clothing that you wear underneath.
C. Wear gloves to protect your hands when you stick them into dirt or water.
D. Consider your options for footwear. Experiment to see which works best for you: sturdy but attractive lace up shoes, lovely house slippers, pretty flats, etc. Each morning, you may want to put on one pair of shoes that will take you through the whole day. That's fine. However, your floors and carpets will stay cleaner if you devote one pair of shoes for the house only. If you are otherwise dressed, it doesn't take long to slip into another pair of shoes for activities outside of the home. (Think of how the Japanese always slip into house shoes when they come home or even when they go to someone else's house.). If you do devote a pair of shoes to indoors only, keep a pair of clogs or athletic shoes by the door. You can slip them on when you run out to the garden or to water outside plants or to take something to the trash.
E. If you are interested in wearing today's equivalent of the old-fashioned house-dress, it can be done. Some women lament the demise of the house dress. But, if you are so inclined, you can search out dresses and skirts that are attractive and fresh-looking and that allow for the freedom of movement that house dresses do. You can also find patterns on the Internet that are inspired by house dresses from that from the 1920's to the 1950's. If you know how to sew, you can up-date these to look modern without losing their fresh appeal.
E. Even if you wear pants or jeans, you will feel better if they are clean, neatly pressed, feminine in cut, and paired with an attractive blouse and accessories.



plainandsimple said...

Hi Elizabeth

What a great post! Sensible and practical advice indeed! I *love* aprons and make vintage ones to wear in the house (so pretty) yet I am absolutely useless at wearing protective gloves - and my hands are getting dry! Thank you for visiting my blog!

Amy said...

Great tips Elizabeth. I'm trying to find some more aprons so I don't have to worry about spoiling my clothing while I'm working around the house. Thanks very much for visiting my blog :)

Patty said...

Very good post, i enjoyed reading it and had some good advice