In defence of dressing up

Sophar So Good wearing Cari's Closet

I’ve always had a bit of a penchant for dresses, and for dressing up. Since the age of around 18, a dress has been one of the items of clothing I feel most confident in. I’ve added more and more to my wardrobe, and over the years I’ve known that if I’m feeling unattractive, or if the thing everyone seems to be wearing at the time is far from flattering and far from comfortable on me – like skinny jeans – I can pop on one of my favourite dresses and feel prettier in no time.

However, as I get closer to being a real grown up (lolz), there are far less opportunities to dress up than there were in my formative years. It seems that the weekly dinner party, cocktail night and glamourous ball invites I was expecting are just not forthcoming, and with that, my love of putting on a fantastic dress has been somewhat curtailed.

Winter navy laceSophar So Good Rose Cari's Closet

Because if it’s not for a super fancy event, dressing up gets a bad rap, I think. I often hear women quite fixated on the idea of ‘not being too dressed up’ – and that’s cool, if what they mean is they don’t feel comfortable in a particular style of clothing or whatever else. What is a shame though, is when the reason for ‘not being too dressed up’ is about what other people might think, because at some point, ‘dressing up’ has come to imply that actually, you’ve tried too hard, and you’re totally uncool.

And god forbid we’re not cool, god forbid we admit that yes, we made an effort, god forbid we don’t pretend to be completely and utterly effortless and display just the right amount of nonchalant but put-together perfection. Effortless is a word that bothers me quite a lot in relation to women and fashion, not least because the effortlessness everyone’s so bloody fascinated with seems actually to be rather a lot of effort after all. There are countless blog posts, articles, how-to guides and god knows what else all over the internet on how to look effortless, and I get it, I really do; these effortless babes in the effortless photos always look so damn cool. But I’m afraid I am not one, and I think that’s probably alright as well.

Navy and teal dressSophar So Good defense of dressing up

Which is not at all to say that I don’t like a good old jeans-and-converse situation, or a dressed-down look, or some simple, easy tailoring; those are all great too, and if we’re being honest I think pyjamas might actually be in my top 5 outfits of all time. Fashion for me is about fun, though, and I also love slipping on a dress and sassy shoes – providing I can walk in them and they don’t hurt, because trying to pretend to be super happy when I think my shoes might be slowly destroying my toes is one effort I really can’t get on board with.

I have been made to feel uncomfortable for wearing something very much not effortless in the past though, and while many people might think that sounds ridiculous I bet there are others who remember a time someone said to them ‘Oh, you’ve really dressed up’ or ‘I was going to wear something like that but I didn’t want to be too dressy’ – comments delivered with the purpose of making you feel silly for making an effort. Why, instead of ‘you look amazing!’, do we sometimes end up with words in which the undertones of ‘you look like you have put some effort into getting ready today and therefore you’re trying too hard’ are barely concealed? What is trying too hard anyway? Try hard, try a bit, or try not at all – it makes no difference to me, and we probably do them all depending on what day it is and how we feel.

Sophar So Good dressing upCari's Closet dress Sophar So Good

So I think it’s time we stopped being so bothered about what the ‘right’ level of effort to put into our sartorial choices – and what the right level of effort to let other people know we’ve made – is. Sure, some situations might call for a particular type of outfit, but the desire not to be seen as the girl who tried too hard or wore something that was ‘a bit much’ shouldn’t be part of your choice. How something makes you feel, whether it gives you confidence, whether you feel like you can take on the world in it…those are the things we should be listening to, not how cool or uncool we might look to others. And yes, comfort is important too – but personally I’ve had far more pairs of uncomfortable jeans than I’ve had uncomfortable dresses (such is life, when you have a massive butt and sizeable thighs), so to me a dress will always be a winner in that department.

To conclude this half-rant, half-ramble; dressing up is fun. If you want to wear something special that makes you feel fantastic, just bloody go for it – that thing might be a tee and trainers, it might be a sassy dress and lace up heels, or it might be something else entirely. And okay, I’m not going to go wearing this outfit to work or to Sainsburys, but I feel amazing in it and next time a night out rolls around it’s coming out of the wardrobe. I’m over the suggestion that it’s uncool or try hard if I choose to dress up, because surely if there’s anything that’s cool and effortless, it’s just wearing whatever the hell you want.

Outfit details: Dress – Cari’s Closet* | Shoes – Zara | Bag – New Look

*Denotes an item which has been gifted to me. In this instance, Cari’s Closet were kind enough to send me a dress of my choice; I chose the Rose dress, because…well, look at it! All imagery, words and dressing-up-appreciation are my own.

Winter navy lace dressIn defense of dressing up Sophar So GoodDressing upWinter laceIn defense of dressing up

Photos: Rob Poor

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15 thoughts on “In defence of dressing up”

  1. Say it louder for the people in the back! I too have been made to feel bad in the past for being “too dressed up”, times which I still look back on with a bit of a cringe. Really though I need to change my attitude to it, because like you say, there’s nothing wrong with putting a bit of effort in and really feeling yourself! You look absolutely gorgeous in this dress and you pull it off so well – I’m with you on the shoe front too, forcing a smile when your feet are on fire is paaaaaainful! Fantastic post as always, you look amazing!

    Abbey 🎃

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The lace on your dress is beautiful! And your heels perfect with it. such a well-written post too it’s true, I’ve gotten excited for an event and a chance to get dressed up and then made to feel silly for ‘getting so dressed up’. It’s so much more important to wear what makes us happy and ignore everyone else. And if we want to, take the chance to get dressed up whenever it presents itself! 🙂

    Hope you have had great weekend! 🙂

    Away From The Blue Blog

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yes yes yes I love this post so much Sophie! There’s nothing worse than someone making you feel bad for dressing up and then feeling uncomfortable all night. And I definitely agree about the ‘effortless’ look. Not for me! You look amazing in this dress gal xx

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I totally agree (and this has just made me want to go and get dressed up for any occasion so much haha!) Think I can get away with an extra fancy outfit to work tomorrow? Loving this dress, it’s such a beautiful pairing of colours and looks so lovely on you xx

    Liked by 1 person

  5. YES!! I’ve always been into the 50s look so the things I enjoy wearing are frequently more dressy looking than most others in the room, and it’s taken me to the grand old age of 34 to realise that’s ok actually, and not feel uncomfortable. My ex used to make me feel like I was embarrassing him when I put on heels and a big skirt just to pop out for lunch and I really let that get in my head. My boyfriend now embraces it and encourages me to wear what I want without worrying about what people think! X

    Liked by 1 person

  6. YES YES YES!!!!!! I’d love the chance to dress up more! I’m lucky that I get to go to a lot of quite fancy events with the blog but they tend to be straight after work so I always roll along in my tired old work clothes, maybe I should make more effort to get glammed up in the office before I leave!

    I have a wardrobe full of lovely dresses that never see the light of day – what a waste!

    PS this dress is GORGEOUS!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This dress is stunning! I always go for things that make me feel confident and comfortable. There are too many times I’ve worn things that look nice but make me feel self concious.

    Corinne x

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Girl this set of outfit pictures is gorgeous and the dress is SO beaut on you! I hate that judging tone when people say ‘oh you’ve dressed up today’ especially because I usually dress up on days where I need to make myself feel a bit better! I have no in between either, when I’m at work I’m either in jeans and trainers or a full on dress haha,
    Amy xx

    Liked by 1 person

  9. This dress is STUNNING!! And I absolutely agree – why do people feel the need to belittle rather than uplift?? That’s happened to me WAY too many to count and I’ve had to learn to just wear what I’m comfortable with. I always feel more comfortable when I’m SLIGHTLY over-dressed but that’s just how I am! It doesn’t bother me if someone doesn’t ‘dress up’ because that’s just my definition and perception of getting dressed up. And who the heck am I to set the standards?!


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