What I want to wear but Life is messy

I’m loving lighter colors lately but my life consists of living in a very casual town, gardening, hiking and working at home. Here’s a fantasy outfit that I could wear on a night out but I would still be the most dressed up person in the room. I need to work on my casual at home outfits but at heart I crave dressy casual.  

What about you? Do you dress up more even if everyone around you is extremely casual? 

This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.


  • Janet replied 2 years ago

    Great outfit! Yes, I tend to be among the dressier people in the room — I’ve always been that way, even as a high school and college student. I feel very uncomfortable if I’m underdressed but have rarely felt bad if I’m overdressed.

  • Angie replied 2 years ago

    KILLER look. Beautiful palette with your hair! 

    WEAR THE OUTFIT!! If not now - when? Your style - your rules. Your authenticity, Lana :)

  • kellygirl replied 2 years ago

    Yes. Despite being super casual already - I'm usually always one of the most dressed up. I think a lot of that is how I was raised though and expectations of how one should look in public. I enjoy it though. It's hard to be overdressed where I live-- relative to my lifestyle though.Agreeing that you should just wear what you like!

  • Joy replied 2 years ago

    What Angie said.  Wear the outfit now while you can.

  • cat2 replied 2 years ago

    Cute outfit! Can you get out a bit more? Brunch in a dressier town or a fun dinner? From our cabin in the middle of nowhere, we “go to town” in a couple of small cities.

  • Lesley replied 2 years ago

    White jeans are the epitome of my "what I want to wear but life is messy"! It's really one thing in particular: dogs.

  • CarolS replied 2 years ago

    You look fabulous and what's the downside of being the most well put together person in the room? Maybe you'll inspire others to up their game... ;-) The less bold might be yearning for permission to take that first step.

    I get that you also want to feel comfortable in your surroundings, but I think you should be free to enjoy your wardrobe and look as good as you want to look.

  • chewyspaghetti replied 2 years ago

    Yes! Wear it!!
    I spent years being the most "dressed up" one in the room, and I never regretted it.

  • replied 2 years ago

    I just can't resist the urge to feel at least a little dressed up if I'm going out.  But it's funny sometimes what people consider "dressed up."  I've been in groups where simply ironing your clothes is considered dressy! I think at the end of the day you just have to please yourself and feel good about what you're wearing.  

  • SW Ann replied 2 years ago

    Yep...I am almost always the most "dressed up" anywhere I go.  Appropriate, but more dressy than most.  I tried to change to more casual when I moved from a midwestern  city to Arizona, but I never felt good. Authenticity wins. Now that I've lived here 20+ years, people accept that this is how I look and dress. 

  • slim cat replied 2 years ago

    It's all gorgeous on you - wear and enjoy it!
    I wish I could do dressier outfits when off work - but so far just casual and super casual ;) .

  • Aquamarine replied 2 years ago

    I love your fantasy outfit! I’m with you…casual life, casual town, work from home…but opportunities to “dress up” (lol, put on real pants) are coming up and the warmer weather presents more opportunities to be out and about and wear those clothes, regardless of what others wear. 

  • Lana replied 2 years ago

    Thanks Janet, Joy, Angie, Cat, Carol, Chewy, Slimcat, Ann, Aquamarine and Kelly, I agree with you, underdressed is much worse to me. I will definitely wear this, I just need to create some opportunities. Sunday Brunch is a brilliant idea.

    Lesley, yes dogs! We have one of our own and I forgot to mention we dog-sit through Rover.com, so lots of dirty paws and I love it.

    Xtabay, I’m in a art journaling group and most people wear workout wear. I dress casually but not in sweats.

  • Janet replied 2 years ago

    LOL yes, dogs are a big factor for me too! It was one thing when we had two little pugs, but our big retired rambunctious ranch dogs are a whole other story.

  • Mirjana replied 2 years ago

    Lana, you look wonderful, love your light blue jacket. I'm with Angie, wear it for sure. I like dressier outfits and wear them, don't care, it's my style. Wear and enjoy.

  • Cardiff girl replied 2 years ago

    Yes ,l agree,just wear it.It’s nit as if you are wearing high heels and a ball gown.If this is how you want to dress go for it!

  • Stagiaire Fash replied 2 years ago

    I wear what I want, which is often a skirt or dress, which people often find dressy. Shrug. If they can’t cope with that, they aren’t for me.

    You look great!

  • Peri replied 2 years ago

    Love it! See, I'd be all over that blouse...one of the soft florals of which I've put myself on a no-buy for now...but you've added just the hint-of-edge I want with that jacket. (Except I'm hot natured and for me the season for jackets has already passed!). But, this is why I love your style.

  • Style Fan replied 2 years ago

    You look fabulous in your outfit.  I stay away from white jeans because dirt seems to find me the minute I put them on.  Also, I have a dog.
    I live in a tourist destination.  People wear very casual clothing, designer outfits and everything in between.  I am usually on the simple end of dressy.

  • Lana replied 2 years ago

    Peri that jacket is a lightweight linen. I live in North Carolina and it gets so hot here but I plan to wear it as much as I can even if it’s inside with air conditioning.

    SF I am the same, it never fails I am wearing white when eating spaghetti with red sauce or BBQ.

  • DonnaF replied 2 years ago

    I probably dress up more than most people, but that's because the U.S. has gone so uber casual and not that I've changed so much. Based on feedback I've received (from strangers no less!), I think others appreciate it when one has made an effort. For example, yesterday I was about to meet with a church friend at a coffee shop. A few months ago folks here mentioned they would wear a blazer with jeans to meet a friend for coffee. I subsequently bought my first blazer in decades -- for my aspirational life. I think I wore it twice, but then thought I better wear it to meet with that friend. Got a shout out complimenting my look from a young woman waiting in line at the UPS store next door. I had to mention to my friend that I wore my sparkly combat boots (below) so as not to be mistaken for one of our Worship Associates who stand in front of the congregation to give a reflection or reading. Combat boots would be plainer for that.

    I think making an effort shows respect for whomever one deals with. But I don't include within *dressing up* looking like one is going clubbing -- simply because I don't do that and I never did that so that was never what I owned.

    Umm, but what I wear to work skews a bit casual. I have never worked in Big Law, not a litigator so never appear in court, so could always dress a half step or full step below Business Formal. The world has gone more casual since then and so have I. What are they going to do to me? Fire me? Nope.

  • merwoman replied 2 years ago

    Lana this outfit looks so good on you, go for it! And maybe the white jeans feel dressier because you’re not used to wearing them…but they’re just jeans that happen to be white.
    Stains…I am the messiest spilliest person around. I don’t think I’ve had any stains that weren’t removed by pre treating with either New Dawn dish soap or an oxycleaner stick. Go for it!

  • Jenn replied 2 years ago

    It would be hard to overstate how casual my neighborhood in LA is. If you're not wearing leggings or sweatpants, you're likely the most dressed-up person in the vicinity. It's funny, though, because as far as environmental norms go, the kind of dressed-up matters. A tulle skirt and a sparkly top would look much less out-of-place here than dark wash jeans and a blazer.

  • Beth Ann replied 2 years ago

    Oooh.....love the mix of textures, the balance of flowy fabrics and structure in the jacket.  The colors are soft and springlike, but really grownup. When I dress like this on a day I'm not working, it usually means I'm wearing the outfit for only part of a day, changing into gardening or workout clothes after coming back from looking fabulous at the post office and Home Depot.

    (And I have the same bootcuts in blue denim LOVE them)

  • Jaime replied 2 years ago

    Gorgeous outfit! And to your question - yes. I live in an extremely casual atmosphere and wear what I want, which is casual but more dressy than many people around me (there is actually a lot of variety in dressing styles around me, which makes it easier).

  • Brooklyn replied 2 years ago

    Spectacular! You should wear that outfit ASAP.

    I guess I am more dressed up than my environmental norm for everyday wear. But as long as I am wearing something practical for the activity and conditions (walking, sun, dogs etc) I’m ok with it.

  • Suz replied 2 years ago

    That's a fab outfit and you look great! Wear it, regardless, I say. the great thing about denim is it goes in the wash. I wear white denim in summer despite my casual lifestyle -- and if things get really bad, it gets a bit of bleach. 

    My preference is dressier than  my lifestyle permits, for sure. But I'm all for looking for creative ways to subvert the environmental norm without becoming impractical or precious. 

  • rachylou replied 2 years ago

    Very pretty!

    I dress up more than anyone around me for ‘occasions’ - like community theatre and family dinners. But those occasions are pretty rare these days and I don’t dress up for oh say, brunch with my best friend. Which is not to say I show up in leggings, but I don’t, oh, break out the cute shoes much. Not even ballet flats. Everywhere is a hike! Haven’t sashayed around an office skyscraper in years, which in my opinion is the easiest place to wear cute shoes.

  • Stagiaire Fash replied 2 years ago

    Rachylou, speak for yourself ;) My cutest shoes (I think) are Oxford style & ankle boots. The former work in offices, I guess, but the latter are harder to wear there. Or maybe I don’t understand from “cute”. Very possible!

  • Bijou replied 2 years ago

    Beautiful outfit.

    To answer your question, the answer is yes. This has been the case from when I was very young, I can remember at age 5 I wanted to wear a long dress to a family BBQ and Mum let me even though my sisters wore jeans.

  • kkards replied 2 years ago

     the best thing I like about white jeans is how easy they are to clean, a little spot cleaner, throw into the washer and your good to go.  

    I’ve reached the stage where i’m generally dressier than those I work with, but less dressy than my mom…..ie I’m trying to straddle the norms of what I grew up with and the current environment that I live and work in.   In the end, I wear what makes me comfortable and to read the room, and find something that makes me shine but not stand out. 

  • Zaeobi replied 2 years ago

    I don't *try* to be too dressy, but my first memory of inadvertently being so was on the way back from an 'adventure' school trip (mountain climbing etc); a classmate wanted to know how I'd managed to look so 'smart' when everyone else was exhausted, in their post-adventure-stained clothes.

    I remember feeling *so* confused, because I was just wearing cargo pants & a ribbed jumper - but I guess the polo collar & deep plum colour were enough to *seem* like I had my life together (despite also being *firmly* in the 'exhausted, post-adventure' camp). Fake it till you make it, I guess? ;) lol!

  • Zaeobi replied 2 years ago

    A follow-up question, but I suppose my Deep Autumn colouring might mean many clothes automatically look more moody or dramatic just because of the dark colouring (which I think many interpret as a 'mature' look, even if subconsciously)...

    My question is, those of you from lighter seasonal subtypes (like @Lana & @Bijou), do you find that your proclivity for pastels &/ or paler colours lends a certain vibe to your clothes that might be influencing people's perceptions that you're more 'dressed up' than you actually are? (i.e. white jeans with a lilac jumper probably reads differently to a black t-shirt & dark wash jeans)

  • Jonesy replied 2 years ago

    Yes, I am often a bit more dressed up than others (I am sensing a trend here in this thread with YLFers :), but once you start doing it regularly, you kind of forget about it and no one comments, at least in my experience. Wear that beautiful spring outfit--Sunday brunch sounds perfect!

  • BlueJay replied 2 years ago

    Gorgeous outfit! Looks great on you! I love light blue with white. Sunday brunch outfit! 

    Yes, I am usually dressed up more than most. One lady did say when she moved from one dept. to ours that she was going to have to "up her clothing game" because of me, but she says it gives her a reason to wear dresses and more business casual clothes (rather than jeans as we are a very casual office). Actually, I just got off a zoom call (which we rarely have) and I am wearing a bright pink moto and blush scarf with bright pink, red and olive (I'm going to post the outfit soon). Everyone else was wearing very muted colours and t-shirts. Even on zoom I am "overdressed." Oh well! Even now that we've been WFH for 2+ years, co-workers envision me in floral pencil skirts! It couldn't be further from the reality if I am not going out. I do like to make an effort. :)

  • BlueJay replied 2 years ago

    Also, laughing at Zaeobi's hiking story! haha!

  • unfrumped replied 2 years ago

    Super outfit!

    It’s harder now to say whether I’m more dressed up because I still am only meeting up with people in a couple of situations. I was never “ dressy “ per se but did/do make an effort with my better casual items and with coordination.

    I think that can be a guiding fact for me- that for going out of the home, it’s not just how “ casual “, but I love more attention to color coordination, proportions, and really need to watch fits ( casual should refer to the type of garment or fabric, but not mean sloppy.

    At home for chores or reading, computer work, I just am more comfortable AND more productive in very comfy clothes and shoes. A few of my items cross over, mostly tops. So I’m learning how to have capsules for this and that and not sweat it.

  • Stagiaire Fash replied 2 years ago

    I agree with Kkards on washing white being easier than other light colors.

    And I’m with unfrumped on being more productive when I work. The whole “enclothed cognition” or whatever they call it—that theory that people work better when they’re in fancy office clothes—does not work for me. Maybe if I was doing simple tasks that didn’t need a lot of thinking, idk.

    Yesterday was warm enough out for bare legs—yay! I tossed on a skirt, then added a blouse that was on my “clirty” rack (clean/dirty—worn but not ready to wash). I sat around for a couple minutes, then realized I was trying to gather steam to go out so “dressed up”. Changed the blouse to a t-shirt (also from the rack) & puffy vest, and off I went!

  • replied 2 years ago

    YLF! Yep, I can't bring myself to dress less than smart casual for any reason- aside from at home or working out.

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