The lies we’ve been fed about day to night dressing
I once saw a tweet from a woman saying that magazines had led her to believe that “day to night” dressing would a much bigger part of her life than it actually is. And it really spoke to me, as I imagine it did for many women based on its nearly 15,000 retweets and over 70,000 likes. It was Margaret Lyons who said it, and while I certainly agree with it, it does make me a little sad.
A quick Google search of “day to night dressing” yields 255,000,000 results, which is a number I cannot even say out loud. All the fashion mags have covered the topic; Goop have an informational piece on the subject where you can buy their own G.Label products as solutions; Bustle offer up 8 “style hacks” to help you out (change your shoes! fresh make up!); it is such a problem that even Forbes have stepped in to offer their sartorial advice.
This is of course a problem limited to women. Obviously anything a woman deems acceptable to wear to her job and/or office is not good enough for literally any other type of occasion. And even though I know you don’t have to push very hard at the subject to find the misogynist leanings and problems created by the patriarchy, I am still a little sad that my life does not necessitate a vast day to night wardrobe.
I remember flipping through my Mom’s fashion mags as a kid and teen and really thinking that this what grown up life was about. A job doing something at a desk, a few quick changes, and then I’d be off to what ever glamorous event I had later that evening, midweek, on a school night.
I don’t know where I thought these quick changes would be happening. A shoe swap and extra licks of mascara at my desk? A subtle shift in the work bathroom? The back of a taxi? A phone booth? Would I just put my arms out and spin? I never really got that far in my planning but I’m sure I figured that I would find a solution when the problem (inevitably and glamorously) arose.
So ingrained is the concept for me that I still carry around a whole makeup bag in my purse with enough products to do exactly the kind of desk transformation I had envisioned as a child. I have only very recently begun to substantially pare this assortment down. I no longer carry around enough for any eventuality, really just some lip balm, hand cream and powder. Alright, alright, and a concealer from Hourglass specifically designed to be used for touch ups. Because I cling to the belief that you never what know what the day will bring (even though I currently work from home and pretty much know that my day will only bring me to the store so I can get groceries for dinner). You can pry it from my cold dead hands, and also borrow it to touch up your face on the way to the funeral, I won’t be “possibly needing it someday” anymore.
I mean yes, there have been days where I have needed to be ready to go somewhere after being at work. And yes, I would bring a different pair of shoes to change into. Sometimes I wore them. Mostly by the time I actually got to the end of my work day the last thing I wanted was to change into different, even more uncomfortable shoes, so I wore exactly what I’d worn the whole day. No one even noticed or cared: it’s a cruel world out there.
The truth that would be heartbreaking to the me of 22 years ago is that day to night dressing is a complete and utter bitch! It is not glamourous. It is so much to carry. And then what to do with all the stuff you had on originally. Sometimes you can’t just leave it behind, which puts you in the position of having a great outfit on, with killer shoes, a “nighttime” face, a cute clutch and a giant fucking tote bag with all the cast offs. A bag so big it completely destroys the whole look of the outfit.
The only solution I have found to this problem is to start going out with a DJ. Most of the time you will be going out somewhere with them, and then you can just stash your stuff behind the booth. I mean I realise that this might not be workable for everyone, but like I said, after years of experimenting, this is easily the best way I have found to make it work.
But fashion magazines (and apparently Forbes) are sneaky things. Even though I know the all too harsh realities of day to night dressing, it is still always there, in the back of my mind. As I try on another LBD or pair of long wide legged trousers, “this would be perfect if I had somewhere I needed to be after work, add some red lips, and a heel… ready to go,” I say as I do a little twirl in the fitting room mirror.
I mean, since I already have the concealer I might as well be really ready!