Will someone please bring back the housedress?

...and make it cool?

Do you remember housedresses? I barely do. My mother never wore one that’s for sure, but my grandmother did. I remember seeing them in the Sears catalogue as well and wondering what they were for, this was before I saw my grandmother wearing one in the mornings.

For everyone who has no idea what I’m talking about, they were like a wrap around dress. You stuck your arms in the sleeves and this little string went through a hole and wrapped around and tied together in the back. It looked like a dress, but wore like a robe. You wouldn’t leave the house to go to the store in one, but you weren’t totally embarrassed if the UPS man came to the door and you were still wearing nothing but a bathrobe, or pajamas, or even an African style sarong just sort of randomly tucked around yourself like a towel, hypothetically speaking of course.

It was kind of like the work outfit for a housewife.

I have never been a flybaby, but every so often I have read the FlyLady’s website and borrowed some ideas. One that made a lot of sense to me was when she tells you to get up, shower, and get dressed for the day, like it’s your job, and then you’re ready for everything. It makes sense because I am more likely to be productive and organized if I’m not still in a robe, and I feel better. Of course, I only wear flip-flops or slip-ons so I scoff at the directive to put on your shoes as well.

The problem I found with implementing this plan was threefold. First I have small children. They don’t like waiting for me to shower and get dressed before I feed them and attend to their various needs. They’re even less happy with this plan as infants. Second, I don’t like to get dressed before I shower; it feels gross and I don’t like to shower before I get a workout, because walking around sweaty all day feels gross too. Third, much of the work of keeping a house running is hard on clothes, I’ve ruined many comfy pairs of yoga pants with an accidental splash of bleach cleaner or peroxide or some other cleaner I’m using, and I get sweaty and dirty picking things up and vacuuming and scrubbing and cooking and… you get my drift. Many jobs require work clothes. With the aforementioned small children, one of whom needs to start his school work at 9 or he gets very distracted and slow and doesn’t learn nearly as well if we push the time back, my workout doesn’t usually happen in the morning as I would like it to. So what often happens, and has happened all week with the sick children I have around me, is that I get up, put on a robe, and go to work for my family, making breakfast, wiping bums, cleaning up puke, teaching school, wiping the sinks out, vacuuming the floor, reading books, etc. And 11:00 rolls around and I am still in my robe, and badly need a shower, and to walk on my treadmill, and to make lunch and unload the dishwasher, and I feel miserable. My friend told me that in India the women wear a work sari in the morning and then when they’ve finished all of the cooking and cleaning they go for a walk and then take a bath and change into a fresh sari for the evening. This sounds good to me, practical.

So my solution is to bring back the housedress. I could wake up in the morning and put that on, with a bra even, and go about my day not feeling like a total and complete slob.

So how about it? Is anyone out there a fabulous designer who could make something like a housedress cool to wear, and yet still practical and affordable, with out those big floppy sleeves that get in the way? I’ll buy one from you, promise.


  1. I love this idea. If you find someone to make on let me know because I would buy one also.

  2. When my twins were born I got into a similar rut where I would not shower or get dressed until after lunch, and I hate it! I wanted to get out of the house every day and not getting ready to go until 2pm sucked.

    So, I just got up before them. If I wanted to work out, I did it in the morning then showered and I was done.

    Now I workout at night, sometimes I will jump in the shower for a rinse after the workout, sometimes I don't. I spent a lot of time backpacking so the kind of sweaty I feel after a workout doesn't feel all that dirty to me!

  3. I still get the Flylady emails because I haven't figured out how to unsubscribe. I like a lot of her ideas, but the shoe thing just doesn't work for me - it's partly the Canadian culture of taking your shoes off at the door, I think. Wearing shoes inside the house just feels wrong.

  4. I love this idea. If you find someone to make on let me know because I would buy one also.


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