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Dressing during a Pandemic… We welcome back the “House Dress”

The Coronavirus has changed so much of what we do in our everyday lives including what we choose to put on in the morning. Some of us (ahem) have definitely been going right from bed to work, I mean if you don’t have a scheduled Zoom meeting, you can whack out quite a bit of work in the comfort of your PJs all before noon!  

Pj’s just might be the new work uniform, that is unless you’ve found your new favorite “House Dress”!

Perhaps the idea of wondering what to wear during lock down or in a work-from-home situation seems trivial with so much going on in the world right now. But consider this: Americans are the most unhappy they have been in the last 50 years. With this in mind, would it hurt to find something to wear that feels like a hug served with a side of joy?!

Well, we’ve been on a search for comfort and joy since the first mention of our new stay-at-home society, and we’ve found plenty of coping mechanisms for pandemic survival. From exploring food, like baking bread and perfecting Dalgona Coffee, connecting via social media, participating in a “virtual” anything, Tik-Tok’ing, fostering animals, and even some vintage tie-dying. Speaking of vintage, how about that Cinderella of clothing choices? Which one you ask? The #housedress of course and it’s making a comeback as we all tire of yoga pants and sweats.

Back in the 50s when this type of garment was popular, the house dress was made to be stylish, feminine and utilitarian. Fitted in the bodice with full skirts, one pattern specified at least 5 yards of fabric for the skirt with the final silhouette mimicking the shape of a corset.  

Full skirts were a classic silhouette around the home in the 1950s. Image:

This pattern defines the practical (but great looking!) dress which includes the all important pockets which were an important detail. Image:
The house dress went from chores to errands with ease!

House dresses were a homemaker’s uniform, worn all day while women chipped away at daily chores and cared for their families. Then, it could be dressed up with a cardigan, pearls and pumps for errands, with the added bonus of looking spectacular when hubby came home from work. In the kitchen, they were covered by an apron to keep them clean and the fabrics were always easy-care, ensuring they looked great after laundering and a quick iron.  

The house dress as a fashion symbol is explored in-depth as a uniform for housewives during the 20s through the 70s and as costume in the movies. By Elda Danese, 152 pages.

Re-born in this quarantine era, the modern house dress embraces all of its predecessors’ qualities… easy to care for, stylish and comfortable. In fact we think this year’s viral nightgown trend overlaps with the #housedress trend and could quite easily be the same fashion piece! A style that embraces comfort and looks oh-so-fab no matter what you are doing? That is definitely a win-win in our book! So move over sweatpants, hoodies and yoga wear… the house dress is back and we’re loving it! See you in the next blog!

Up your game when it comes to casual dressing, find your new favorite and modern house dress! From left to right: Madewell, Midi Tee Dress, cotton-poly, $24.00. Poetry, Printed Linen Cotton Collared Dress, $119. Madewell, Linen Blend Dolman Sleeve Tie Waist Midi Dress, $118. Shein, Pocket Front High Waist Dress, Cotton, $24. Eileen Fisher, High Low Organic Cotton Shirt Dress, cotton, $148

Deb Fries is a freelance designer and writer and worked at Julianna Rae in graphics and customer service.  She now writes lifestyle pieces for the blog after a good night’s sleep in the perfect nightgown-turned-house dress, the Paradise Found Silk Slip Nightgown in Paisley.