Puttin’ On The Ritz (I Mean The Sweatpants)

posted in: Day In The Life 14
I haven't gone for pastel flannel pajamas ... yet. Photo: Erich Ferdinand via Wikipedia.
I haven’t gone for pastel flannel pajamas … yet. Photo: Erich Ferdinand via Wikipedia.


I’m not sure when it happened, but at some point I became the kind of person who comes home from a long day and immediately changes into “comfy clothes.”

My comfy clothes are basically a pair of either tattered navy blue or black sweatpants and a former boyfriend’s white Oxford shirt, which is missing 2.5 buttons and no longer smells like his cologne, which is either good or bad, depending on the day I’ve had. I also have in my Comfy Armoire a sweater that is so ragged and busted, it is literally no longer a sweater. It is some sort of knitted object with sleeves.

No, I won’t win any fashion awards in my comfy getup, but that’s the point. It’s not about impressing anyone. In fact, it’s the privacy that feels so good, the “I don’t care and I don’t have to” thing. This transition — changing from whatever I was wearing “out there” into something more comfortable as I look ahead to an evening full of homework, YouTube, the ol’ PG, and various other tasks — has become one of the most glorious moments of my day.

I was trying to think why the “let me slip into something more comfortable” thing feels so new to me, because it does. It’s grad school.

Because I’ve been working for myself since 2005 as a writer, performer, and quilt person, and while a lot of my work is in front of (a lot of) people, a good deal of my work is done on my own, in my house. I have worked in offices, but not a lot of offices and not for long periods of time. I don’t do well in captivity.

But going to school is like going to work and I like to look presentable, you know? Actually, I like to look better than presentable, since it is my belief that wearing a smart outfit with polished-up shoes will carry a gal through any challenge (or victory!) the day may throw her way. The clothes make the woman, that’s what I say. (The other reason I like to dress up when I go out for the day, which might sound funny, is that putting thought into what I wear “out there” shows respect to the city I love so much. I like to meet Chicago looking my best. Is that cray-cray?)

All this is well and good, but these days, by the time I get home it’s like, “I need to take off these pumps and hang up these trousers now. No, now.”

I fling everything off and change into my lounge getup. I get out my laptop. I grab the chips and the salsa. I collapse on the couch. In my fantasy, of course, little Philip Larkin jumps up into my lap. (I’ll have an update on Philip soon, by the way.) And there, home at last, I can relax and unwind and drip salsa on my shirt.

Which I assure you will happen again. Because it happened just now.

14 Responses

  1. Melody A.
    | Reply

    You are so right, sometimes it really is getting into my pajamas as I live alone now and have adjusted to the idea I can do whatever I want!! LOL take care from Iowa

  2. Kerry
    | Reply

    My husband calls me Cinderella. No 1950s pristine greet at the door housewife me! If I go in the garden I snag something on the roses – if the door handles don’t catch my skirt pockets first. If I’m cleaning – darn that bleach! When I’m cooking – pasta sauce, oil or anything that never washes out no matter what the detergent product says on the label always splashes over me no matter how hard I try not to. An apron just lets grease sink through unless you have a plastic one – and ye gods that gets hot – gas cooker! So I have formerly nice clothes being worn to dust, because nice clothes just don’t last 5 minutes on me. My really nice clothes are in the wardrobe never to be touched unless we go out (walking in the countryside = not so nice clothes because brambles and barbed wire have the same effect as roses) and then I’ll probably wear my food. Clothes then relegated to comfy whatever part of the Cinderella wardrobe. So ultra posh clothes are still ultra posh and untouched by me – the moths may have other ideas.

    • Kathy Hellesen
      | Reply

      Oh, gosh, this sounds like me. Catching my clothes on door handles and plants, especially, but also spilling coffee, pasta sauce, olive oil, salad dressing, etc. I stopped wearing light-colored clothes to work, too. Love my jeans and comfy tees.

  3. Susan
    | Reply

    I made a rule for myself that I will never knowingly leave the house in clothing that has food on it. I believe this has contributed to maintaining a sort of status when I go out in the world. I admit, it’s a modest goal, but achievable goals, now, there’s the ticket.

  4. Megan Guthrie
    | Reply

    You are not alone. I wear a uniform for work and have nice clothes for how the world sees me out of work but the moment I’m home the comfy , soft well worn clothes go on. I create best when I’m comfortable.

  5. Helen Dollar
    | Reply

    I have more pj’s than clothes. With winter coming on I will just have pj days. Nothing like it.

    • Linda
      | Reply

      Oh, Helen, I’m with you on that one. Spending the entire day in jammies during a cold winter day, with thick, warm socks…..Oh how I love those days!

  6. Jody
    | Reply

    I so related to this post! I get to wear jeans to work but like you still want to seem put together, so it’s a nice sweater, blouse etc. BUT as soon as I get home it all goes off and I’m into either my pastel 🙂 pj’s or like you my COMFY clothes. In fact I rather like the colder months the best for this….in the summer I still change but into something that I can actually wear outside….so not as relaxing.

  7. Linda Duff
    | Reply

    First to come off when I get home is any jewelry I may have worn that day…including the wedding rings. (I hate wearing them around the house if/when I decide it’s cleaning or laundry, etc). Then the clothes go, including that blasted bra. (I don’t care WHAT Warner’s says about it, it IS a bra!) Then it’s the comfy clothes .. big baggy t-shirt & probably a pair of knit capris. Sandals, maybe shoes with short athletic socks, or barefoot (though the flat feet and plantar fasciitis don’t care for much of that, the bunion from Grandma sure does!). HEAVEN! Just thinking about it makes me smile. Only several more hours to go!

    • Barbara
      | Reply

      Hi Linda,
      My rings and bra come off also. If it’s chilly, I put on a nice, soft, lightweight, camisole under my shirt. Soooo compfy!!

  8. Barbara
    | Reply

    As soon as I come home from where, I put on my “house clothes, ahhhh!! The shoes are kicked off in the mudroom, they don’t even make it into the meat of the house. (I really don’t even eat meat), but aside from that, I’m at my most comfy.
    Looking forward to hearing about Phillip Larkin, wuf, wuf!

  9. Elaine
    | Reply

    Some of my comfy clothes are so worn there are almost more holes than material. Some is 20/30/40 years old. Being home more than out, I am really enjoying my comfy clothes- winter- sweats, t-shirt, flannel shirt, socks, & Birkenstock sandals. Do I really need to leave the house- I hope not too much!!!!!!

  10. […] A few days ago, I talked about how I have what could be called “home clothes.” […]

  11. Gayle
    | Reply

    When I get home from work the shoes are the first to go.
    Then off come the “work clothes”and on come the “happy pants (aka: elastic waist.”)

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