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The Art of Dressing Up and Showing Up
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The Art of Dressing Up and Showing Up

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Sometimes slipping on those stilettos, even when we aren’t quite feeling it, can help us move our feet in the right direction.

Growing up, I was always taught that dressing well was a form of good manners. My grandmother, with whom I was very close, passed away last year after a long struggle with Alzheimer’s and a short, but hard-fought battle with COVID-19. She was the epitome of a strong woman. And that was her mantra. As a young teen, she helped her parents raise her siblings on a small farm in North Dakota in the middle of nowhere. When she met my grandfather, she left behind everything she knew to move to New Jersey to settle in and start a life of their own. She raised two daughters, took care of the house and everyone around her — all while creating a successful career for herself at a time when women weren’t typically the breadwinners.

Even if she had on her velour tracksuit jogger for a Sunday of making sauce at home, she always had her hair and makeup done and her jewels on. She was sharp, polished and put together. When life was great, she dressed the part. And when life threw some curve balls, she still pulled herself together. In the end, the worst part of her dementia was seeing the disease take little things that were so important to her, like putting together the perfect outfit for church or Sunday brunch. She never forgot the big things, though. Despite this terrible disease taking her mind and memories at times, she always knew who she loved and that we were there.

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about her and the philosophy of “dressing up and showing up.” Like so many of us, I’ve struggled with getting accustomed to life post-lockdown and the exciting, yet unusual feeling of getting dressed up to go out. Some days I miss the yoga pants and loungewear that got me through last year. As odd as it sounds, while it was stressful and unbelievably challenging, there was something freeing about not feeling as if I had to be “always on my game.”

I have long been the type to dress-up, even when its hard — and often in spite of it. When life throws me some lemons, its my nature to go put myself together with the right outfit. Its often been a way for me to feel in-control, even when things seem out of control.

While fashion should be a fun, creative outlet to express yourself — we shouldn’t feel pressure to have to always “be on” or “put together” — there is something to be said for adopting small habits that can make you feel ready, prepared or simply more organized to get through the day. Whether that is planning your office outfits for the week ahead every Sunday night, putting on some high heels (and lipstick) when you might feel down in the dumps, or treating yourself to a new accessory to brighten your outfit and your day, it’s these little things that sometimes help you tackle the week ahead. While it’s much more important to focus on feeling great on the inside, sometimes a new dress or a fresh pair of shoes can help us feel we can move forward in the right direction, one step at a time.

End of Summer

Must-Haves That I’m Loving Right NowLately, we’ve experienced some crazy, untraditional weather — thunderstorms, hailstorms, tornados. But it’s August and the sun is bound to come out sooner than later! The bad news is we only have a little bit of summer left. The good news is the end of summer sales are in full effect, and we can rock that perfect summer dress we snagged at an amazing value while the temps are still warm (and, hopefully sunny).

Here are some items I am loving right now:

Dress to The Max(i)Maxi Dress With A Lace-Up Back: White House, Black Market at The Quarter at Tropicana Atlantic City — On-Sale $69

August AccessoriesGold accessories for summer are always my favorite, and I love a link chain. This necklace from Seagrass Boutique is fun and sure to add some extra sparkle for the days ahead.

Seagrass Boutique, Ocean City (photo from Instagram)

Perfect Peejays Dressing up to go out is great, but when we do hit those bad weather days in August and early into fall, feeling cozy at home is important, too. I’m loving these pjs from Briana in Central Square in Linwood. ($165, by Generation Love Clothing).

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