Dressing Up for Date Night? I Say Don’t

J. CrewI believe in getting dressed, every day, and by that I mean putting on an actual outfit, not just swapping the yoga pants you slept in for a slightly cleaner pair of yoga pants. I also believe that Casual Friday will be the downfall of Western civilization and that “dressy shorts” should not be a thing. Getting dressed, in real clothes, isn’t hard, and it will change your whole outlook on life.

But I draw the line at getting dressed up for Date Night

I love Date Night; after 20 years together, I still get a charge out of spending time alone with my husband. I look forward to the evenings when we leave the kids with some other responsible adult and have a few hours for just the two of us. In fact, I would go so far as to say that Date Night is frequently the highlight of my week.

And yet, I will not get dressed up for it.

It hasn’t always been this way. When my kids were very small, my husband and I would have elaborate dates where we both put on our best duds and went to a fancy restaurant for dinner. I’ll be honest with you, though: I never loved those dates. There was too much pressure. The meal cost a fortune, my shoes always hurt, and I felt guilty when we talked about the kids. By the time we got home, I was exhausted and even more stressed than when we left the house. There was nothing relaxing — or fun or sexy — about those date nights.

These days, our dates are more casual — we’ll go for sushi or pizza or just get takeout from a place the kids don’t like — and substantially more fun. Our favorite dates are the ones where we stay home and the kids go out, leaving us all alone in our house. (How often do you get to do that after you have a baby? Almost never!) Recently we’ve had a string of really fantastic dates, the kind where we have talked about huge important issues and laughed at stuff we could never share with the kids. These dates feel like the dates we used to have, before we were married. They feel like the way our life used to be before we had kids. I don’t miss those days, but I like to revisit them.

The takeaway is this: Once we got rid of the pressure of making every single date a Super Special Event, Date Night actually became something special. Ironic, isn’t it?

When I say that I won’t get dressed up for Date Night, I don’t mean that I schlep off to dinner with my husband in my workout clothes. I will wear a cute dress or a pair of skinny pants and a fun top. And yes, I will put on some sexy underwear, because the whole point of date night is to wind up not wearing whatever cute outfit I’ve picked out. You know I’m right.

If Date Night is a break from the stress of being parents — and a return to being a couple — then take some of the stress off by giving yourself permission to go casual. Start with those pieces in your closet that you’re saving for some other day, for something — or someone — more special. And then make an effort to work them into your everyday wardrobe, because there’s no point in waiting for Date Night to look fantastic.

(While you’re at it, start wearing the sexy underwear during the week, too. Why not!)

Your turn: Do you dress up for Date Night? Or are you already getting dressed every day?

Photo via J. Crew

Get Dressed with Susan Wagner

Find more pragmatic style advice at The Working Closet.
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