Marriage

Getting Dolled Up

Update from 2021: I agree with none of this now. Just wanted to document that. I’m keeping this for posterity sake but Kim of 2010 was an idiot.

Have you ever considered an idea – whether it’s political, religious, or scientific – and actually felt two completely opposite opinions of it at the exact same time? Equally? Like you find yourself arguing both sides of the debate in your head while you spend time thinking about this concept or idea?

I really never had until recently.

I’ve always been able to see both sides of most concepts. But I usually emphatically support ONE side. However, I heard a concept recently that was just thrown into a conversation casually but has stayed on my mind ever since. It was the idea of “Fixing yourself up FOR YOUR HUSBAND.” My first thought about this idea was Eff that. He loves me like I am or he doesn’t love me at all. But then, oddly enough, I immediately considered the effect it would have on my marriage if I did look at my husband as someone I needed to get “Dolled Up” for. I found myself thinking BOTH things simultaneously and believing them both whole-heartedly.

Here’s the thing – I don’t get made up for much. I don’t really like makeup because I don’t really know how to wear it without looking like I’m made up. The most I like to do is the foundation/powder and then maybe some mascara. And I do that so rarely that my makeup goes bad before it ever runs out. On days I “fix” my hair it just means I’ve conditioned it and left it down and curly. Most days I put it back in a bun. And I rarely ever get dressed up for anything. My daughter compliments any woman she knows when she wears a dress or a skirt. She’ll say, “Oh! You look beautiful! My Mommy doesn’t like dresses.” So – when I’m considering “fixing myself up” – I simply mean jeans, a non-stained shirt, hair down and maybe some mascara.

Half of me has no desire to deal with any of that minimal effort. I like my stained t-shirts because I don’t worry about more stains. I like wearing my hair back in a bun because it stays out of my face. I like not wearing makeup because then I’m free to rub my eyes when I like. I LIKE BEING SLOVENLY. It suits my lifestyle.

But then the other half of me thinks about how differently my husband treats me on days I put some effort into my appearance. And wonder how nice that would be if I did that every day? He would never EVER ask me to do something like that, but it’s an interesting concept to considering fixing myself up FOR my husband. I mean, I used to do it when we were dating. Right? Why don’t I do it anymore?

I think there are even some marriage counseling groups in churches that use this principle as a primary part of a relationship. The part of me that believes There are more important facets to my life than how I look wants to punch all of them in the face for encouraging society to continually judge us on our appearance. But then the part of me that simply likes it when my husband thinks I’m pretty says, Yeah…but just putting on clean clothes and wearing earrings isn’t reinforcing any unhealthy societal norms. And then that part always reminds me how much better I feel on the days I do put more attention into my appearance. So maybe part of me would be doing it for my husband to see me in a different light, but another part of me might be just doing it for myself.

I’m not going to start getting my nails done every week, or getting a salon to style my hair. But it is an interesting idea, fixing yourself up for your spouse. It angers the independent side of me but it intrigues the romantic in me. Of course, my husband knows me and would probably just think I’d lost my mind if I started wearing clean clothes every day. But still – even that would be something right?

And in the interest of full-disclosure, this entry may be written in an attempt to make up for the fact that my husband thinks my new shoes may possibly be the ugliest things he’s ever seen.


I’m thinking AWESOMELY UNIQUE over UGLY. What about you?

34 thoughts on “Getting Dolled Up”

  1. Once again, get out of my head!

    It’s crazy how similarly we think about things.

    And I’m sorry, I’m the queen of ugly shoes, and those need to win some sort of prize.

  2. Don’t hate me, but those shoes are hideous. All Toms shoes are. Which is why I don’t own any, despite wanting to support their great charity efforts.

    I fall on both sides of this issue too, but in the end I choose to try to make SOME effort for my husband. I spend my day in pajamas and workout clothes, but before he gets home (usually RIGHT before) I go upstairs and put on jeans and a nice/casual top, I brush my hair, and about half the time I put on a little bit of makeup. It is for him, but it’s for me too. It’s because I love him, and I want him to know that I care very much about him. I want him to feel like I want to make the effort for him, and I do. It helps, and it makes me feel better about ME too.

    In fact, the other day he actually thanked me for making an effort because he said he knows how hard it is to bother with something like that when I have so much to do in a day, but he does notice and does appreciate it… so, yeah!

  3. I love the shoes! But I love Birkies and Crocs so maybe you can’t go by me.

    I never fix myself up anymore. I just don’t have the energy. I think about doing it for my husband. But more than that I wonder if I’d feel better about myself if I made the effort.

  4. Sorry, I have to agree with your husband, those shoes are terrible. I think spending a little time everyday to
    “get dolled up” would be a good thing for both of you.
    I know that when I make the effort to put on a little makeup and wear something other than jeans and a
    tee shirt I feel better about myself, which in turn makes
    me feel better about my husband. I’m not sure I explained that right, but it’s the best I can do on 1/2 cup of coffee.

  5. I totally see where you are coming from. My husband and I work opposite schedules during the week. I am in bed by the time he gets home so he NEVER sees me “dolled up.” On the weekend when we do see each other the last thing I want to do is get “dolled up” when I don’t have to be. This past Saturday rather then put my hair in a pony-tail I did blow it out and give it some curl which is how he does like my hair. He did ask, “what’s the occasion?” I am willing to make an effort once in a while but I am not going to sacrafice my time and my needs to look pretty both Saturday and Sunday. 🙂 No way Jose! It’s hard being a girl!

  6. Ok…didn’t realize people were going to feel the need to tell me they agree with my husband. I like my shoes…don’t pick on them! Please? 🙂

  7. Oh mah damn those SHOES. I love you, girl, but no.

    I think I’m of two minds about the dressing up for your mate thing, too. I usually don’t feel like it though — getting “dressed up” (in my eyes) for work is enough of a hassle. I’m lucky enough that the mister actually doesn’t like when I wear more obvious makeup.

  8. Aww, if you like your shoes, that’s all that matters.

    I was raised by a woman who put too much stock into appearances, so I might have an unhealthy need to, um, never leave the house without some kind of makeup on.

    I put on full makeup on my way to the hospital to have my baby and then did a quick touch up when I was 10 cm. and about to start pushing … because I wanted to look good in the photos afterward.

    I don’t have a point here, except, I think I’m the opposite of you! And, I love to read your thoughts on topics like this. Love your blog, and good luck with the lip gloss ; )

  9. Zoot, I’ve seen pics of you rocking a coach bag…how can that bag, and these shoes, belong in the same house? Don’t doll yourself up for your husband, doll yourself up for your FEET :p

  10. I’m totally on both sides of that issue too. My husband would think the Stepford people had gotten to me if I started looking pretty every day. My feminist side is all “Uh-uh. He loves me for me.” Also sounds way too 1950’s housewife. My girlie side thinks it would be a nice thing to do.

    And sorry, I’m with your husband on the shoes. Tom’s?

  11. I like the idea of dressing up for your husband – but only if they occasionally return the favor and act sweet and romantic! If both spouses did a little bit for the other, relationships would be a lot more enjoyable, don’t you think?

    And, I’m sorry, those shoes are definitely fugly!

  12. I know what you mean – it really upsets me when people insist that a wife always has to look good for her husband, especially when they start doing ridiculous things like blaming the wife for her husband’s affair because the wife “really let herself go”. And I know my husband isn’t that superficial; he isn’t going anywhere if I don’t wear makeup. But on the other hand, I used to make more of an effort to look good when we were dating, and I want him to know that I still think he’s worth making an effort for. Plus, as a previous poster mentioned I do tend to feel better when I’ve made an effort to look nicer. So I guess even though I feel like I shouldn’t HAVE to, I ought to WANT to make an effort to look nice. It does make me happy when I can tell he’s making an effort for me, whether that’s shaving or dressing up for a date night or doing some out-of-character romantic gesture. I suspect it makes him feel good when he knows I’ve made an effort for him, as well.
    As an aside, some of those Toms shoes are really cute. I went to buy some, and they were horribly uncomfortable! I was really disappointed – they were just too flat for me. My feet don’t like perfectly flat shoes, apparently, which is weird since I’m barefoot half the time. 🙁

  13. I LOVE the shoes! They are fun and Tom’s rocks! Dont let anyone tell you otherwise…

    I don;t get dolled up for my husband, I do it for ME! Now, I would love to wear jeans, sweats, shorts, and t-shirts every day…but I also love pretty clothes and accessories…so I do like to dress nice and make sure my hair looks nice ….my husband doesn;t get “dolled up” for me… why would one have to put on “airs” to impress their life mate? We love each other for who we are…we both bathe and have good hygiene, what more do you really need,lol?!?!

    We both have to dress nice for work so usually at home its comfy clothes…

  14. I definitely understand both sides of the issue, but I lean towards the not getting dressed up for my husband side. If dressing up (whatever that may be for each individual person) for you is an act of love that shows your husband that he’s important to you, then I understand that, and I don’t care if someone else thinks that’s important. It would bother me, however, if a woman is expected to look nice for her husband, but the husband isn’t expected to make an extra effort for his wife. I think the reason this expectation to look nice bothers me is that I only hear it about women – we should look nice for our man – but I’ve never heard that a husband should dress a certain way for his wife.

    I don’t show my love that way- I show it through the way I act, not the way I dress, and my husband is the same way. We’re both good with that, so it works for us.

    Wow, that was a much longer comment than I thought it would be!

    Also, I like your shoes.

  15. I have mentioned to my hubby that I’d like to look nice for him but he’s not into girls that are all made up so it’s not a big deal. On the days he’ll be home, I do take extra time with my hair and I’ll wear clothes that don’t look like I stole them from a thrift store. I also put in earrings. He notices but I don’t think it’s what keeps us strong.

  16. My definition of “dolled up” is washing my face and putting on mascara. That said, I wear it just about every day. Sometimes with eyeliner (which I taught myself to apply at the age of 27). I actually put more thought into my clothes than my makeup or hair because I feel better when I look better and thus my wardrobe becomes a source of confidence for me. When I’m most confident and comfortable, my husband pays me the most compliments. Not sure that he notices the pattern as much as I do, but there it is!

    A couple of years ago I noticed that I had an awful lot of cheap sweatpants and t-shirts and ill-fitting jeans from stores like Old Navy. I’m prone to wear comfy clothes as frequently as possible (after work, on the weekends) so it makes sense to have a stockpile. But I realized that I was leaving the house more and more frequently in ill-fitting and unflattering clothes and never felt as good as I did in my work clothes. So I made a conscious effort to first, stop buying so many pairs of cheap yoga pants, and second make sure that the things I have, even if only for hanging out at home, are flattering & make me feel good.

    All of this is to say that I don’t do any of these things for my husband. They are for me. But he certainly notices and I enjoy his attention when I’m feeling my best!

  17. I will never be the 50s housewife who changes in to a dressy dress and hands my husband a drink as he walks in from a hard day of work. Not even if life changes and I’m not walking in the door with or after him as often as not. And when I take off my work clothes, its to put on my lounging clothes. Him, too. BUT – at least once a week we both dress up to spend time together, typically at dinner or something similar. Nothing too fancy, but what we’d do if we were going out for friends. After all, if he’s the most important person in my life why would he deserve less than all the other people I dress for? And the fact that I don’t HAVE to makes it sweeter. So, I guess I’m of those two minds, too. But, I like the balance we have going so far.

  18. Well, I’m glad *you* like your shoes heh. I think I agree with the getting dolled up for your SO thing, because you like it when he’s tidy and shaved and stuff, right? A nicely dressed and groomed man is more attractive than a stained smelly one too 😉 So I think it’s a matter of a) caring for yourself and b) letting your spouse know that they matter, that being attractive to them matters to you. And I think it’s a little less “big bad stereotype” when you consider it goes both ways 🙂 (Although, granted, boys have way less work to get “pretty” 😛 )

  19. omg! did i start you thinking about this when i was complaining about someone very close to me?????

    YOU always look great!!! you may not be wearing stilettos everyday, but it’s obvious that you CARE about your appearance and your health!! you don’t dress or put forth a vibe of a 80 year old. i get defensive for the man that i’m close to because i feel like his wife should take care of herself not only FOR him but also for herself. maybe i’m old school, i don’t know… i don’t mean all dolled up. he’s not hard to please; just if maybe she’d get out of her robe and slippers. she knows how different men were created from women and she understands his needs are very different from hers, but she wants him to meet at her level but never at his.

    maybe i just feel like he’s the underdog, and i’m more sympathetic to him! haha!! or maybe it’s just that he can do very little wrong in my eyes!!

  20. Love your stuff, hate the shoes!

    I like a little of both… my hubby loves me when I’m sloppy but it makes him appreciate me more on the days I’m not… Works for him and for me. There’s an old saying that goes something like, “you need a little sadness to know what happy feels like”. I think it’s something like that… he needs to know the messy me so he can continue to appreciate the more beautiful me!

    🙂

  21. Love the sentiment of this post. I feel the same way, though my issue is that I don’t want to spend the money on the nice clothes, so it’ll never really happen. But, man, those days DH gets dressed in a button up and tie, ahhhh. And if I could do something to make him feel that way about me, it would totally be worth it. But, we both work from home, so it’s a long shot.

    I’ll leave out my comments on the shoes, per your request.

  22. There is a big difference between getting dolled up for your husband and HAVING to get dolled up for your husband.

    One of the nice things about having a spouse is that they inspire you do better, just by their presence. “Doing better” might involve changing careers, or wearing something besides sweat pants.

    Now, if you have a husband whom you don’t feel adequate around unless you are “dolled up”, then your marriage is screwed.

  23. To your first question- yes! Law school makes me do it every day. 🙁

    I don’t think it has to be all or nothing. Maybe getting “dolled up” more often would be nice to try.

    And I also think it’s not just for your spouse, it’s for both of you. It may add something to an evening, create a different atmosphere…

    And I’m totally with you on the feminist/independent streak. In that vein, maybe your hubs could also put more effort into his appearance? Maybe a close shave, a nice shirt…? Could be fun for the two of you to be self-aware and shiny! 🙂

  24. Best. Shoes. Ever!!! I hate shoes – HATE them – but I love Tom’s. And Birkenstocks.

    On the “dolled up” issue, my personal style is much like yours. However, I do try to make an extra effort once in a while for the hubs.

    Just wish that he felt the need to do the same for me.

  25. I like the shoes. A bit zany but what’s wrong with that?

    I like to get dressed up. And my husband likes to get dressed up whenever he sees me dressed up. So we have equilibrium going on. At the same time I adore my pink fluffy robe and my sweat pants.

    I agree with the commentators who distinguished between having to get dressed up and liking to do it for someone you love.

  26. I say this out of love: those shoes are horrible. 🙂

    As for the “for your husband” business, here’s my thought about it. #1 – generally, I feel better about myself when I take a little extra effort, so it’s not just for him and, in fact, doesn’t have to be for him at all. #2 – I do love him, so is it so awful to think I might sometimes do something for him that I would probably not do just for me? After all, he does the dishes and makes lunches while i study. The least I can do is brush my hair. #3 – that being said, I just try to do what makes me comfortable, and that seems to be fine with him. When I do dress up and he tells me I look nice, it makes me feel good. I want him to feel like I care what I look like for him. I want him to feel like I’m still attracted to him (because I am) and as such I’m still making an effort. I frequently think the same people who scoff at the idea of jazzing it up sometimes “for your husband” wouldn’t think twice about putting some extra effort into a date look, and what’s the difference? Why don’t husbands get that extra effort? After all, he puts up with a lot more crap from me than a date would. 🙂

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