Are You Clothed or Are You Dressed?

It’s been a while since the MOTH (Man of the House) and I set off to spend a weekend in Sydney.  It was something we did regularly when we first arrived in Australia eleven years ago.  There is so much to see and do.

The places are interesting, the people fascinating and something is happening wherever you look.  Our weekends away whetted our appetites for the next visit.  What to explore and where would we eat, perhaps taken in a live show?

It’s easy to lie nearly comatose in our cozy – and mundane – rut.  It takes little effort and the routine to gently rock from one week to the next.  It’s winter here down under after all, and it’s cozy in our rut.

And if the Lion King musical was not nearing the end of its run in Sydney, we may well have stayed wound up in our winter woollies.  I’m so pleased we struck out.  The casting, costuming and music arrangements were worth every effort to clamber out of our comfort zone and venture further afield.  The humour and fun was effortlessly translated from film to stage.  Timon (a meerkat) and Pumbaa (the warthog) still make me laugh out loud, as did Zazu and the hyenas.  Will we ever forget Whoopi Goldberg’s voice as one of the three hyenas?

The hum and bustle inside The Capitol Theatre was infectious and while listening to the orchestra tune up I remembered times my mother had taken me, as a young child, to the ballet.  What a grand affair those outings were.  My mother had a new outfit and had made me a new dress for each occasion.  While I have no memory of those dresses I do remember arriving an hour before the performance so we could sip a drink and watch other patrons arrive.


Going out in those days was cause to show off one’s finery and flaunt the latest fashion;  to see and be observed by the social set.  Talk of these outings filled our conversations for weeks after the ballet.  Of course the dancing, costuming and music were topics covered in every detail yet somehow we found ourselves returning to the dresses, jewellery and hairstyles which we discussed at great length.  Although we were interested in what the other women and their daughters wore, the men were no less finessed with Old Spice and their cropped hair slicked down with a dollop of Brylcream.

Looking around the theatre last night it was hard to know what the benchmark for appropriate theatre wear is nowadays.  Whatever it is I wouldn’t have thought it included sneakers, shorts, baggy tee-shirts, sandals and socks (can you guess which age group and gender).  The remarkable thing is that it appeared while the women generally tidied themselves up for the night, some even in short evening dresses, overall the could have have come from the pub after the footy match.  What a shame.  I wonder how their partner’s felt.  The women who had put effort into how they presented at the show, when they looked at their spouse, friend, or partner, did they notice he couldn’t have been bothered to make an effort.

Big generalisation I realise yet in the main it was how it was:  the women were power-dressers while the men … well, you couldn’tt say they were dressed in the true sense of the word.  They were just wearing clothes.  As far as my mum was concerned anyone could wear clothes but only a few would look dressed.  It took thoughtfulness, planning and care to be dressed, she said.

The MOTH and I were wearing clothes … maybe next time we’ll get dressed for the occasion … just for you Mum.





9 thoughts on “Are You Clothed or Are You Dressed?

  1. My mum always made sure we were dressed up whenever we went into town to go shopping. It was something she had learned from her own mother (who still to this day looks amazing every time she leaves the house – like a 90 year old Audrey Hepburn). And even as I got older and started to wear more alternative clothes, I would always make sure I looked presentable when I was out in town to meet friends or going to the theatre – I suppose it was just a standard that was set. Then, when I spend most of my days in my home office in yoga pants and paint stained tee shirts, anything is a step up 😛


    • There are some people who put the rest of us to shame with their attention to appearance. Good on Mum and Grandma who refuse to hide their chutzpah behind closed doors.


  2. Like you Linda, I too have memories of going to the theatre and dressing up in our Sunday best clothes. Being brought up in England it was considered bad manners to show at any event in casual clothes. I often see my step daughter dressed beautifully and her partner looking like something the cat dragged in. I miss the good old days when boys were not admitted to a club without trousers, collared shirt and tie and sneakers were a definite no no. The dress code in most establishments has been removed and I for one am saddened by that. On a positive note, Mum and I thoroughly enjoyed the Lion King too, and yes we were dressed in our finest – Rule Britannia!


    • Maybe we, women, need to raise our expectation of men and how they dress when they accompany us on outings. The dress code, like the education standards, has been lowered to accommodate the lowest common denominator. Not fair for the rest of us. Rule Britannia indeed 🙂 If it’s good enough for Prince Pip to tow the line our men should follow his lead.


  3. I loved The Lion King show – the tickets were a wedding present back in 2005. It was a fabulous show and I still think about how well it was done.
    We never wear evening clothes and such, but we doo wear good clothes to go to something like that. It makes it seem more special. We very rarely go to shows, so it is special.
    I don’t know how some young men can dress so badly – we often see a young couple where the girl looks dressed up & the fellow is wearing gear he’d go to the beach or the pub in. 😦


  4. I’m with you on this Lily. I think we go through stages in our lives when motivation is easier to grasp than at other times. I’ve learned to go with it instead of fighting it. My rationalisation is that my body knows what it needs … ok, maybe it’s just a plain and simple cop out!


  5. I wear clothes most days and am comfortable in ruts,too. 🙂 I once was in Australia and New Zealand, but now wondered how I ever got over there, being so rutty.


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