Bear’s favorite outfit

Earlier, I had worn this very sexy outfit.

A short, electric blue dress with leggings and high heeled boots. Big gold hoops. Oh, how I love big gold hoops. I will never have refined taste. But sexy—I can sometimes do that.

We were out. I crossed my legs and looked flirty.

We got back, the rest of the Sunday was supposed to be lazy, because of the rain. But then Bear wanted to go to Prospect Park and see the blossoming trees. We’d missed them last year, and he was determined.

“But it’s cold…” I said.

“Put on some warm clothes,” he said.

I put on these ancient bellbottoms that I inherited from a friend who realized that they were never going to be fashionable again. They didn’t used to fit. They were so big on me. Now all of my other jeans pinch meanly, in tender places. So I pulled the big, flopping bellbottoms on. And the brown sneakers I try never to wear. And an expressionless long-sleeved shirt.


“Oh, wow,” said Bear, coming into the bedroom. “You look so hot. What a great outfit.”

I looked at him for a long moment. “Are you serious?”


“I love that outfit,” he said. His eyes were sort of hungry. Like in a romance novel, where the heroine is wearing something that is actually sexy. Maybe a tiny, crimson dress with a plunging neckline that emphasizes her pert bosom. Not a slouchy shirt  and tired jeans that emphasize…Nothing?

“It shows off your body really well,” he said.

I wasn’t seeing it. First of all, there wasn’t any skin showing. Second of all, it was not attractive.

“You don’t know anything about beauty,” he said, teasing, but sort of serious.

He likes to say that sometimes, since I’ve been writing this blog.

“Yes, I do,” I said, automatically.

“This is beauty,” he said, gesturing at me. “You think it’s more complicated.”

I went over to the mirror, to see what the deal was. It was as I expected—shlumpy. Normal. Like I didn’t own any nice clothes. Like I was boring. Like I was ordinary. Also, my arms– OK, not getting into it.

“Come ON,” I said. “What about what I was wearing before?”

“Yeah, that was nice,” he said. “Not, like, on this level. But nice.”

I sighed. It is possible that we will never agree about these things.

Which is really good. Because I only have so many awesome outfits. Shlumpy outfits? Those I can do all day, every day.

*  *  *

I think I actually can appreciate casual looks– I don’t think sexy has to be a cocktail dress. But I still don’t quite understand Bear’s taste. How would you dress to be sexy?

Unroast: Today I love the way I look in pirate boots. Remember this outfit?

P.S. The trees weren’t blossoming yet, in Prospect Park. But it was still really, really fun.

P.P.S. Check out this awesome piece in the NYT by a mom who, rather than putting her 7 yr old daughter on a diet, thinks seriously about how to set a healthy body image example for her. She begins by praising her own “cushy” butt in front of her daughter. Adorable.

Update: Apparently the writer of the above awesome piece I linked to READS THIS BLOG. I FEEL SO COOL RIGHT NOW.





Kate on April 4th 2012 in beauty, body, relationships

25 Responses to “Bear’s favorite outfit”

  1. CrescentMelissa responded on 10 Apr 2012 at 12:40 pm #

    I agree with Bear! A lady looks sexy when the clothes show off the form but not all the skin. A casual striped shirt and cute jeans are totes adorable and sweet. BTW, I love your blog :)

  2. meg/maggie :) responded on 10 Apr 2012 at 1:07 pm #

    Bobby’s favorite shirt of mine is a hideous flannel that my sister gave me (she was going to give it away). If shlumpy is sexy, I’m down.

  3. Layla responded on 10 Apr 2012 at 1:08 pm #

    I love bell bottoms and flares, I wear them all the time and think they really work as I have an hourglass figure – I think some outfits like that can look really sexy.

  4. Kate responded on 10 Apr 2012 at 1:09 pm #

    I was just thinking about how hard you rock casual :-)

  5. wide eyed imp responded on 10 Apr 2012 at 1:16 pm #

    Gah – I remember this conversation. When I first met then-boyfriend (now husband) I used to make all this effort every time I saw him. Nails done, hair done, make up on, you get the drill, amirite? One day we’d driven a looong way in the car with the roof down, and we’d been to visit some friends who were camping, so I was in jeans and a tee. We get to pub for evening meal, I get out of the hair, with MAD hair, no make up left on, face probably covered in road fume smudges and he said, “Wow, you look amazing!”. At that point I got that he *really* does like the natural (but proper natural, not an hour of very skillfully blended make up ‘natural’) look and stopped wearing make up and straightening my hair. It’s lovely. Also, as Layla says, good jeans with a curvy figure rawk!

  6. Mandy responded on 10 Apr 2012 at 1:19 pm #

    It’s difficult to be objective about oneself–a lesson I relearn every time one of my female clients (I’m a massage therapist) apologizes–APOLOGIZES!!!–for what she perceives as her physical imperfections. Most of the time, it’s their weight that bothers them–a “fat butt” or a “saggy tummy,” etc. And most of the time, I don’t see the alleged imperfections. These women look good, to me.
    It’s sobering, to say the least. I try to be sincerely complimentary, whenever possible, without coming across as creepy. To provied them with a reality check.
    And, I try to be a little more complimentary of myself when I look in the mirror. I like to say “I have great muscle tone, and I’m deliciously upholstered, too!”

  7. teegan responded on 10 Apr 2012 at 1:27 pm #

    it is indeed strange what you try to emphasize to look awesome and what they love about you.
    hubby absolutely loves how i look when we’re camping or hiking and i have dirt on my face and my grubby old hiking shoes along with whatever clothing is weather appropriate that i don’t mind getting dirty. his favorite outfit for me is a white button down, jeans, and my fake chuck taylors. yes, he loves my dresses – some more than others – but the look on his face when i wore HIS wedding outfit (black dress pants, white button down, suspenders) was spectacular.
    i figure that eventually we’ll learn all of their favorite outfits, or at least most of them, and then months (years) later, we’ll accept that we can be shlumpy and dirty and completely lovely. we will accept it… right?

  8. TheQueerBird responded on 10 Apr 2012 at 1:51 pm #

    I love this. Turtle does the same thing… I pull on something I haven’t worn in a long time and am surprised by how impressed she is. Doesn’t take much! I have to say, seeing her in the jeans & tshirts from when we started dating gets me all fluttery too…

  9. Kate responded on 10 Apr 2012 at 1:55 pm #

    I love that your partner is called Turtle. So cute.

  10. katilda responded on 10 Apr 2012 at 2:05 pm #

    i love this. i remember one time when a past boyfriend stopped me, after we’d just finished playing dodgeball, and said “this is my favorite way that you do your hair.” i said “THIS? sweaty ponytail?? i do my hair better for you all the time!” …and he was really confused why i wasn’t as excited about the compliment. It was endearing how sincere he was, but definitely made me question everything women do to “look pretty.” haha

  11. Melanie responded on 10 Apr 2012 at 2:32 pm #

    I’m totally with Bear on this one. The most beautiful ladies I see are rarely ones dressed to the nines or the ones you can tell worked at that look. It’s the ones who seem effortless. The ones who look like they just rolled out of bed and didn’t brush their hair, that I always find myself complimenting. They look at me and react like you did to Bear, and that’s okay.

    My ex loved me in jeans or my pj’s, and not so much when I thought, “Look how pretty I am in this dress and make up!”

  12. Alpana Trivedi responded on 10 Apr 2012 at 3:00 pm #

    Kate, I might have an explanation for this. When you wear something comfortable that was easy to put on and didn’t take lots of work, you might be more relaxed and LOOk more relaxed and at ease. Bear might have picked up on that inner glow.

    When I was in my home port in Norfolk, one of my best friends and I went to the mall and every picture we saw of supermodels (be they modeling bathing suits, casual clothes, or business suits) seemed strained in some way. I mean, the closest thing I saw to a “natural” expression was probably a woman modeling jeans. It seems that all the “sophisticated” looks are not natural and it shows. Most of the supermodels look very serious, melancholy, “mature”, jaded, but none of them look especially relaxed. I have some VERY goofy expressions when I get “too happy” but I guarantee you nobody would pick me for a fashion magazine and on the little chance they would, by the time they’d be done putting make-up on me (and after many, many retakes), I might have that bored, jaded look during a photo shoot as well.

    You may have the “better” outfits that you find pretty (and they may well be), but I think Bear picked up on the relaxed look (which would probably look good on anyone). Hooyah to natural beauty.

    I LOVE this blog.

  13. Elyse responded on 10 Apr 2012 at 3:08 pm #

    I live in jeans on a daily basis, so going out gear usually means a skirt or dress. I don’t do girly often but a dress feels girly. Hubby turned around and said he prefers it when I wear trousers. I look sexy in trousers apparently??? Go figure! Men, eh! They are an odd bunch at times!

  14. Kristine responded on 10 Apr 2012 at 3:51 pm #

    Thankfully my boyfriend and I are on the same page about what I should wear. Mostly sundresses, which I do happen to be most comfortable in, so maybe you’re on to something with that theory. What I don’t understand is how he thinks I look good when I literally just wake up. He basically said I look “the same” as I do throughout the day. It took awhile to take that as a compliment :-p

  15. Kate responded on 10 Apr 2012 at 3:56 pm #

    LOL! Bear always compliments me in the morning, too. Sometimes I look in the mirror after and am shocked.

    I’m not ever going to stop wearing awesome dressy clothes that feel sexy to me. But I’m glad that I (apparently) look great when I look normal.

  16. Jason responded on 10 Apr 2012 at 8:57 pm #

    I can ID with Bear. I think it’s also perhaps pointing out that there’s a movement for stuff like this, Modest is Hottest, and it’s not just conservative women pushing it. My point, I suppose is that while the stereotypical sexy look is cool and all that now and again, sometimes, us guys want to let our imaginations run wild, and we can’t do that if it’s all on display, or nearly so.

  17. Lynellekw responded on 11 Apr 2012 at 3:29 am #

    My most favorite outfit for a while was cargo pants and a tank top that had kind of a short turtleneck collar. It made me look like a surfer girl. But then the cargoes got stained courtesy of a leaky pen left in the pocket, and the tank top disappeared off the line one day. :( And then I got old and boring.

  18. CarbonGirl responded on 11 Apr 2012 at 9:35 am #

    I love this story. My husband is similar. The other day I was wearing this slightly baggy vintage cowboy shirt and he said that was his favorite thing I wear. I find this hilarious since, while it is cute, it does not show off my body at all AND it is exactly like the shirts he wears on a regular basis. So he likes it when I dress like him?

  19. Charise responded on 11 Apr 2012 at 9:54 am #

    One day I came home in regular ol’ bootcut jeans and a t-shirt for the org I’d been out volunteering for, hair in pony tail, and my husband told me I looked really good. It is nice to know he appreciates the not-made-up look, but I like putting in the effort and being acknowledged for that, too!

  20. Sooz responded on 11 Apr 2012 at 6:47 pm #

    This doesn’t happen alot BUT I get hit on the most when I am wearing my sweats and a tshirt. Weird. Also, read the New York Times piece. One word: AWESOME!

  21. LadyGrey responded on 13 Apr 2012 at 1:26 pm #

    I definately appreciate casual clothing. Its practically all that I ever wear .. But I look in the mirror and think “Sexaay :D ”. So I guess I’m addicted to the comfortable feel of things. I’m not sure if thats a good or bad thing ?-?..

  22. Evelyn responded on 16 Apr 2012 at 4:17 pm #

    Ha, it’s like you’re describing my house. My husband loves me in long jean shorts and this one ratty yellow t-shirt that is all pitted out and has a chocolate ice cream stain on it. I used get a little upset when I put some effort into looking sexy for him, but now I’ve decided that I when I dress like that, it’s for myself, and I’m darn lucky to have a guy who wants to see me in jean shorts and a ratty old t-shirt. (He’s also learned to give compliments on the fancy sexy outfits, too.)

  23. Susannah responded on 17 Apr 2012 at 10:04 pm #

    Yup. Similar situation here. I would get all dolled up for my then-boyfriend, now-husband yet the one time I really stopped him in his tracks was when he popped over unexpectedly. I was wearing my dad’s shirt and a long loose skirt, hanging out washing (maybe it was the domesticity that appealed? hmmmm…). I’d never seen that look of appreciation in his eyes before!

    (I do sometimes wonder if I’ve taken it too far now we’ve been married for 9 years …!)

  24. tank top dress responded on 01 Jun 2012 at 7:18 am #

    I love that your partner is called Turtle. So cute.

  25. Phoebe responded on 09 Sep 2012 at 2:29 am #

    Sometimes men really do surprise you with what they find attractive. I felt frumpy in a stretchy pajama jeans, an old tank top, and hopelessly ruffled puffs of bed hair. My boyfriend called them “flattering”, “sexy”, and “adorable”, respectively.