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The House Dress

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Posts: 151
Lady
Topic starter
(@katherineboesemann)
Estimable Member     Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa
Joined: 5 years ago
wpf-cross-image

I grew up in a more traditional epoch when most women were able to be full-time homemakers. In addition to the demands of child-rearing, they also had very busy days filled with household chores like cleaning, laundry, and cooking (not to mention sewing, darning, embroidery, tending herb gardens, etc.)

Most often, their garment of choice while going about their daily tasks was the classic house dress, which came in various formats from shirt dress to shift, but all these various dress styles would have very practical pockets (where clothing pegs could be carried while hanging out the laundry, for instance). Not infrequently, these comfortable and practical dresses would nevertheless express a feminine flair in the form of a frill or brocaded edging and bows.

My earliest memories of encountering my inner female (apart from the not-so-unusual fetishistic and long-drawn-out fascination with female intimate apparel) were in my perception of the house dress as a symbol of womanhood. Something I hankered after while wearing one while dusting, sweeping, cooking, and so on.

Now my late wife knew and understood my desires, and being an avowed supporter of alternative gender identities spared no effort in supplying me with the accoutrements of femininity.

Quite importantly, however, she emphasized that "being a woman" was not merely about relaxing in a beauty salon or prancing about in heels at glamorous social functions, but also involved the daily mundanities of keeping the home clean and running smoothly.

Delegating to me various tasks that in our epoch had been "woman's work," she recommended I wear a house dress for ease of movement and comfort. Indeed, she gave me one or two of hers to wear.

I was delighted with her ready acceptance and the ease with which she transformed me into a traditional housewife, but I must say that her dresses (they were lovely scalloped and embroidered items from her native country) never quite fit me well.

It was after her sad demise that I by chance passed by a seamstress' booth adjacent to a shopping mall in my neighborhood. I was struck by the idea of having a traditional, classic house dress of the 50's/60's made for me.

The seamstress took my doubtless uncommon request in stride, dutifully discussed my requirements, took my measurements, and then set to work with a durable floral fabric she already had in stock. After a few days, she called me to come fit the dress. After she made a few minor adjustments, once again called for me to collect the finished dress.

I joyfully wore the dress at home. As though by magic, wearing the dress made even the most unpleasant and tedious household chores feel like fun.

Sadly, the dress disappeared in the course of a burglary, but I immediately resolved to have a new house dress made.

A week ago, I contacted the same seamstress and taking her advice, repaired to a large fabric shop near home to purchase the recommended length of fabric. This time it is of a cloth and colour scheme of my liking and which transports me to a carefree time in my youth, observing my mother or my aunts fussing about the house with mops and polishing rags.

I have been to fit on the dress and soon will make the final adjustments. It will have been made, and I'll finally have my housewife's uniform.

Love to you all,

Katherine

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Lady
(@jennap61)
Joined: 4 years ago

Trusted Member     London, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 51

@katherineboesemann Sorry to hear about your spouse. Your piece is well written. I remember the 50’s housewife well. My mother and aunts were good examples. Also in a house dress and practical heels. I also recall they wore nylons and garter belts as this was just before pantyhose. They always wore lipstick and some makeup. I remember the lipstick left on the teacups. In the afternoons when I came home from school my mother would rush around to get things ready for my Father when he came home. We had our big meal then. She would change out of her house dress to something more elegant and put on more makeup and heels. I had to occupy my brother and sister while she got ready. My father would come home and she would make him a cocktail and he would read the newspaper. I would bring the other kids in to say hello to him. On several occasions I saw her just in a full girdle, stockings and heels as she rushed around and prepared for his return. Dinner was always pretty formal back then. My mother would have taken off her house dress and would wear a skirt and blouse or a less casual dress. She had her house dress on every morning as I recall busy getting us off to school and my father off to work. 
 As a long time crossdresser, I do have several ‘house’ dresses. My wife and I shopped for them at local used clothing stores and wear them frequently. I wear them with a 2” heel. I can’t find the type of heel they wore back then. They had a clunkier heel and straps. It seemed to me that women’s fashioned changed during the JFK era. My mother began wearing Capri pants and flats and blouses. Still on nice look for us CDs. 

 

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Posts: 837
Lady
(@margprodue)
Noble Member     Madison, Wisconsin, United States of America
Joined: 2 years ago

Good for you Katherine!  My daily house dress is usually a long sleeve bulky tee shirt and jeans but I do remember women wearing house dresses like you described.  I'm glad that you were able to find someone to make a dress for you with material that you selected.  Perhaps the next step is for you to get a sewing machine and try it yourself. Hugs, Marg 

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Posts: 32
Duchess
(@gafran)
Trusted Member     Warner Robins, Georgia, United States of America
Joined: 2 months ago

June Cleaver lives! I too well remember those homemaker dresses that mom and all the ladies of my growing up years. Darn that dress thief! Let him/her get their own dress like you did. Bravo to you Katherine for not giving up on your pursuit of homemaker bliss!All the best to you my dear 💓
XOXO Fran

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2 Replies
Lady
(@harriette)
Joined: 1 year ago

Famed Member     Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 2498

@gafran I wonder if/ how much that the TV shows of the day kept the house dress fashion ideas going.

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Duchess
(@gafran)
Joined: 2 months ago

Trusted Member     Warner Robins, Georgia, United States of America
Posts: 32

I'm sure it did. When the Dick VanDyke show had Laura ( Mary Tyler Moore) featured in Capri slacks. Women wrote in wanting to see her wearing them more often. Ahh the early influencers!
🥰 Fran

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Posts: 2696
Hostess
(@ab123)
Famed Member     Surrey, United Kingdom
Joined: 4 years ago

It was a time when women kept up their femininity even when doing the chores. My mother would wear a dress or skirt and blouse with pockets and always a pinny. Although the styles have changed I still get practical tunic dresses with pockets for days when jobs need doing. Even mum comments if I have a dress with pockets..

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Posts: 1427
Hostess
(@cdsue)
Noble Member     Delaware, United States of America
Joined: 5 years ago

I'm sorry to hear about your wife. It is a shame that you were burglarized and your dress stolen, I hope not much of value was taken. That is lovely that you found a local seamstress to make you housedresses.

I remember house dresses well. My mother wore dresses every day along with light make up and an apron. I recall my mother rushing around in the late afternoon picking up the house before my father came home, him having a cocktail and reading the paper as she finished putting dinner together. The tings memories are made of that don't happen today.  I had one grandmother who wore housedresses all the time with a bib type apron. I have one dress my wife gave me that would qualify as a housedress which I wear on occasion when doing housework. 

XOXO
Suzanne

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Posts: 96
Duchess
(@joannaberry)
Estimable Member     Tamworth, Staffordshire, United Kingdom
Joined: 2 months ago

A wonderful article Katherine, bringing back so many memories for me personally.

My Grandmother used to always wear a house dress for everyday chores, something I have never forgotten. Now many years later I have one that I like to wear when doing daily chores around the house, a good reminder that the feminine life that most of us crave isn’t all about heels & glamour.

Lovely to read that your late wife understood your feminine desires and allocated you tasks around the home in the appropriate attire.

Thankyou for sharing your story & I’m sure your new house dress will be lovely 💕

 

joanna x

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Posts: 32
Lady
(@missgracie)
Eminent Member     LACONIA, New Hampshire, United States of America
Joined: 2 years ago

Thank you for a wonderful remembrance which stirred up similar ones of my own. My grandmother was a business woman who worked in NYC and subsequently dressed in the PA-secretarial drees code of that day, from which I garnered much of my fashion sense, with a current wardrobe ranging 1940's to 1950's professional and social wear. My mother on the other hand was a stay at home mom who typically wore housedresses, with most being of a shirt dress style. Something that I have replicated in my own life going back many years, as I was a stay at home 'sissy-housekeeper' while my wife Mary Kathryn was the go to work bread winner, who not only supported, but insisted upon my effeminate choice in clothing from the day we wed. Sadly she passed a few years back, however I still do not go a day without making myself as presentable as she had required. To that end I have several vintage housedress reminiscent of those worn by Lucy and Ethel in 'I Love Lucy'. Just wondering what you wear with it. My family is Scottish, and as far back to when I was a young boy I was most often attired in kilts, albeit always when it came to going to school or church. Something I was often teased about, given most all of the other lads didn't even have one, which as one might imagine led to them labeling me as either a jessie or poofster for doing so. Some thing that my maternal grandmother only exacerbated in that she had an old fashion sense when it came to the manner in which one dressed, a creed which included that one never wore a skirt or dress without a slip. For some reason, probably a distaste grown out of many of the local men going commando under their kilts, she would insist that my two brother and I needed to be more refined, such that all of our kilts were undergirded with bottle-green knickers and a half slip. Sadly for my brothers and I the only half slips available were the kind that had lace on their hems, which only led to more teasing. My two brothers were not of a mind to take such verbal abuse however and often engaged in fisticuffs. I however being of a more timid nature would try to quell their taunts by thanking them with a curtsey, another aspect of my grandmother's viewpoint of how 'disciplined folks react in polite society' as she would put it. Obviously my manner of dress, coupled with my timid nature and what others might call an obsequious persona, I was frequently bullied, leading to my running home in tears being a common occurrence. That all said it established a tradition to this day of my wearing a full slip under my housedress, even if I am just going to be buzzing like a bee around the house. There was a time before my MK passed that she would never let me go out in public without being attired in a more refined apparel including a hat atop my permed curls and lightweight wrist length white cotton gloves regardless of the time of year as she was an avid aficionado of my grandmother's sense of deportment Today however if time restraints require it I will go to the market in either one of my housedresses or one of the dated domestic uniforms that MK liked to see me flit about the house in when she was entertaining guests, which I still wear at times, albeit never without a 'prim and proper' (her words) slip under them. Thank you so very much for resurrecting these memories for me, and with that n mind let me encourage you to please share some of your own experiences in housedress with the rest of your sissy sisters in skirts . With blown kisses and knee bent curtsies of appreciation, gracie.

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Posts: 42
Lady
(@polly)
Trusted Member     Brighton, East Sussex, United Kingdom
Joined: 5 years ago

A good story about an unusual niche of cross-dressing. While unfortunate, I'm fascinated that a burglar would take the dress - did they fancy it for themselves?

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1 Reply
Baroness Annual
(@rhondalee)
Joined: 3 years ago

Honorable Member     Winston-Salem, North Carolina, United States of America
Posts: 584

Are you assuming the burglar was male? females can do anything males can do ..well. Almost. They can burgle too. Times have changed since the awesome " Father knows best" days. My mom also dressed up for my father to come home. I knew her wardrobe better than my own and admired it and her greatly

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Posts: 28
(@lisanicole)
Eminent Member     Scottsdale, Arizona, United States of America
Joined: 5 years ago

Katherine,
I wear a house dress almost every day. They are so comfortable. I don't even do any makeup. I just wear a house dress. Loose, casual, I LOVE THEM.

Don't need anything special though, I can buy "off the Rack".
Flowers...fish...solids...paisley designs...tank tops...I love them all.

I agree. Housework is much more fun in a house dress.

LoL Lisa

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Posts: 879
 Lea
Lady
(@lea-jhene)
Noble Member     California, United States of America
Joined: 8 years ago

This was a wonderful story. How amazing that your wife found a way to accept you and even encourage you. Truly transcending time.

That is so peculiar that the house dress was stolen in a robbery. Who would do that, other than a burglar with a deep down desire to CD.

Wearing a dress at home feels as so practical. We're experiencing a heat wave. A house dress would be more comfortable than any shorts.

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