While both have a similar name and both will get you odd looks while walking/being at work they are two very different items of clothing.

When Riley was in hospital I went home to grab some stuff to make my stay in the hospital more comfortable. I bought back his dressing gown, a navy blue thing and mine. A Superman dressing gown. I put it on and didn’t take it off for days. I walk around the hospital, my home and town in this dressing gown. I still wear it on the days that I can’t be bothered.

My workmates have figured out my outfit often reflects how I am feeling on a particular day. So the levels go like this – Business wear, red or blue dresses with tights and heels for a good day, black dress with colour tights is slightly less of a good day, black dress and black tights (my go to at the moment) and then after that we start getting into the ball gowns. I have a range of formal gowns I choose from. From there it goes to jeans and a hoodie which I never wear on a day to day basis.

For the really bad days it’s either a replica Cinderella gown from the movie starring Lily James or it’s the Dressing gown. And that’s how people know I am not in the mood to deal with anyone else’s shit.

My bosses are surprising good at letting me wear want I wanted at the moment.

There is that wonderful quote. “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have” Well in my personal opinion it should be “Dress however the fuck you want, not however the fuck society wants you too” (Within reason obviously.) But I did decide one day I should dress for the job I wanted and not the job I had.

And thus a dress up day was organised. Again one of the only perks to being a widow is that people give you a lot of leeway when it comes to pretty much everything you do. I had been back at work for two weeks, I was sad, I was lonely and my workmates wanted to cheer me up. So we decided we should have a dress up day at work. Everyone banded together and dressed up just to amuse me and by golly it worked. All day people at their desks as; animals, pirates, dragons and of course me in my princess dress. (I tried to organise Halloween a month and a bit after. Didn’t work as well)

Clothing has a particular power over some people, I know when I wear something superhero-y I feel like I can do anything, I am on top of the world and I will get through this. While the Cinderella dress reminds me I am a princess and I deserve the respect of the people around me. When you have to go through this kind of thing it’s good to wear whatever you want to wear. Its one decision and one aspect of your life that you actually have control over. If you wear a uniform to work this doesn’t work so well but at less you can dress up for dinner, whether it is dinner out in town in the dressing gown or at home in bed having toastie sandwiches for the third day in a row in your ball gown. Just do you!

But also wearing funny things can bring about comical events which do cheer you up. While wearing the princess gown at the supermarket a small girl noticed me (not surprising really) and she turns to her father and asked “Is that a real princess?” The father looks at me, top to bottom a couple of times and says to his daughter “Well it’s either a princess or a crazy lady and either way, we shouldn’t bother her”

I have also been paddling in a ball gown. The other day, I decided to go for a walk to the beach. I was wearing a floor length black ball gown. While standing on the esplanade I felt like I wanted to go for a paddle, it was early evening and the esplanade was full of people so I couldn’t exactly take off the ballgown and go swimming in my bra and undies. So instead I thought fuck it, took off my jacket, and jumped in ball gown and all. I have my wireless head phones on so I put on “Somewhere only we know” By Keane and I went for a walk through the waves, singing and dancing! I was completely soaked, being watched by a huge group of people. I have not felt that alive in a long time.

As I say every time, people are going to silently judge you from a far. I say lift that middle finger high and tell them to fuck right off. You wear what you want to. If you don’t want to leave your pyjamas for 4 days straight then by all means, you stay in those pjs. (although really more than four days is pushing it and people will start to be concerned about your well-being)

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Riley and I wearing our favourite things. Him in his peach shirt and dark blue suit pants and me in my full length flowery peach dress. We could have taken on the world!

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