Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Skirt Experiment

Last week, I performed a little experiment. I am a chemist, after all, it's kind of what I do (well, at least before I got my job where I sit and read about other people's experiments...).

I wore a skirt or dress every day to work.

(P.S. Friday was my flex day off which is why I'm rocking the casual skirt look. That's right, I could see you judging my idea of work wear!)
Exhibits A thru E, wherein I make a different awkward pose every day of the week.
I know. This is an experiment that no one in the entire world has ever thought of ever ever ever EVAH! My mind amazes me sometimes.

So let me start off by saying why I decided to do this.

My work has a very lax dress code. We spend 10+ hours a day sitting in front of a computer clicking through patents and reading until our eyes bleed and knowing that we're way cooler than lawyers, and so most people don't really worry about their attire. I've actually seen people wearing t-shirts and jeans on a regular basis.

Thus, I went from wearing business formal attire every day when I first started my job to now wearing nice khakis or jeans, some sort of blouse, and a cardigan or jacket.

It's not because I don't like skirts and dresses, because that would be false. I love skirts and dresses. I think I own more skirts and dresses than I do pants. Really. Really really.

But, when the pesky alarm goes off at 6 am every day, and I see that 10 hour work day looming ahead of me, the laziness kicks in and I pull out the comfortable pants. After all, I'm sitting at a desk all day and I barely see the light of day much less other people, so why does it matter?

I discovered that it does though. Here are the top 5 things I learned from my skirt experiment:

#5: I was less lazy

This is my numero uno fault now (and, well, ever...) that I am a full-time working woman. How on earth can you expect me to come home from work every day and do things like unload the dishwasher and vacuum the carpet, all while getting everything ready for the next work day like packing my lunch and remembering to shave my legs and making sure my hair dries in something other than a frizzed mess? That's right, you can't. (God bless the man who is lucky enough to marry me someday...)

But wearing a skirt every day forced me to put some advanced thought into my actions for the whole week. I actually had to plan to shave my legs more than once in the last week (just laughable!) and I actually did something more than just throw my hair up into a messy ponytail every day. I even took the time to put in earrings every day. Whoa.

I found this less bit of laziness pervade other parts of my life too. I was much more focused at work, getting less distracted by chatting with my office mate or fun conversations with my office neighbor or my crossword puzzle. I came home and did more work or some chores instead of plopping right on the couch to veg in front of the TV. I even went out a couple of nights after work to spend time with friends. And, if the simple action of putting on a skirt can help keep me from hitting the snooze three times every morning, then I think it's a change I can make!

#4: I was more conscientious of how I acted

If anyone discovers a lady-like way to do the bend and snap,
let me know!
Wearing a skirt forced me to think more about what I do in the simplest daily actions. I had to walk more carefully, sit more carefully, bend (and snap!) to get a pen off the floor more carefully! It was a bit annoying at first - oh, how I longed for the comfort of my pants so I could just sit like a man! - but I realized that by wearing a skirt, I was forcing myself to act more like a lady.

Which brings me to...

#3: I felt more feminine

Blahby blahby blah - feminine genius - I know. We've all heard it time and time again, but there is so much truth and beauty to the feminine genius!

Our perfect model for the true
feminine genius!
Ladies, we are made in the image and likeness of God! We hold His beauty, we are His way of serving others in the world, we are His compassion to the suffering, we are His modest gift to our fellow man. We embody these things in our souls and, yes, our bodies! This is one of many reasons the lads are so mesmerized by us!

Wearing a skirt every day forced me to think more about living the feminine genius. Have you ever had a "I hate my body so much!!!" kind of day, only to put on a pencil skirt and think - "Wow, I've got some nice curves!" or "Man! I feel like a woman!" - ? OK, maybe that's just me. But the point is, wearing a skirt helped me to remember that I am a woman! I'm shaped like a woman, I (should) act like a woman, and I have the soul of a woman, and all of that should be reflected in the way I present myself to others. Sometimes, it can be as simple as putting on a skirt, but it can also be a kind smile to a stranger, a helping hand to someone in need, or bringing some delicious baked goods to your co-workers (guilty!). Letting this true femininity shine forth through your appearance also translates to my next point...

#2: I had more confidence in myself and my appearance

Like I said before, have you ever had those days (weeks? months? years? lifetimes?) where you just really haven't liked how you look or who you are?

At all?

Not even a little bit?

I have those days a lot (which is a whole other blog post!), and while a great pair of jeans and a nice top can give me a confidence boost, I've found that putting on a cute, feminine skirt can be a huge confidence boost for me.

I think a big part of this is that it can be a dog-eat-dog kind of world as a lady, especially in a society that puts so much emphasis on how skinny we are and a career field that seems to be immersed in men and women in power suits (OK, so the people at my job wear jeans or nice slacks... but a figurative power suit!). There can be a lot of pressure to fit these molds - to be skinny and gorgeous and tan and have men fawning over you (and your beauty) and to be successful in your job and know exactly what you want and not worry about dating and marriage because you are an independent woman, gosh darnit!

This is not empowering. Period.
And this is what we deal with on a daily basis.
All of this pressure doesn't do anything to empower us as women, but really just tears us down. And so, for me, putting on a skirt that flatters both my shape and who I am as a person helps me to look in the mirror and be able to say to myself, "You don't need to be the kind of woman society is dictating. You can be independent while still needing others, it's alright to still be searching for what you want, and it's ok that you're not a size 2! You are a confident and successful woman in God's eyes, and that's what matters." And so, I walked into work each day with my head held a little bit higher.

Of course, all of this leads to...

#1: I felt beautiful

Like I said above, the world seems to be bearing down on us women a lot, and so it can be tough to feel beautiful. I wrote about this a bit for my guest post for Christina, but we have to remember that God is Beauty and so if we are radiating the femininity that God blessed us with, then we are beautiful. Putting on a skirt every day helped me to remember that in God's eyes, I am beautiful - no matter what I think or society says - because I am a daughter of our Heavenly Father, a sister to Christ, and a temple of the Holy Spirit. Of course, I should be reminded of this every day, no matter what I'm wearing, but I've found that putting on a skirt or even taking a little bit more time for myself helps me to see and feel the Beauty that God has given me.


So, I'd like to challenge you to try to make a change in your life, even for a week! It doesn't have to be putting on a skirt, but it can be any small change in your daily routine to help change your outlook - to give you confidence, to help you feel beautiful, to make you feel like a woman. I'd love to hear how your experiment turns out!


  1. I also work in an office that has a somewhat lapse dress code. One week I forgot to do laundry so none of my pants were clean and it was super HOT out that week so I wore a dress/skirt 2 or 3 days that week and on wed or thurs this girl was like "why are you so dressed up this week?" I'll admit I'm a HUGE tom boy and hate getting dressed up but when I do I do feel better and more accomplished :)

    I saw an experiment on the radio 3 years ago where this lady wore the same black dress everyday of the month but she paired it up with different scarves and accessories so you couldn't even tell!

  2. I attempted to do this a couple of weeks ago, and I ended up having to work in the warehouse 3 of the 5 days. Experiment, gone! But! This week I told myself I would dress nice all 5 days (if not wear a skirt for reasons I will not disclose here.) You make good points! There's a reason why people on What Not to Wear are always happy at the end!!;)

  3. Um, you mean, Reese Witherspoon didn't do the bend-and-snap in a lady-like manner? (I confess, there was a dark time in my life involving a varsity baseball player and....*ahem* pink hot pants wherein I practiced the bend-and-snap. That is all I will say on the matter; it's too shameful.)

    But, really, you are so right! I did a similar experiment when I went to South Carolina for a week on vacation (and also b/c it was really hot) and I came to a lot of the same conclusions you did. It's crazy how just wearing a skirt can change your demeanor so much. I, too, felt more ladylike, and found myself behaving in a way that brought out good, feminine qualities. I'm curious, are you considering making any more permanent changes to your wardrobe after this?

  4. Yay!! You felt beautiful! You are beautiful!

    I completely agree with all of your points! Especially this:

    "But wearing a skirt every day forced me to put some advanced thought into my actions for the whole week. I actually had to plan to shave my legs more than once in the last week (just laughable!) and I actually did something more than just throw my hair up into a messy ponytail every day. I even took the time to put in earrings every day. Whoa."

    It's amazing. It's kind of like the "fake it till you make it" adage. You make a commitment to changing something, like wearing a skirt everyday, and then you have to make way for it in other parts of your life. All of a sudden, you're paying attention to how you present yourself, which makes you pay attention to how you feel about yourself. It's a blessed circle!

  5. I absolutely love this! It's amazing how small changes like that can make such a huge difference in your feelings and demeanor. I like all the pictures too! So cute! :)

  6. I don't feel comfortable wearing skirts or dresses at my job, but I do notice a difference when I put on NICE dress pants and a NICE shirt versus an outfit that I can pass off at work, but most people would probably think was more appropriate as weekend wear.

  7. Nice article, thanks for the information.

  8. Yay! I think this is exactly why I still wear skirts and dresses to Mass on Sunday (we'll see what happens when/if the snow REALLY hits here)! I love feeling feminine and really dressed up for the Lord. I wear jeans a lot during the week (yay for a youth minister's dress code!), so getting dressed up for Mass in skirts or dresses is a real treat!
    And I love your "awkward" poses, maybe I'll try one of those for WIWS! ;-)


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