Tip: Don’t Save Your Sunday Best For Sunday!

In Nutley, NJ, where I grew up, we were made to wear our “Sunday best” for church services, (or Saturday synagogue). For us girls, that meant a pretty dress and shiny patent leather shoes. There was never a thought given to wearing that same dress to school or (gasp) to play. Similarly, we’d never see sneakers in church.

The world has moved on, and though I no longer attend church I see that the dress code has relaxed significantly. So we moderns are lacking a special day for dress-up. I say let’s make it any day we choose. Seriously, it’s my campaign to wear my good stuff any time I feel like it, for any occasion. A beer at the pub? You could wear your favorite tulle skirt and silk tank top. Have you inherited a string of family pearls? Wear them with a graphic tee, and make a statement.

I love the look of classic pearls with a casual outfit. Source.

There are designated clothes, obviously, for painting the kitchen, cleaning out the garage, or lounging on the couch late at night watching Netflix. No one’s suggesting we wear our designer denim for those activities. But too often we squirrel away our “best” things waiting for just the right moment. Maybe the moment is now, and you’ll feel the joy.

I feel the same about dishes and wine glasses, sheets, scarves and perfume. If we own these things because we like them, why not use them on the regular? Both my grandmothers had “good China” that was only brought out twice a year, and then with great vigilance. And it was beautiful.

If you enjoy pretty things, use them all the time. Pretty dinnerware here.


Stay fabulous, and wear your “best” whenever you like, xo


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  1. wow, I totally agree with you and totally love this post! I was so upset as a child everytime a pair of beautiful patent shoes were stored ‘for an occasion’ which never happened.
    Same happened when my mom had to donate all the clothes that my grandma never worn. She saved them for special occasions and wore same old dresses for years. So my mom and me became huge fans of wearing our ‘good clothes’ as many times as posible and same for glasses, dishes or sheets. Everyday is special!!

  2. Oh, such a great reminder to Carpe Diem and not save our favourite things for the “right” moment, Patti! Things are meant to be used (did “Toy Story” teach us nothing??). I try to dress up for every occasion, every day!

  3. When I was growing up my grandma had a print of “Salem” by Sydney Cernow Vosper hanging on the dining room wall. It depicted an old Welsh lady in church dressed in a beautiful paisley shawl. If you looked closely enough you could see the devil’s face in the shawl as, in the olden days, it was considered a sin to wear your finery to worship.
    My family didn’t have Sunday best, we always wore what we wanted, when we wanted – hence me roller skating around the neighbourhood as a child in an Edwardian wedding dress and my Mum turning up to school parent’s in PVC catsuits (she was the best role model, she never gave a damn!)
    I haven’t changed. Life’s too short to save anything for best. xxx

    • What a wonderful story of you and your Mum! She was indeed a great role model and you do her proud, xox

  4. I agree with you, Patti. My girlfriends and I have started dressing up to the max on a Friday night when we go to The Club (a very Australian thing). We are in our 50s and 60s but still have a great time and love sharing our outfits. Love your messages and this one is especially good – enjoy what you have x

    • Ah that sounds like the best fun, Lynne! Sharing with our besties makes it even more so. xox

  5. I couldn’t agree more! I dress up for anything nowadays. And even though we were not church goers, I still had clothes which were considered Sunday clothes, which I’d wear when we were visiting my grandparents. These “rules” must have relaxed in early 70s in our family, as I don’t remember any “best” clothes after that. The only thing that were kept for “best” (Sundays and holidays) was my parents’ best dinner service, which was given to them as a wedding present. I own part of that service now, and guess what, I’m only using it once a year, at Christmas! xxx

    • Hi Ann! So interesting that you had Sunday clothes without being associated with church. I hope you enjoy your special dinnerware in the best spirits, xox

  6. Yup, Sunday clothes were strictly Sunday for me too. And it’s a pity because while I loved the clothes, I didn’t especially enjoy where I had to wear them. It was definitely a yay/yuck thing. When space is at a premium I find that I would rather have something special on a shelf than something merely serviceable. Great reminder post.

    • Thanks, Mel. And thanks for the best quote of the week: “I would rather have something special on a shelf than something merely serviceable.” xox

  7. Oh my goodness, Patti you often seem to have your finger on the pulse of my current stream of thought and everyone’s comments here has voiced my thoughts and words on this subject.
    I did have some only for “nice” clothing but we were so poor what I had in my closet had to go for everyday and fresh, clean and ironed for the special days when I was a kid. That upbringing has colored how I view, buy and wear clothing and things my entire adult life.
    But lately I have started to think I would like more nicer clothing to wear to church and out. Everywhere I go everything is so casual it makes it easy to want to be comfortable and casual even at special events. But we have our annual Christmas party at church coming up and I am thinking this year as a first I won’t just wear something I already have in my closet but I will buy a special outfit.
    Last year I put the Correlle dishes I have used since my boys were small in a box in the garage and bought some every day ceramic dishes. My plan was to see if after all these years of Correlle if I could successfully use ceramic so I could then buy a beautiful set of everyday but nice china. I nerve fixed my house up much either before now but I am wanting to get rugs and pillows for the couch and table clothes.

    My boys have both been married for over 13 years and I think it is time I can have nice things and not worry about a football crash or mud pie smear. So I am definitely on board with you post here.

    Sadly when my Grandmother died in the early 80’s my Mom found a drawer of all the things she was “Keeping for good.” She was born very poor in the latter 1800’s and that is what she was taught. Many things in that drawer were still in the gift boxes we gave them in and many still has price tags. The special day of “Good” never came for her and she lost out on not enjoying them.

    • Hi Sue, and thanks for your lovely comments. The story of your grandmother’s “keeping for good” drawer is so familiar. You deserve some nice things in your house and for yourself, and no fear of “mud pies” any more! xox

  8. Hi Love your blog!! I grew up near Nutley, NJ and still live nearby (Kearny, NJ). Small world huh? Part of the time I went to catholic school so I wore a uniform and then I switched to public school and needed to get school clothing. I also had “church” dresses and play clothes. Times certainly have changed and maybe for the better but sometimes I wish there were days when I could dress up and not feel overdressed. It’s so casual now especially for people who don’t work. I should take your advice and just forget about saving certain clothes for special days. Arlene from NJ

    • Hi Arlene! I had family in Kearny. Wearing a uniform to school did simplify things, I’m guessing. Thanks so much for coming by and commenting, xox

  9. When I was very young we had Sunday school clothes. We stopped going to church as soon as my Dad said we didn’t have to go anymore. I must have been six or seven.
    Today, with my massive closet I find myself looking for any reason to get out of my pug friendly clothes and wear some of my vintage collection.

    I used to have quite a taste for fancy dishes. I’ve kept my collection but no longer add to it save for some bunny plates I bought last year. I use them all daily except for my Grandma’s service. That one I save for holidays as I’m too worried I will crack or break them.


    • I think a line of pug-friendly clothes would be a hit! I agree, plates don’t have to be “fancy” to be enjoyable. I remember talking to you about when your dad (and Sandy’s dad) said you didn’t have to go to church any more. For Sandy it was, “well, alrighty then!” xox

  10. My family did the same thing, Patti–Sundays were for the fancy clothes. Maybe that’s why it’s so hard for me now to see many dresses in a casual light. It also explains why I’m so prone to categorize my closet into “good clothes” and “day-to-day clothes.” And when I wear the “good clothes” to something that feels less than special, I feel on display.

    As always, your post is well-timed because I just started experimenting with changing this. On my first attempt out to a casual restaurant last night, I literally wore jeans under a long dress so I would feel more dressed down. No one else could see the jeans but I could feel the comfort they bring me, so I relaxed and felt less obvious. Isn’t that weird? Anyway…I’m going to keep working on this with joy. Your post helps me feel not so alone and it helps nudge me that direction. ❤️

    – Sherry

    • Not weird at all – you’re experimenting outside your comfort zone and looking fab while doing so! I’ll need your coaching for the “jeans under dress” look. xox

  11. We had Sunday-go-to-meeting clothes. We also had school clothes and play clothes, and the two had to remain separate — it was okay to wear play clothes that were stained with red clay (we played pretty hard) but you can’t get those stains out of school clothing. School clothes for girls were ALWAYS dresses or skirt and blouse; play clothes could be tee shirts and shorts or jeans.

    Until middle high. When more than half the school population (all the females) skips school for a week because they were not allowed to wear trousers to school, the principal finally had to bow to pressure from the school board to let girls wear pants to school. “Too distracting to the male students and teachers to see young women in pants,” he pontificated. (It was apparently just fine for us to wear our dresses so short that our hoo-hoos hung out the bottom, and our bosoms hung out the top. Not distracting at all, mmmrrrrmmmph.)

    • Oh yes I remember the big revolution at our Junior High school – for us girls to be “allowed” to wear pants (not jeans). I never knew why young women in pants was so detrimental to education! Thanks for your thoughtful comment, xox

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