I walked around work last Thursday like I owned the place. I swished around corners, twirled when I sat down at my desk, even flounced a little on the way to the break room.

I was wearing a new dress.

I buy dresses about as often as I vote for President, not counting primary elections. And if one of my coworkers is correct, I wear dresses to work only about half as often as I buy them. I have worked in my present job more than 8 years, and she said she had NEVER seen me in a dress.

“But I wear skirts sometimes,” I told her.

“Mmmmhhhhmmmm,” she said. “But not dresses. I’ve never seen you in a dress.”

So, maybe she was right.

The CEO of our company saw me in the breakroom, and after complimenting me, she asked, “Is there a special occasion?” Back when our dress code was more casual than it is now, the only reason someone would wear a dress to work was because she had an interview for another job on the way home. She was trying to be subtle.

“No, I just wanted a new dress. So I bought it and decided to wear it to work,” I told her.

“I love it,” she said.

“Yeah, and I thought I ought to step it up a notch.”

She laughed.

I sashayed back to my desk.

Just a couple of weeks earlier I was at church surrounded by women in the cutest dresses. Most of them were casual, loose, made with knits and cottons they could wash and dry at home. Suddenly I was in love with dresses.

The next week, I went shopping and tried on 10 dresses, none of which I was in love with, and none of which ended up fitting me. Those women made dresses look easy. But when I couldn’t find a dress, I decided to buy a pair of shoes, and for the first time ever, I found a pair of wedges that didn’t make me limp. Or trip.

The next week, I was back at it, and eventually found a dress, THE dress, that I wore so proudly. There’s something about a dress that reminds me all day long that God made me a woman, reminders I need when I live an otherwise androgynous life. Not that I want it that way. But with no husband or no children to remind me?

I came home that day and changed into shorts, t-shirt, and sneakers so that I could take Tilly for a walk. The dress is still hanging where I left it. I don’t want to wear it too often, don’t want to ruin the feminine magic I felt when my clothing for the day came all in one piece. One beautiful, flowy garment. Men only get to wear single item outfits when they are wrestling, or in jail.

But if I can’t wear that dress too often, maybe I need to buy another one.

That will really get them talking at work.

Photo by Laineys Repertoire via Flickr, used with permission under the Creative Commons License.