Saturday 23rd October 2021

What Is ‘Dress With Purpose’? 41/51. #LifeThisWeek. 103/2019.

What Is ‘Dress With Purpose’? 41/51. #LifeThisWeek. 103/2019.

Thank you Maria: Linky Is Open again!!

When you have a reason to get up each day, for example, going to work, then you dress with purpose. Whatever your employment conditions require.

This is likely to be less so  of course on holidays and weekends when you determine this for yourself. And yes, it could be PJs all day!But, when you retire then what happens? It takes an adjustment for you that is for sure.

One such adjustment can be about what to wear when there is no longer a job or career calling you.

PJs all day? For me, no. But then again, I did get caught up as a somewhat sad soul (and then cancer arrived) in actually not caring about my physical appearance for some time.

This was 30.11.2016. My 67th Birthday. I MADE myself dress in something bright & wear makeup and a smile.

For more of the back story, I lost a lot of weight thanks to anxiety and IBS. It was over time and no-one was concerned about the effect of it except me. I actually thought it might mean I had cancer. Oh, wait. I did..eventually found that out. It’s a bit more complex than weight/size issues this post of mine. Firstly I had to change my belief system of being worthy of dressing well. And then, over time as I did, I knew I literally needed new clothes. The old and baggy ones did nothing for my morale nor my outside appearance.

My Head and Neck Cancer diagnosis took precedence of “everything” really, although I recall needing to accept I literally had to buy lots of night attire and underwear that actually fitted even though my appearance was the last thing I considered in those months from May 2017 until July 2017. Once I was back home, for the months of July, August and September I was getting dressed each day but it was usually a tee shirt & comfy beach-pants (I had my leg in a boot for weeks and it still needed treatments from a community Nurse for 3 months.

My initial reasons for “Dressing with Purpose”.

  • By October 2017 I was far more independent physically after the gruelling time since diagnosis and major reconstructive surgery so decided I needed a challenge of sorts.
  • I’d been following “outfit of the day” for sometime and various aged friends took part in this on Instagram daily. I got the bug…to show what I looked like and to be proud (as I could anyway with no top teeth) of my appearance from now.
  • I thought I would do this every day till I turned 68. I didn’t. It lasted a lot longer than that.
  • It truly was fun but it was more than that, I MADE myself do this because I NEEDED to have a routine and dressing with purpose and going out solo for a coffee (with my art journal) became it.
  • My husband was happy to see me well and agreed to be my Instagram photographer.
  • There are stories about it here, here and here.

Now Here’s Why I Continue to “Dress with Purpose”.

  • I need to do this.
  • Recently I was feeling a bit concerned about ‘my cancer returning’ and sad…but past me who would have cried and stayed home said “NO”. I am telling myself this is what I do and off I went to the local shops, dressed with purpose, had my coffee, and wrote about it in my art journal.
  • I have a routine that is not really strict but I need some structure in my day.
  • I no longer want to ‘show off my new clothes’ because there are not many these days. This does not mean empty wardrobes people. Full!
  • I do want to show me (and anyone who remains interested) that my appearance is OK.
  • know that I have gained weight since I got my upper prosthesis in Aug 2018 but also that this has been healthy for me
  • I strive to remember that…above: It is for my health. As a long-time body critic this is taking reminders to me every day!
  • I feel better for getting out each day, even if it is just to get the paper, have a coffee, people watch and play in my art journal
  • I enjoy moving my body more in the clothes and good sneakers I have so it is not an effort to do around the recommended for me steps: 6K-7K
  • I like looking at me in the mirror and liking her more than ever.
  • I do have a photo taken from time to time but have stopped the daily one ages ago.




This post is also a reminder to me of how far I have come post cancer.

Go me. As they say.

I do try to encourage myself as well as others! Someone told me the other day I am an ‘encourager’ and I liked that.

So, do you dress with purpose?



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Next Week’s optional prompt is: 42/51 “Self Care Stories” 21/10/19

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  1. Such a positive post Denyse! I can understand the dress with a purpose thinking as once you retire from working it can be easy to get caught up in the ‘it doesn’t matter what I wear’ cycle. I always make an effort when going down the street these days and enjoy wearing a variety of styles that suit my mood for the day. I agree you definitely are an encourager and an inspiration as well. You have come a long way that’s for sure!

    • Thank you Deb, I love “going down the street” as an expression because it reminds me of our country life days.

      I think we would chat up a storm when we got together as we have very similar career and life experiences.

      Here’s to us!!

      Denyse x

  2. Hi Denyse, I have seen such a change in you and I think Dressing with Purpose has been a wonderful idea for you. I know at the moment I’m usually in workout gear but I also know that when I put something on that looks and makes me feel good my self-confidence just grows. Once you don’t have to get up and get dressed for work it can become more difficult to make an effort that is for sure. Then you are on the downward slide to just not caring anymore which isn’t good for our self esteem or morale. It’s a great idea Denyse and inspiring as well. Have a great week.

    • Thank you so much Sue for your kindly and astute observations.

      I think if I was working out as much as you do, I would be in those clothes too.

      I am delighted that I have the choice to get dressed with purpose and go out each day as it is not an option for some as they age and for some who have cancer too.

      Enjoy your week in the lovely GC.

      Denyse x

  3. I have never dressed with purpose because clothes just don’t mean that much to me. I care about how they feel on me, not how they look. I wore pants with holes in them all weekend because it was the only fabric I could stand that day and I felt great for it.
    I have a pile on of bills right now but I need to find the money for shoes because wearing cheapo ones with no support are really holding me back right now. But I hate shopping and have terrible luck with shoes so I don’t want to. But I really need to. Sigh. I will hopefully know more in the next week or so about plans and expenses.

    • I have usually been caring about what I wear and when I noticed I wasn’t it actually meant, for me, a downturn in mood as well. Hence, the ‘challenge’ worked and I had to buy new clothes as everything from my past was literally falling off me.

      I hear you on clothes needing to ‘feel’ ok on you and your sensitivity to that must make it so hard if and when you need new clothes. The shoes debacle for you is not fun at all. There is no doubt we both need to try shoes on. I literally can only wear sandals a or high toe end shoes now because of deformities in my toes called hammer toes.

      I sure hope you get something that works for you given the amount of walking you do.

      Denyse x

  4. I really should dress with more purpose. The only time I really do is if we’re out for a meal or if I have to be in Sydney for work. As a result my wardrobe is seriously depleted & my inclination to rectify that is low. Having said that, I’ll be putting together a travel wardrobe of sorts for a deep winter trip to the UK in December – and looking forward to buying something special over there for Christmas lunch.

    • If I went for a morning walk as you do then I would have to get dressed into something for that. I tend to stay in my nightie as I eat breakfast and so social media catch ups and then by 10.30 or so get dressed to go out.

      Because I often do messy art etc once I am back home, I change into day to day beach pants or shorts and a top and IF I ever get my act together will get back to beach walk in the arvo.

      I love that you are looking forward to such a different Winter and yes, you definitely need something special for Christmas Lunch.

      I am thinking about what I want to wear for my very casual family lunch on my 70th that will be at home. I want to mark the occasion in something new too.

      Denyse x

  5. What an inspiring read reminding us all that how we dress influences so much more. Thank you

    • Thank you so much. I knew I needed to change what I was doing post-operatively as my recovery proceeded. It worked!!

      Denyse x

  6. Sending the highest Light, Love & Harmony to you today and every day. You have written a magnificent story, if only we could find more of these wonderful stories. May you always have beautiful stories to tell us. Peace, Love and Joy.

  7. Hi Denyse, I love the idea of dressing with purpose to make yourself feel better. I’ve always struggled with all the clothes that need to be bought for people to wear something different for OOTT, but dressing well and recycling and mixing up clothes you already own is a great way to look good and not be contributing to landfill and consumerism.
    I hope your linky gets sorted quickly xx

    • I too did get a bit carried away as my husband will attest…with how much I bought (all on special of course) and I admit some clothes that were my size in post-op 2017 no longer fit but I have shared them with family.

      I am hoping what I have now will continue to do me and I am preferring to buy art materials to clothes these days!!

      I am no longer doing a different outfit of the day but that was my purpose when I did it for the first year. I must admit it was a challenge I enjoyed.

      Thanks for your kind words.


      PS Still no linky but the company is based in Greece so I hope I hear back later on.

  8. Looks like you have tech issues too. Fun times…

  9. So much positivity in this post – it’s so good to hear that you feel as fabulous as you look! I think “encourager” is the perfect word for you although I think you’d have to add “motivator” to your list of credentials!

    • Thank so much Sammie, today, I am getting over a ‘bug or something’ and needed some motivating by my dear husband!

      Feeling a bit better today.

      Denyse x

  10. Amazing post Denyse, upholding self esteem certainly does help to carry us through. I know only too well that days without ‘structure’ are the ones where we lose site of purpose and self.

    • Thanks so much Pamela, with your website and followers, you know from experience of yours and others what it means to ‘dress with purpose”.

      Denyse x

  11. Go you! I do agree that our clothes can add to how to feel. It gives us a sense of confidence or purpose as opposed to just sitting in pjs all day, every day. That isn’t to say we don’t do those sorts of days but as you said, it gave you a sense of structure and helped with your mindset. I know I can feel different when I ‘dress up’ and that doesn’t necessarily mean makeup and fancy clothes but just feeling good about myself.

  12. Thanks for sharing this post. I don’t often “dress with purpose” although I do love to feel comfy. My wardrobe is slowly getting less clothes as I declutter… I have many different styles so it is hard to know what I want to keep. I do get that clothing can make you feel great on days that maybe haven’t been your best, although sometimes Pjs generally do the trick for me! Thanks agai for sharing your story.

    • Good to see you back Kerrie.

      Thank you for your thoughts. Everyone has different takes on this I understand and we sometimes need to listen to ‘us’ instead of all the other opinions.

      Denyse x

  13. Good for you , Denyse, to dress with purpose for the reasons you mentioned. I do try to dress up when I go out. Thanks for hosting this week and hooray for getting the link to work.

    • Thank you Natalie. Wise words.

      The link up got back thanks to the lady at the other end finding my emails had gone to spam. She was able to sort it pretty quickly once she saw what I needed which was the change of email address to be added to the account.

      All good!

      Denyse x

  14. Go YOU, indeed!!! You look healthy and happy and very stylish. So far you have come from those post-cancer treatment pictures. Love your radiant smile. Best accessory ever.