House Dress: What You Need to Know

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While searching for items to buy that would keep you comfortable at home, you might’ve come across the house dress, a garment typically worn by older women. It’s possible that you even spotted a few house dresses that you wouldn’t mind wearing. However, you might not know where you’d wear these dresses and why they tend to come in handy for women of all sizes. Keep reading to get all the information you could need on this garment choice!

Where Did the Idea of the House Dress Come From?

The idea of the house dress dates back to the 19th century! It got its term because women were wearing these comfortable cloth dresses while staying home to do different things, such as prepare meals in the kitchen or clean the home. They wouldn’t wear these dresses while leaving the house because they weren’t ideal for that, possibly since they were somewhat too casual, but these dresses did come in handy for household chores.

It’s something that women, and even some men, have continued to wear for centuries. There’s a good chance that your mother, grandmother, or great-grandmother wore these dresses while they’re relaxing at home.

House Dress: What You Need to Know

Are People Starting to Wear House Dresses More Often?

While some people think of the house dress as a garment for the elderly, that isn’t true. Sure, older women often wear these dresses to relax at home because they know they’re comfortable and don’t feel like wearing shorts or pants. However, anyone of any age can wear a house dress and feel good while doing it. During the pandemic, more people stayed home than ever before because of restrictions in their area.

As a result, those people were looking for items that they could wear to keep them comfortable. House dress sales increased during the pandemic. The younger generation embarked upon something they thought was only for aging adults! It’s now common for younger adults, teens, and even children to wear house dresses while they’re at home.

Why Do People Wear House Dresses?

People wear these for several great reasons. These are a few reasons why you might see someone wearing one of these dresses while at home, and prompt you to give them a try yourself:

  • They’re comfortable! When you’re sitting at home, you probably don’t want to wear tight jeans or an uncomfortable shirt. You want to feel as comfortable as possible, and these make that possible. These garments consist of material that feels good against the skin. 
  • They’re easy enough to put on within seconds. They’re also easy to throw on because you don’t need to wear anything else with them. If you don’t feel like wearing pants, shorts, or a skirt, you don’t have to.
  • You can find them in lots of neat styles. They come in thousands of unique styles, colors, and prints. You can find varieties that make you feel good while keeping you comfortable.
  • You can get household chores done with them. You don’t want to get your outside clothes dirty while doing chores. If you’re wearing your house dress, you don’t have to worry about spilling something on it, such as bleach while you wash your laundry or dirt from mopping the floors. It’s the perfect garment to wear when cleaning.
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Is It the Same Thing as a MuuMuu?

The house dress is similar to a MuuMuu. The MuuMuu is a loose dress that originated in Hawaii. It looks similar to a shirt, but it’s longer like a robe that you’d wear when getting out of the shower. The MuuMuu will typically consist of floral patterns and bright colors that you’d often associate with Hawaii, such as bright blue, orange, yellow, and red. Casual Dress and MuuMuu’s/Caftan

While there are many similarities, the MuuMuu is a bit different than the house dress. Some house dresses are shorter, while others are longer. House dresses can come in any color, including shades of black, gray, and brown.

How Much Does a House Dress Cost?

The cost of these dresses depends on several factors, including the specific style you’re selecting and where you’re buying them. While designer brands may charge a bit more, you can get these garments for less than $20 at many different sources, such as Walmart, Target, and Amazon.

If you’re thinking about getting a house dress, check out some of the available options before you buy anything. You can check out styles, colors, and prices before making your selection.

Are There Different Types of House Dresses?

I live in a small town in Southern Utah, about the only store that has some, is Dillard’s. As I walked around taking pictures, I wonder what people were thinking as they watched me. I use my phone for pictures, so it’s not like I was setting up my own photography session, but it was fun to see some more modern dress options.

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My mother was a great seamstress, that’s how I learned to sew. She used to make a dress she would wear every day called a Caftan. I couldn’t find any of those.

House Dress: What You Need to Know

There are several types of house dresses. Some of the options you’ll find during your search for one include:

  • Sleeveless Dresses. When you want to get chores done without getting too hot, sleeveless house dresses are an excellent choice. It’s like wearing an a-line shirt with more length to cover more of your body.
  • Tea-Length Dresses. Cover more of your body in tea-length house dresses that go past the knee. These are perfect for those looking for modest options.
  • Long-Sleeved Dresses. If you tend to get cold inside the home, keep yourself warm by wearing a house dress with long sleeves.

Besides these options, you’ll notice that some of the house dresses come in different materials, such as cotton, fleece, and silk. Cotton fabric is an excellent option because it can keep you comfortable and it’s easy to clean. However, fleece is ideal in the winter, and silk is a great choice in the summer when you’d like to stay cool and comfy.

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Final Word 

If you’d like to buy a garment that you can wear around the house to stay comfortable and get things done, you need a house dress. These dresses have been around for centuries, and people of all ages can wear them. Never feel like you’re too young or too old to wear a house dress.

Check out some of the styles available at different stores, make comparisons, and then choose a few to buy and use at home. You’ll be glad that you have these comfortable dresses to wear whenever you’re doing something around the house, such as washing dishes, doing laundry, or cooking for the family. If you like to wear house dresses, I’d like to hear what type you like, what prompted you to give them a try, and any other ideas you could pass on to my readers. Thanks for stopping by my website. May God Bless this world, Linda. 

39 thoughts on “House Dress: What You Need to Know

  • June 24, 2021 at 8:06 am
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    Linda, I love, love, love house dresses! I wear them every day! Sometimes, I’ll even put on a shrug and wear them to run out to the store or wherever. My mantra is: comfortable, cotton ( I live in Florida so it’s always hot), size and convenience! So, if I find a house dress I like, I buy it in every color and print they make!

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    • June 24, 2021 at 9:41 am
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      Hi Beth, oh my gosh, you are my kind of woman!! I tell you, comfort and cotton in the heat are the very best! I’ve started seeing every age in my town wearing them. Yay!! Linda

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  • June 24, 2021 at 8:30 am
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    I got some on a trip to Mexico in bright colors with beautiful embroidery. I was surprised how comfortable they are and easy to wash. Even though they were cotton they came out of the dryer beautifully with no need to iron. I remember my mother wearing them and thought they were for old ladies and out of style until I saw a very fashionable neighbor wearing one to water plants out front! I’d better buy some more! or go on another trip!

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    • June 24, 2021 at 9:44 am
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      Hi Kay, oh yeah, buy some more on another trip! I bet the ones from Mexico are beautiful! Having the embroidery on them is the frosting on the cake! It’s all about comfort and being cool! Linda

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  • June 24, 2021 at 8:38 am
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    I LOVE housedresses! You can find vintage patterns and make them in different styles or go with modern casual. I wear some of mine out and about, they’re still more formal than what a lot of women wear in public and at least it doesn’t look like you’re running around in your underwear. I pick up simple, comfortable jersey dresses at the thrift shop to wear as nightgowns too. If you have to answer the door while wearing one you can at least sort of pretend you’re not still lounging around in your jammies. My mom always wore housedresses at home but we had to get all gussied up if we went out, even if it was just to the grocery store. Hats and gloves were absolutely essential. Extra special outfits if going to the big department stores downtown, a rare treat.

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    • June 24, 2021 at 9:50 am
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      Hi Alice, I love house dresses too! I wish I had my mom’s vintage patterns of her caftans!! I LOVE LOVE LOVE your comment about not looking like we are running around in our underwear!! Oh my gosh, I got the giggles! We can be comfortable but look nice at the same time. I remember only wearing hats and gloves on Easter Sunday. But, I grew up pretty poor, even though we didn’t know how poor we were. Do you remember the store Woolworths? I think that was the name. We did dress up to go there and it was called a nickel and dime store as I remember. Oh, the great memories! Linda

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  • June 24, 2021 at 8:59 am
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    My mother always wore these. I still have one of hers: sleeveless and comes to my knees. Very comfy to do housework in or even sleep. I wish I could find ones with big front (square) pockets. I have a couple of my mom’s ‘house coats’, which are different than house dresses as they are meant to go over a nightgown, so have button or snap fronts. . House dresses were meant to be fairly sturdy, lol.

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    • June 24, 2021 at 9:52 am
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      Hi Wendy, oh yeah, the big front pockets! I forgot about those. My house dresses do not have those. I do remember the term house coat, now that you say it. I have some great memories of both of them. Love it! Linda

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  • June 24, 2021 at 10:11 am
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    Amerimark.com has a good selection of house dresses and mumus. They also carry those aprons that have a snap front and look like a vest. Cobbler aprons, I think. Those are so handy when canning or making jelly because they cover you from the waist up.

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    • June 24, 2021 at 10:48 am
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      Hi Angela, oh I will be looking for those, I have not heard of Cobbler aprons!! I love the Amerimark brand too!! Linda

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  • June 24, 2021 at 10:43 am
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    I purchased pretty, patterned cotton sheets from thrift stores and upcycled them into dresses. I was raised by a Mum that didn’t wear anything scruffy, picture June Cleaver, so it was nice to find a pattern and vintage fabric to work with. It brought back some interesting memories of mum scrubbing floors in a dress, pantyhose, hair done up and always blue slippers!

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    • June 24, 2021 at 10:50 am
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      Hi Hilary, oh I wish that show Leave it to Beaver was still on, oh the memories!! June Cleaver, oh my gosh, the perfect mom!! I can’t imagine doing the floors in pantyhose, oh my gosh, your mom was amazing, I’m sure! I can almost picture the blue slippers! What a great tip to find pretty patterned sheets at the thrift stores and make dresses out of the fabric! I love it! Linda

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  • June 24, 2021 at 10:53 am
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    Another place to get good house dresses is The Vermont Country Store. I get their catalog and oogle over the house dresses all the time. That catalog isn’t inexpensive but it has alot of nostalgic items in it. House dresses don’t look real good on me so I just go with knit t-shirt type and skirts. I love the aprons my grandmother used to wear (60’s-80’s) and I’ve been searching for a pattern for years. I can come close but can’t quite get it. It’s not the cobbler apron but I like those too, it’s more along a pinafore. It has shape and style and covers all the way in the front and down to mid-thigh (knees to me cuz I’m short!) I must have been born in the wrong era…I love the style of the 1940’s and 50’s AND I love hats! I could be that eccentric lady on the block if I started dressing like that!

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    • June 24, 2021 at 11:12 am
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      Hi Robbie, oh, I need to look into that store, I love vintage everything. I will sign up for the catalog. I love Lehmans as well. That’s my dream someday to go and see it. I will take a small car, so I would be limited as to what I could bring home. LOL! Oh my gosh, I see a few aprons on that sight I would want. I will just drool over them right now! WOW! I love that website! Now I see what the cobbler apron is, my grandmother and my mom wore one of those!! Linda

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    • June 24, 2021 at 9:44 pm
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      Robbie, I love the fashions of the 40 & 50s! I too love hats! The Vermont Country Store catalog is awesome, but is expensive.

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      • June 25, 2021 at 5:17 pm
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        I wish I could dress like Lucille Ball did in I Love Lucy – I love that style. More so the 40’s during the war. If I lived in Great Britain I could get away with wearing hats but here, I’d just look like a crazy old bag lady! I noticed that Kohl’s has house dresses but alas, I’d just look frumpy in those too. I’m really top heavy and it’s hard to find dresses that fit my top and don’t look like Omar the Tentmaker made the bottom half. Skirts and tops it is for me!

        I’m not svelte enough (tag…overweight!) for the 40’s and 50’s clothes but I think if I were better at sewing clothes and altering, I could maybe make it work. As it is, I make quilts instead. And repair clothes that the gkids and great gkids tear or need altering.

        If you find any catalogs that clothes that would fit 2X in the top and Large on the bottom, pass on the info! I’m always looking out for new places especially since Dress Barn closed down.

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        • June 25, 2021 at 5:59 pm
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          Hi Robbie, oh I loved I Love Lucy!! Oh, what great memories! Linda

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  • June 24, 2021 at 10:57 am
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    I took two inexpensive T-shirts and made one for myself. So comfy. I need to make several more as well. We have lots of T-shirts from travel and buying them on sale. I will be putting big pockets on my next ones. Gotta have pockets when cleaning or whatever. LOL Cotton is always best for me. I’d have every article of clothing in cotton if possible. And pink. Love me some pink. The dress I made is blue. We didn’t have any pink ones. You can also add fabric to the bottom, middle or top of a T-shirts and made a comfy dress out of that. Yes, I’ve done it. It’s not hard to to.

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    • June 24, 2021 at 11:14 am
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      Hi Deborah, oh my gosh, you are amazing! I forgot you love pink, I love it!! I like cotton too! And it’s softer nowadays or at least the more you wash it. I love being creative and upcycle things. Linda

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      • June 24, 2021 at 11:36 am
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        I love recycling things, too. Waste not want not. If I haven’t used something in a reasonable amount of time, I will donate it, otherwise I get rid of it. I’d rather donate than throw it away. I guess that comes from being poor and growing us like I did.

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        • June 24, 2021 at 12:03 pm
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          Hi Deborah, I totally get it. I grew up poor and so did Mark. It’s so funny I watched that show “Tidying Up”. Oh my gosh, I was a maniac decluttering. I had a granddaughter here going to school who was living with me for the year. We watched all the episodes, and giggled the whole time! You soon learn how little you can live with. I remember decluttering and thinking “why did I buy this?” I donated so many things and I have not missed one of them. I really want to live a more simplistic minimalistic life. But with Kitchen gadgets!! LOL! I love to cook! Linda

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          • June 24, 2021 at 5:14 pm
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            Linda, you can never have too many kitchen gadgets! I love the old fashioned gadgets. I have an egg beater, and my grandmothers sifter. The can still be used, too. I like all the new fa glee ones, too. I’m trying to get the manual gadgets. You just never know. My down fall is crafting items. I have so many different crafts I love. From sewing to paper crafts and almost everything in between. I don’t know how to tat, yet. Well, I can needle tat, but want to learn how to use a shuttle. I do have a small weaving loom. I’ll be using it soon to make some Dish cloths. I can use cotton yarn, and have.
            Right now I’m doing Scripture Journaling.

          • June 24, 2021 at 5:56 pm
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            Hi Deborah, oh my gosh, look at you! I love to craft but I’m busy writing or cooking for my blog each day. I remember buying a bunch of beads, my sister and I had it in our head to make jewelry. Oh, then we bought stuff to make homemade cards. We figured we spent more than what we would have paid for a SPECTACULAR Hallmark card collection! LOL! Oh, the joys of crafting. Linda

  • June 24, 2021 at 11:19 am
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    Oh, be careful at Lehman’s! The main store is in Kidron, Ohio but they have a smaller one or two in Ohio, also. Kelly and I have been there several times and it takes a loooong time to go through it all! They have super expensive shipping fees tho so that prohibits us from buying too much online. I have an obsession with kitchen gadgets and stuff and that places is deadly to me. Also, they have all the different lines of vintage/reproduction appliances like Elmira, anything you could need for woodstoves, etc. I just drool over that stuff. I wish I could outfit my kitchen with it all but 1) it’s way out of my budget and 2) it wouldn’t fit without moving my counters/cabinets. They have all the old fashioned candies, toys, Amish everything, oh! and the lighting! lots of vintage lighting and they’ll electrfy any gas lamp you want and put it all together with what shade and base you pick out. Anything you need for canning or dehydrating; food storage-they have it. They do have a small cafe in there which comes in handy when you’ve been there for hours and get hungry. Now this is making me want to go back there now, too!

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    • June 24, 2021 at 12:10 pm
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      Hi Robbie, now I really want to go there even more! I only get the catalog, but wow! I have purchased a few things online when they had free shipping. I would drool over those kitchen appliances as well. I’m not sure I will ever get back there, but it would sure be fun! Oh the small cafe, to keep me there a bit longer! Love it! Linda

      Reply
  • June 24, 2021 at 11:24 am
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    Interesting article. I had not thought about the term “house dress” in a long while. I do like to work in my gown & robe in the morning as long as I dare. When it is very hot I have a couple knit dresses I wear at home to work. I have a friend on the mission field who also enjoyed wearing the long colorful dresses and tops of her region. I often thought they appeared quite comfortaable. It’s a good idea. I may extend my wardrobe – use up some of that stashed fabric. 🙂

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    • June 24, 2021 at 11:55 am
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      Hi Diana, I had forgotten about the house dress as well until last year. I really didn’t get out much, and I found myself wearing my house dress more often. No one ever came to the front door except the mail lady. I get up at 4:30 every morning to work on my blog, so I don’t usually get dressed until 10:00 or so. Well, I thought to myself who am I dressing up for? No one comes over here. Of course, I want to shower and brush my teeth and be presentable, but comfort is my new thing, I guess. The stashed fabric, we all have some of that. I need to go check out mine! Linda

      Reply
  • June 24, 2021 at 11:45 am
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    Check thrift stores for the apron you want and after you’ve washed it, pick the seams apart and remove all the threads. Then iron the pieces with a stiff starch.

    I use 1″ graph paper that’s 24 x 36″. Or you can purchase pattern making paper at a fabric store. Use the stiff fabric pieces to make a pattern on the graph paper complete with markings if you need them.

    Now you have your pattern to make a sample for adjustments, etc. And then you’re set to make your dream pinny.

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    • June 24, 2021 at 12:05 pm
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      Hi Hilary, oh what a great idea!! I love love love to sew and make my own patterns! I love your comment! Linda

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  • June 24, 2021 at 5:07 pm
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    My mom, Darlene, was well known for wearing her muumuu. I always saw it on her after work and especially on Saturdays.

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    • June 24, 2021 at 5:53 pm
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      Hi Diane, oh my gosh, I love hearing this! Every woman needs a muumuu or a house dress! Linda

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  • June 24, 2021 at 5:22 pm
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    My first ever sewing project was a half apron. I was in 8th grade and in Home Ec class. We took a yard of 36” fabric and made it out of that. No pattern. It had two big pockets. Now, I have quite a few aprons. Most are half aprons but I have several full aprons, too. I have a pattern I bought for a reversible full apron that uses only 2 yards of fabric. One yard for each side. I made a lot for Christmas gifts one year.

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    • June 24, 2021 at 6:00 pm
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      Hi Deborah, I swear we are sisters, my first sewing project was a half apron. Back then we had to sew two or three rows of long stitches, then we would pull the threads to gather the skirt. 20 years later I heard about a ruffler attachment. Oh my goodness, life behind a sewing machine is so fun. We can create whatever we want. That reversible apron sounds awesome. I love homemade gifts! We could talk forever.Linda

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  • June 24, 2021 at 9:11 pm
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    I usually wear a house dress, often with a pinafore or apron over it. The only thing I can’t do well in one is garden.

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    • June 25, 2021 at 6:27 am
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      Hi Barbara, oh I love hearing this! Oh my gosh, I love hearing the work, pinafore!!!! I have great memories of pinafores! This is so fun to hear how people wear a house dress! This brings me so much joy! Thank you for sharing! Linda

      Reply
  • June 25, 2021 at 12:34 am
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    My Mom made her own house dresses, she was an excellent seamstress, and I followed in her footsteps.
    I wear cotton dusters and mumus at home, as well as for doing chores.
    I have some cute mumus and sandals to wear when going to the grocery store. It’s all about comfort and staying cool for me
    My daughter in law loves to wear the vintage style dresses for going to church!!

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    • June 25, 2021 at 6:34 am
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      Hi Janet, oh my gosh, I love love love hearing this! It really is all about staying cool and being comfortable these days! I can almost visualize your DIL’s vintage dresses! Life is so good! Linda

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  • June 28, 2021 at 11:20 am
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    I had a house dress at one time and I LOVED it. I wore it as a nightgown then get up and go out to the garden
    or do things around the house like canning, baking or just whatever and loved it. I don’t have one now because I hate going shopping for clothes ( I think women around the world just fainted). My mom use to make my clothes since I am overweight so I never had to shop for clothes. I might pick out the material but that is all. I guess I should check Walmart
    for Just My Size house dresses. To me house dresses are aprons, you can use them for many things.

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    • June 28, 2021 at 11:30 am
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      Hi June, you and I are in the same club, I think. I do not like to shop for clothes. Therefore I only have 5 tops and 5 capris. That’s it. I call it my uniform, literally they are all black. I wash every 5 days! LOL! I wear my house dress until noon or so, then shower and get dressed in my uniform. I don’t have to think about what to wear, they are all the same. I love working in the garden in my house dress as well. It’s cooler. Great minds think alike. Linda

      Reply

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