I thought I'd talk about making modest dresses work for everyday life. For working outside, I've already mentioned that I like to wear an a-line denim jumper. It keeps me safe from spinning PTO shafts and other moving parts of equipment. I usually wear a straw hat when outside, but that's because I'm so fair and burn really easily, my face needs the protection. Besides, Colin likes that I'm "Victorian" pale :)
In the house, whenever I'm doing something messy, I wear an apron. I love aprons. The best apron pattern is the Edwardian one from Sense and Sensibility. It's lovely and covers most of my dress. A real bonus when I'm baking, I'm a terrible one for wiping my hands on my hips :) I need to make a few more of these. These are great for messy housekeeping chores too. I'm tempted to make a denim one for in the garden. They have a child's version now, I'm saving my pennies to get that one for Ella. Wearing an apron also makes it more obvious when it's time to sit down and relax in the evening. I finish the supper dishes and off comes the apron. Time to enjoy Colin's company.
Dresses in summer are the coolest clothes to wear. I used to nearly fall over from heat when wearing jeans in the hottest part of summer. But if you wear a dress, it's easy for a cool breeze to blow through and cool you off. I hated wearing shorts, even when I was skinny. Shorts are rarely that flattering and you're skin sticks to everything you sit on. No worries about showing off too much of anything when wearing skirts/dresses, a real concern when wearing shorts and being active. We get very hot and humid up here in Ontario, so I do wear sundresses. But I make sure they fit well and don't gap. Mostly though, I wear short sleeved dresses. Lately I've been thinking of making another 1914 Afternoon Dress by Sense and Sensibility. I've made it before and it's a nice, comfy pattern. One last idea for us larger size ladies. If wearing dresses causes chafing on the thighs, look for cotton bike shorts/leggings. I've worn them for a couple years now, no real extra heat and a lot less pain and discomfort :) Don't forget, a slip is not an option and made out of cotton it isn't hot either.
Winter in dresses is so much warmer than when wearing pants. To start with, women wearing dresses/skirts usually wear a dress coat that is much longer than a jacket. Then there are all the layers one can add under a skirt/dress without adding bulk. We live in northern Ontario (at least were winter is concerned) and this is what I wear -from the inside out. I wear the same leggings in the winter as I do the summer. Then I wear knee socks, if it is extremely cold I can put on a pair of wool knee socks too. Then comes my petticoat/slip. It's nice and full and helps hold in heat. I've been considering making a flannel one for really bitter days. On goes a dress or jumper. Jumpers give you another chance to add more warmth. A turtleneck or long sleeve blouse look nice under casual jumpers. Of course, if it's is crazy cold and we're doing something like cutting down Christmas tree or something, I'll put long underwear on under everything.
Add a good pair of boots -the higher up the leg the better, and a good warm dress coat, scarf, mitts and hat and I'm all set for anything winter can throw at me. I love to throw on a knit shawl over everything. Great for bitterly cold days, looks great too if you ask me.
Ella wears more or less the same as I do. She wears cotton tights year round. Keeps her warm in winter and protects her legs from too much sun in the summer (she's delicate like me). I also am making her some bloomers, because you just can't slow down a little girl. I may even make some for me, I just like the look.
The one comment about dresses that always makes me laugh is that they are "impracticable" for today. Funny women have worn dresses/skirts for THOUSANDS of years (in much harder lifestyles) and suddenly it's too hard to wear a dress. Apparently it was easier to wear a dress while building the pyramids or homesteading in Colonial America, than it is to wear one nowadays in an air conditioned office while surfing the 'net :)