Monday, May 15, 2006

Monday Memories: The White Dress

Did I ever tell you about THE WHITE DRESS?

I always wanted a white dress growing up; I'm not sure why. I'm a winter in coloring, so white looks good on me and I've always just liked it.

However, whenever I got a new dress (or new to me; most of our clothes were usually second-hand), practicality (a.ka. the voice of my mother, *grin*) won out. I had a lot of dark or bright-colored print dresses, which I also liked.

When I was a teenager, we were getting ready for a family trip to Mexico. My mom and I went shopping for a practical, cool and suitcase-friendly dress.

I don't remember where we were shopping; probably someplace like Fred Meyer, Sears or Ross. But I saw this dress.

It was a white ankle-length dress, with a soft floral print and a white-on-white pattern in shiny pearlized threads knit into the background. It was a simple cut, with princess seams and a button-down front. The little lace collar set it off, and the waist ties at the back customized the fit.

It was brand-new, and it was on sale at a price we could afford.

I loved it.


Mom was a little doubtful about a dress that was primarily white, but agreed after some discussion that the print would probably help hide any stains. So we bought it.

The dress packed beautifully for the trip. It was a type of fabric that could spend days crumpled in a ball and come out completely unscathed, with only the collar needing a bit of smoothing.

I wore that dress to Mexico, to church, to weddings, to picnics and any time I wanted to look especially nice. It always made me feel dressy, but was a simple enough style that it was appropriate for more casual occasions as well.

When DH and I were courting, he mentioned that he really liked that dress. So I wore it as my leaving-the-wedding outfit, and had my first dinner as a married woman in that dress. That was almost 7 years ago.

After I had my first child, AJ, I wasn't sure the dress would ever fit me again. After all, most people aren't still wearing clothes they wore in high school after they have babies--for more than one reason. So I packed it away in the back of the closet.

A few months later, DH wanted to attend the wedding of a friend from college. A lot of people that he knew but that I had never met would be there, including old roomates, friends and a couple of former girlfriends that he particularly wanted to talk to.

I was, to say the least, nervous about meeting this crowd of people from DH's past.

I was feeling frumpy and decidedly unattractive as a new mother, and panicked about what to wear. I didn't have anything that seemed appropriate to wear to a wedding that I would be able to nurse in at all. My only relatively nice nursing-friendly dress was black. We had no money to buy a new dress.

At the last moment, I decided to try on the white dress, just in case. It fit. Actually, with my new nursing figure it fit even better than it had before I had AJ. Someone had given us a frilly white dress for AJ as a baby shower gift, and it went perfectly with my dress. She looked darling in it.

I stepped into the white dress and suddenly felt presentable--even attractive again. DH literally did a double-take when I walked downstairs, and told me how gorgeous I looked whenever he looked at me throughout the evening. That helped me to meet his friends with confidence.

The photo above was taken that day.

I continued to wear the dress whenever it fit between babies. I always wore it with imitation or freshwater pearls and the white strappy shoes I'd bought for our wedding. It always made me feel pretty, even during the seasons I was feeling particularly unlovely.

Yesterday I wore the white dress for Mother's Day. It still fits, and it still looks almost as good as it did the day I bought it. There are a few tiny yellowish stains on it, but as my mother guessed, they blend right into the floral pattern and you'd never notice them if you didn't know they were there. The buttonholes need a few stitches to tighten them after being stretched so many times, but that's an easy repair to do. The collar is starting to show a bit of wear and the fabric is a bit less shiny than before. But all those things are pretty minor. The dress still looks awfully good for as many years as I've been wearing it.

My wedding shoes are finally falling apart (a strap broke yesterday, but I think I may be able to repair it), but the dress is still going strong.

My girls looked up as I walked into the room and said, "Wow, Mommy, you look really beautiful!"

Later, DH said something like, "Did you wear that dress today for me? I really like it."

It's probably outdated, I'm sure. It must be at least 12 or 15 years old. But every time I put it on I remember all the special occasions it's lived through.

It's still my favorite dress.


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Blogger Norma said...

Some dresses just make us feel pretty. I have a "vintage" collecting--I don't wear them, but do save them. A great story with lots of special highlights.

My MM is up.

4:14 PM  
Anonymous Lifecruiser said...

Ah, I so recognize this feeling! It just is like this with certain clothes, they fit like they have been made just for you and they do magic with your figure too.

4:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That sounds very healthy that you've maintained the same size since buying the dress. Very practical and pretty! I used to love my red tenny shoes that way. :o)

4:30 PM  
Blogger liz said...

Lovely post.

Lovely dress.

6:25 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

For me it wsa a yellow dress I always wanted. The one I finally got was very pretty...but not nearly as practical--it wrinkles something awful. :-P

Fun memory. :-)

My MM is up. Thanks for the nudge. ;-)

6:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

that was a really neat story!! I remember that photo. maybe, God will give me the grace to get back to my old figure... before the next pregnancy. ;-)


p.s. I will give you a call sometime but am not sure what would be a good time to call.

6:57 PM  
Blogger purple_kangaroo said...

Thanks, all!

Colleen, now would be a fine time to call. Or in about 20 minutes would be even better. I'll be home all day tomorrow, I think.

8:47 PM  
Anonymous KathyR said...


8:19 AM  
Blogger Bridget said...

This is a really nice post. isn't it strange all the memoreies that can be tied up in our clothing? i just recently bought a white night gown, i had to modify it slightly to make it easier to nurse in but it makes me feel so pretty.

2:35 AM  
Blogger halloweenlover said...

Lovely picture! And sounds like a beautiful dress. I'm so glad you have something like that to slip into that makes you feel beautiful.

10:57 AM  

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