Easter Dresses

April 8, 2012 at 8:15 am (Life, Memoir) (, , , , , )

I am the little one - almost hiding behind my sisters...

You’ve seen this picture before, click on it to be taken to January’s post about the colour “Yellow.”

It is Easter Sunday today. I will go to church today. I will wear jeans and a sweater (probably).

I will not feel pretty.

Dressing up for Sunday service use to make me feel pretty.

I was a child in the 1960s when dressing your family all alike was a trend.

For an example, see the first picture of this post; my younger brother probably had a shirt made of the same material.

We were poor. We got new dresses two or three times a year, Easter, the first day of school and Christmas. They were not store bought dresses, they were home sewed. My mom would buy the pattern and materials and her friend would do the sewing.

Kathy: Mama Honey Badger, a commenter at Jezebel, talking primarily about slips, explains it best.

I think the reason slips evolved and stuck as a necessity, even when someone’s already wearing so many layers that she doesn’t need them for modesty, is that traditionally, dresses were not washed very often. A slip (or, in previous centuries, a shift) could be washed and dried often and easily, and it would keep sweat off of the dress, so that it wouldn’t need to be more than brushed off after being worn. If you only got a new dress once every few years, it had to last!

Pretty. New dresses use to make me feel pretty.

Dressing up use to make me feel pretty.

Even though, I could wear the same dress (basically) nine years in a row. I was tiny and wore my sisters’ hand-me-downs. Thus, that yellow dress above was something I wore until all three dresses were worn out.

I remember yellow dresses, green velvet dresses and purple fortrel polyester dresses.

I don’t remember getting a choice of what kind of dresses I wanted to wear.

Still, getting dressed up for Sunday service use to make me feel pretty.

I would get up on Sunday morning, put on a dress, tights and black Mary Jane shoes. I would get to wear the necklaces my father’s parents bought me on special occasions (they would buy us necklaces for Christmas and on our birthdays). I wasn’t allowed to wear jewelry anywhere but church. I was a fiddler; necklace chains always broke on me and would get lost.

Still, in spite of all the fuss, I felt pretty.

Until I turned thirteen and noticed what everyone in my peer group was saying. They said that my dresses weren’t stylish and that I didn’t know how to dress.

They weren’t wrong.

I’m not a style guru. I’m not a trend setter. I’m a plain and tall woman with plain taste.

Now, I wear dresses maybe once every decade or so. The last dress I bought was black and makes me feel too tall because the hem falls between my knees and ankles – in the catalog the hem hovers right over the model’s shoe top.

I need a Fairy Goth Mother.

I need a stylist to teach me how to dress.

Or maybe, I just need to ignore everyone’s fashion advice and wear what makes me feel pretty.

Like this or these and then I would go here and party until midnight (or later).


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