NaBloPoMo Day 21:
Describe an outfit that makes you feel good. (It can be from any period of your life.) Double points if you post a picture of yourself in the outfit.
It was 1980, and Gunne Sax dresses were all the rage. I don’t really know how they caught on; I suppose it was all part of the Little-House-on-the-Prairie, back-to-nature nostalgia that was left over from the 70’s. But popular they were, and they were worn to many a prom and more than a few weddings.
Some of the earlier Gunne Sax dresses were flowered calico and crocheted lace and didn’t look all that dressy; one really might have walked to the one-room schoolhouse in them. But this dress – this dress was something special. It was baby blue, with a slight stripe woven in the fabric. It laced up the front and was trimmed with blue satin ribbons and embroidered floral trim. It was floor-length. I was in love.
It didn’t fit, of course. I was a tiny thing in eighth grade, all of four-foot-ten and completely without a figure. My mom shortened the straps so the dress didn’t gape horribly in the bodice, and she doubled the ruffle at the bottom under itself to make the length more appropriate for me. (All those years of sewing habits in the convent had to pay off somehow!) When paired with my fancy Candies heels, I was set. Not for walking, of course; I was known for falling over on my leather platform sandals at school… from a complete standstill. I pretty much couldn’t walk in the Candies at all, and I spent most of graduation just hoping not to slip.
But I felt beautiful. I had a long dress; I had a corsage; I had high heels. For 13-year-old me, this was the height of glamour, and I was ready, that day, to take the world by storm.
I wore that dress for years. My mom – seamstress that she is! – turned it into a tea-length sundress so I could get more use out of it. I never wore it to another fancy occasion; by the time I went to prom three years later, fancy dresses were all about big skirts and moiré taffeta. But I never stopped loving this dress. Somewhere I have a picture of myself in it at 15. I admired that photo even then, because the color of the dress showed off my dark, dark tan. (When you are too young to get a job and have bus fare and time on your hands in Orange County, you have plenty of time to lay out on the beach.) I’ll have to dig that one up next. These days, nobody ever believes my skin can be anything but ghostly pale!