Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Horse Sense

    May I have back that dress I gave you....? 

    Remember that perfect dress ... or the slacks ... or the suit that you could not live without? And where is it now?

    Clothes come in and out of our lives on a regular basis and -- if you're like me -- they're given away when you drop a dress size and madly longed for when you go up two sizes.

    From my youth, I can remember two items of clothing from Rolands, one of those exclusive Illinois stores that has long since closed. One was a pink and white jersey that felt like spun sugar ... which quickly melted and twisted into a cotton candy lump when I used too hot an iron.

    The other was a bright yellow Pollyanna dress (think sunshine) with gathered waist and puffy sleeves. I was sure I looked lovely; more likely a lemon. Where did that dress go. Or, do I really, really care?

    Another never-to-be-forgotten ensemble was my first paisley print pantsuit. It was custom-made by the local seamstress and started the pantsuit revolution. Maybe, all by itself.

    Some dresses though have come to symbolize our youth and sexual allure. I still remember a plum-colored knit, long to mid-calf, with batwing arms. (The better to hide my inheritance from my grandmother ... upper arms that resemble Dumbo's ears, ready to take off at the first breeze.) Ah, how those sleeves hid things!

    Many a time, I wore that dress to social events and dinners where I hoped to attract and enchant the opposite sex. Alas, that never happened, but I never blamed the dress. Must have been the men and their lack of fashion sense.

    This dress went to sister-in-law Paula, who was involved in theatre, and whom -- I was sure -- would pursue many theatrical entrances in this number. Can you hear me Paula? If that dress is hanging in the recesses of your closet, I'd love to try it on again. Or, if it's long since demised, I'd love to know how it met its fate.

    Janet, Judy and Sharon -- my sisters in Illinois -- benefited from many of my wardrobe discards. I used to travel extensively and could only manage those things that would fit into a suitcase. At the same time, I was a polished and inveterate shopper. The two would not seem to mesh, except that I gave away as often and as much as I acquired.

    I do remember a velvet jacket, but not much more. (Note to sisters: see message to Paula.)

    Janet once had a slinky black cocktail dress that was strapless and had its own velvet jacket. I remember that particularly from a trip we girls took together to Las Vegas.

    We had tickets to a dinner performance and were sliding onto the cushions around the nightclub's round table. I slid around first and then Judy, when suddenly Janet screamed "Stop, stop!"

    Judy was sliding around the table and grabbing at what she thought was the tablecloth. Instead, it was Janet's strapless slinky black cocktail dress -- now X-rated. Jackets are a blessing!

    But we're getting off track here. Girls, you'll have to tell stories about your dresses on your own time.

    Again, I remember a white knit, mid-calf (they seem so elegant at that length) with a smocked top and ballooning sleeves (the batwings again). I was a fairy princess in that, until I saw a photograph someone took of me. The dress immediately went into the back of the closet -- on the floor, I think -- and was never heard from again.

    Speaking of "fairy princesses", I was one in first or second grade. Aunt Flava, one of my grandmother's sisters, gave us dresses for the Christmas play. Mine had a black velvet bodice with little glass diamonds sewn in and a taffeta skirt of black and gold plaid.

    It was truly magic. The best dresses are.