I read an article the other day about a woman who wrote a book of her life, based on the outfits she wore. That gave me an idea for an article about my five favorite dresses. When you think about your childhood, what outfits bring to mind special occasions and fond memories? Each dress I am describing in this article brings back a wonderful memory of my childhood. Maybe this will help you think of some fond memories as it did for me.
Just before Easter, my mom had all us kids dress up and she had our pictures taken by a professional photographer. My youngest brother was about 1 or 2 years old at the time, so I must have been about eight. The sleeveless dress I wore in the picture was an off-white color with a wide collar that was shaped like a large daisy. The collar rested on my shoulders and was large enough to drop down in the front and in the back. I could flip the collar up and the edges could come up over my ears. The dress also had a full skirt and when I twirled real fast, the skirt would spread out and stick straight out from my waist. I wore this dress to school a few times and my teacher sent a note home telling my mom that I needed to wear shorts under the dress as I was always spinning on the play ground and all the boys could see my underwear. I loved that dress as I felt like a ballerina when I wore it. I would spin and spin, and make myself very dizzy. The dress disappeared one day – shortly after the teacher sent home that note.
Seventh Grade – “Hand me down” pink and yellow roses dress
The next dress I fell in love with was one that was actually made for my older sister. We were only a year apart so there were many times I got her hand-me-downs. The dress was a beautiful dress with pink roses on the fabric with elbow-length puffed sleeves and a stiff white pinch-pleated organdy collar. I begged to wear the dress for school pictures in the seventh grade as I thought the dress looked like a rose garden. The pink and yellow roses with green leaves were so pretty, I felt like a garden nymph whenever I wore it. Eventually we both outgrew the dress and it hung in the closet for a while. I could not get rid of it, as it was so very colorful.
Eight Grade – “Hand me down” sunshine yellow A-line dress.
Another dress of my sister’s that I really like was a yellow dress with green piping on the sleeves and along the neck line. The dress zipped up the back, had long sleeves and was cut in an A-line style. I have always liked A-line dresses; they made me look taller and thinner. My mom made this one for my older sister and as soon as it was too short for her, I took it. I wore it to school whenever I wanted to look extra special, as the color was gorgeous with my red hair. It reminded me of yellow sunflowers and the green piping made my eyes look green instead of blue. I thought it was a wonderful dress.
First Dress I ever bought with my own money
When I was in high school, I had a job at a deli for the summer. One of the first things I bought with my paycheck was a new dress. It was 1974 and the dress was a “granny dress”. This style of dress was floor length and tied in the back. It was also yellow, but with a Hawaiian flower print on the rayon fabric. It had long sleeves with wide white cuffs and a square neck line. I thought it looked great on me. Unfortunately, I only got to wear it to school once as my step-mother did the laundry and washed the dress in hot water and then threw it in the dryer. It shrunk so much that I could not wear it again. I kept the dress in my closet, even though I could not wear it, because it was the first dress I ever bought with my own money. Eventually I had to give the dress to my little sister.
Christmas Formal, 1974
My senior year of high school, my boyfriend and I decided we were going to the Christmas Formal Dance at school and we therefore needed to buy nice clothes. After spending a couple of weekends at the mall with my step-mother, we finally found a dress that was perfect. The dress was floor-length with an empire waist. The bodice of the dress was white lace with silver tread going through the lace. The sleeves where short, puffed, lace with elastic around the edges. The skirt was a deep dark royal blue, made of crushed velvet. Velvet was very popular in 1974 as I also had a red velvet vest with matching hot-pants that year. Any way, the dress had to be hemmed about six inches and the excess material was used to make a small bag to carry my house key and chapstick. 35 years later, the dress is still hanging in my closet, right next to my Army Uniform and my wedding dress.
Each one of these dresses brings a vivid picture to my mind of a time I was truly happy and felt beautiful. Whether it was a hand-me-down or a dress you worked hard to buy, try to think of the five outfits you wore that made you feel special. Collecting such wonderful memories is a great way to spend a few hours of your time.
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