The Dress That Changed My Life
Still Gorgeous After All These Years
Posing and All In My Favorite Dress
The year that I got the dress that changed my life was a very poignant one for me. It was 1976, I was 14 years old, one of the few African-American students attending "Orville Wright Junior High" and someone had noticed me for the first time in my life. Not only noticed me but walked right up to me in the middle of the crowded quad at lunch time and said, "You're the most beautiful girl I've ever seen." I was so stunned that this cute White boy would say that to me I almost forgot to say, "Thank you." Later, in 9th Grade, when I went shopping with my mother at "Fox Hills Mall" for my graduation dress I remembered that day and how my admirer made me feel and I wanted a dress that would make me feel as wonderful. With this dress, and on that day, I wanted to look beautiful, strong and proud.
What The Dress Meant To Me:
I wanted to show the teachers, students and parents that all of the prejudice they tried to throw in my way at "Wright" was a waste of time because I stayed throughout all of their abuse and made it to graduation! When people looked at me, in that dress, I wanted them to see the strong woman I was becoming. One who uses her femininity to overcome obstacles, and instead of allowing toxic situations and people to destroy me I fight and rise above them.
Long, romantic and ultra-girly the dress is made out of a light cotton fabric with green ribbon trim around the collar and structured bodice. It has a wraparound ruffled collar that continues to the back and the ruffle is repeated at the hem, to the floor. The tie-back self-belt is attached to both sides of the bodice section and when tied makes a pretty bow. The print is what really caught my eye at first because it looked like an Impressionist painting with a soft, light green, blue, pink and white palette. Little white manor houses are arranged sporadically all over the fabric in the mood of Jane Austen stories, giving the fabric a narrative quality.
A Lifelong Companion:
Whenever I've moved that dress has come with me, and I even pull it out of my closet now and then to make sure it still fits. I still love it and would enjoy wearing it again when I find the right occasion. After all these years and through countless wardrobe changes it's still one of the most beautiful garments I've ever owned. It gives me strength and never stops inspiring me when I'm down. It's my muse, and best of all, souvenir of one of my best memories. Now that I've successfully overcome most of the negativity others tried to inflict on me and my two year struggle with Stage II A breast cancer I'm happy the dress I chose for my junior high graduation still brings me so much pleasure.