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Romantic Snowy White Dresses: Find Your Best White Dress
"Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes; Snowflakes the stay on my nose and eyelashes..." These are definitely some of my favorite "white" things. White dresses - soft and romantic, dreamy, sexy, exotic, or devastatingly demure - the choice of twentieth century brides, almost the world over. What is it about a white dress that catches the imagination?
Though white has long been the Asian color for death and mourning, to North Americans and Europeans alike, white symbolizes youth, purity, innocence, and new beginnings. Picture, if you will, a young woman in a simple, cotton, summer dress running joyfully through a field of wild flowers. Graceful multi-hued bells interspersed in clouds of tiny white daisies nod gracefully in the gentle zephyr that kisses the girl's sun-warmed cheek, tossing her errant curls. The golden sun beams down from the brilliant azure sky dotted about with gossamer clouds...
Quick, now - what color is the girl's dress?
Yes, that was a bit of a set-up, but how perfect a picture if she is wearing a white dress...
My love affair with white dresses began the day a parcel arrived from my grandparents. It was soon to be my sister's Grade 12 Graduation, and Grampa had gone shopping for dresses.
Grampa was nothing if not a great shopper, and one with impeccable taste in ladies' wear.
He also sent a dress for my mother, and one for me so we wouldn't feel left out, but the belle of the ball was to be my sister.
Her dress was the most exquisite gown I had ever seen, and my sister was positively radiant.
Of purest white, the dress had tiny, double spaghetti straps, a wide cummerbund waist, and a softly pleated bodice of scalloped silk, with sheerest tulle vertically gathered over all.
The knee-length, silk under-skirt, pouffed out by several dainty net crinolines, was further swathed in a multi-layered, gathered tulle over-skirt. My sister was a vision in white.
My mother's dress had a full skirt, nipped in by a similarly draped, wide cummerbund waist, and featured a wide, scooped neck and three-quarter length, dolmen sleeves.
The soft, silky fabric was printed in dramatic, rich, muted jewel tones that melted one into the other in swirls darkest sapphire, amethyst and midnight green.
It looked quite lovely on her, but I knew her heart was already captivated by the third dress in the box.
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The third dress - my dress - was a simple sheath in shantung silk with a scoop neck, fitted bodice and straight skirt that fell just below the knee. The pure rich sheen of the slub-weave, white silk was relieved only by a foot-deep band of metallic gold embroidery - a rich encrustation that girdled the skirt just above above the hem.
It was one of the most sophisticated dresses any of us had ever seen. I knew both my mother and sister lusted after it, though my sister affected not to be. After all, her dress fit her slim form perfectly, and at an inch or so taller than me, and two sizes smaller than either of us, she was in no jeopardy of having to share her white confection, or even to have to pass it down.
I, on the other hand, shared the same dress size as my mother, and at fourteen years of age, the sophistication of the white sheath was far beyond my grasp to carry off.
My mother immediately appropriated the sheath, as it was "much too old for a fourteen year old", and offered me another lovely dress to make up for it. What choice did I have? I could graciously accede, and make my mother happy, or pout, and lose the amazing, white silk sheath anyway.
I accepted the proffered substitute, but I must admit to a slight, secret yen for "my perfect white dress" ever since.
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I never did get to wear the white silk sheath. I continued to 'develop', and a scant two years later the dress' bodice was much too tight for comfort.
My mother's darkly dramatic dress, though, which had been a bit too big for her when Grampa sent it, had never been worn. Guess who now fit it perfectly?
I must admit, the dark, rich colors suited my blondness far better that had the white sheath. I look much better in off-white than white, to this day.
I think it pained my mother slightly to admit that her dress looked better on me, but I suppose it was a small price to pay in trade for that glorious, gold-embellished sheath.
For those who prefer some color, as well...
© Elle Fredine, 2010, All rights reserved