When I started thinking of my array of floral dresses that I choose from for Easter Sunday, I remembered a dress I haven’t worn in years. In fact, I couldn’t remember if I still had it, and if I had altered it or not. Sometimes, I start chopping up a dress to make into a skirt or top, and then get distracted and find it mangled years later. And I usually can’t remember what I was going to make it into. I know I have thought of how to alter this particular dress many times. When I went to look for it, I couldn’t remember if it had gotten chopped or not. I was a little worried.
This dress is the first truly vintage piece I ever bought. I was in high school, late 1980’s. One summer when we were visiting family in Salt Lake City, my sister and I who were already thrift shoppers, found ourselves in a vintage shop. I’m sure I didn’t understand the difference back then between thrift and vintage except for price; all I knew was we were surrounded by great clothing. This green and white floral print must be rayon, and I think the tag read circa 1930’s, maybe early ’40’s. It looks handmade, although the buttonholes and buttons look commercial. I honestly don’t know how it has lasted this long in my rambunctious wardrobe. It is worn out and yellowed in some places, but the rayon is strong and still drapes beautifully.
I wore it constantly in Florida where dresses are great for the heat. I remember my high school art history teacher, Dr. Earles, complemented me on it. My first year of college, I wore it with no socks and men’s dress shoes. I’m talking early-grunge, so this was ultra feminine. I remember one late summer evening I went to visit a guy in his dorm. I had a new haircut, my vintage dress and no shoes on. I knew he liked green, and was hoping he liked the dress, that is, liked me in the dress. The kiss didn’t happen till later that semester, but I’d like to think the dress had something to do with it.
I would also wear it to the university’s performing arts center, where I volunteered as an usher with my best friend so we could see the play or opera or symphony for free. This was an easy dress for such occasions.
I realize I haven’t worn this dress for decades. The dress does have a homely, hausfrau look to it from here. I don’t remember it that way. Maybe that’s why I didn’t wear it for so long. I found it at the bottom of a pile of clothes (one I keep for sentimental reasons); it wasn’t cut up at all! I’m glad my past self had the sense not to change it. But I want to freshen it some way, maybe wear it again this summer. For now, it will be my Easter dress, maybe with a shorter skirt and cap sleeves.