I was in seventh grade when I got it. My mom bought me an outfit that made my heart patter and made me feel grown up. It was a red velveteen set, with a knee-length gaucho pant/skirt and a vest with cap sleeves and wooden toggle buttons. I had seen it in a store and it was finally on sale. When I showed my mom, she actually liked. After she made the purchase, I only wore it on special days. No other girls at school had a set like it (Imagine that?) When I finished wearing it, I would hang it up carefully or we would occasionally take it to the dry cleaners. It was so very red and I felt like a fashion model when I wore it. It made me rather warm when I wore it, and it made me perspire but, hey, that’s the price that you pay for glamour.
In high school “Gunne sax” dresses were all the rage. Finally, my junior year, I was able to get one for a prom. It was a pastel yellow color with white lace and I felt very feminine and delicate in it. I’m sure I danced to songs by like “Three Times a Lady”, and “Stairway to Heaven” would be the last song because it was long, but very hard to dance to. Proms were simple back then. You’d go out to dinner at a nice restaurant and then go to the dance and then go home. There were no all-day dates, no $1000 dresses, and no hotel rooms.
My wedding dress was a one-of-a-kind custom-made dress satin dress. That’s because I bought the 6 yards of material and made it myself. My husband and I paid for our wedding and we were on a very tight budget, so I said I’d make my dress to save money. I sewed for hours and hours, putting lace on the sheer sleeves, and made the veil myself. It had a train and although it wasn’t fancy and it had some flaws, I was proud of it and I guess it was ok because it worked, and we were married. I still have it, and it’s a bit raggedy now, but I can’t seem to part with it.
Three decades ago, maternity clothes were made to hide baby bumps and they were not flattering. They usually were tent-like with big patterns and big bows to draw your attention away from the obvious. These outfits weren’t glamorous (like a red velvet gaucho set), but I still was happy to wear them because they symbolized the thing I’d always dreamed of- motherhood. It took us a couple of years and a doctor’s help to finally get pregnant, so when it happened, I happily wore those outfits until those sweet babies came.
Some people feel that clothes are just a covering or that enjoying them is shallow. Clothes are definitely not the most important thing, and don’t define a person, but clothes can be significant because they are an expression and at times a representation of a person. I remember how when we had our senior graduation trip to Disneyland, we were forced to wear dresses and the boys had to wear shirts and ties. We were not at all happy, and yet it helped us to behave at a higher level. We felt respectable and so we acted respectable.
I imagine there will be more outfits to pick out for special occasions, like for anniversaries, graduations and marriages of grandchildren. In my later years, my last outfit won’t be selected by me, but probably by my daughters with tears, but with good memories… and they will know what I would’ve picked.