Tag Archives: dresses

Things That Make Me Think Twice

I was shopping for a baby gift for a friend who recently found out she’s having a girl. She’s over the moon about her pregnancy, and, her excitement being as infectious as it is, lead me into a cute baby boutique a few blocks from my apartment to browse and perhaps buy a gift for said unborn child. But, quite unexpectedly, I found it. The dress that I had get for the friend’s baby. The dress that I had to get for every girl baby in the world. The dress I had to get for my baby. Wait. What? The baby I don’t have and, until that moment, wasn’t sure if I would ever want to have. But life is funny. My future flashed before me bathed in a pale pink cotton/silk blend with a round neck, tank sleeves, and a bell shape. I suddenly wanted a child more than anything else in the world. Someone who may or may not share my DNA, but a little person with thoughts, opinions and feelings that have a voice all their own, but stink of my influence.

A male friend of mine recently told me his feelings on becoming a dad for the second time:  “I never thought I would be the parenting type, but for some reason, it really suits me. I like the idea of being able to control some small piece of the world, but do it from an egoless and selfless place. That’s nice.” In that moment, standing there holding a tiny dress meant for a six month old girl, I got what he was saying. 

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I bought the dress and took it home to wrap, but couldn’t bring myself to fold it up and put it in a box. I laid it out on my white chair, stretching the limits of the skirt to its fullest potential. I imagined a child wearing that dress. Not my friend’s baby per se, but a baby. Maybe even my baby. I wondered how long I would sit there with her on my lap inhaling her sweet baby smell as she fell asleep in my arms. How painful it would be if she woke up screaming in the night when cutting her first teeth. What her first word might be; her first sentence. And, as she grew older, the perfume she might wear, the books she would read and if she would be anything like me or anyone in my family. Would I see my sister in her, my mother, my father or grandfather? Would hazel eyes gaze back at me in rebellion or the blue or brown pools of my father’s/sister’s/mother’s eyes flash before me? Will she succeed in doing the things I did not?

But, then I thought of the world. Of things like cell phones and Facebook, text messaging and ‘tweens in skimpy bikinis. Of growing up too fast and not playing with dolls long enough or spending hours reading a book under a crab apple tree. And, even if a childhood lasts a little longer and is a little more innocent than my mind thinks, it still goes by in the blink of an eye. 

I kept the dress out on the chair for a few days. I got used to it being there, of walking by it every time I entered the living room. But then, I realized, it’s not mine. It’s a gift that will leave my hands and travel across the country to live a life and be worn, with love. I folded the dress carefully, wrapped it in tissue paper and placed it in a box. I wrapped the box in a bright pink and white floral paper, tying it with a pale blue bow to soften the loudness of the pink. I wrote out the card to my friend, telling her: “your greatest story is about to be written.” Her story is coming soon. Mine is still being outlined.

–Downtown

Love, Loss, And What I Wore

Tonight I went to a reading of Nora and Delia Ephron’s new play, Love, Loss, And What I Wore, based on the book of the same title. The series of six readings benefit Dress for Success, founded by one of our White Room Women.

The reading I went to starred Joyce Van Patten, Kristen Schaal, Kathy Najimy, Heather Burns and America Ferrerra. The women did a beautiful job. The stories were both personal and entirely relatable. Monologue topics included: what a woman wore to her first, second, third and fourth wedding, to purses, why women love/hate black, and even Brownie uniforms. The language and rhythm was snappy, poignant, honest and sometimes melancholy, but always followed by laughter. There was even a clothing rack with hangers and sandwich boards of illustrations of each dress (by the book’s author) hanging from it.

Though the illustration idea was fun — and even though it was only a reading — I did want to see more of each dress. I wanted to see the texture, the cut, more of thepicture-1 color. I wanted to touch them, just as the words touched me. Which got me thinking … it would have been interesting to incorporate designers of each of these visions. Based on the stories and text, I would love to see what each designer would create. How would they translate the words into clothing?

The Ephron sisters cut an interesting pattern, and I’m curious to see how they tailor this piece, because right now it’s well on its way to becoming the next little black dress.

P.S. I think I had the best seat in the house, right behind the nearly identical heads of Nora and Delia — a hand’s length away from wanting to “un-pop” Nora’s popped collar. I sooo wanted to climb into their brains and listen to what they were thinking.

Also in the house: Tina Brown, Gloria Steinem, Cindy Adams, Jeremy Irons, Judith Light. I’m sure there were several other faces I should have recognized, but I was too busy looking at what everyone was wearing.
–Downtown