I have a confession to make--I don't own a dress. I don't even want to own a dress. The wearing of dresses carries a lot of "baggage" for me.
Edith Bunker always wore dresses as she scurried around the house waiting on her bully husband, Archie. When I was in high school the popular, well-to-do girls wore dresses: I remember in particular the trendy chartreuse sak dress a classmate wore or the girls who fairly floating down the halls in cute skirts with multiple "can-can's" underneath. I never wore anything stylish.
I learned at an early age that I was not worthy of pretty clothes. For my 8th birthday, my mom bought me a pretty white plisse dress with pink flowers on it. There was a little bow on the skirt.
She removed the bow saying, "This will just fall off in the wash". Since she could never throw anything away, she saved the bow in her sewing table with assorted buttons and other useless objects. It lay in there for years and years, a symbol of my unworthiness to have a bow on my dress.
My mom wore cotton house dresses, often with an apron. I remember seeing them in the Sears or Wards catalogs--pages of simple floral-patterned cotton frocks for $1.98 or $2.98. They were the very essence of dowdyness. It reminds me of the song Try a Little Tenderness:
"She may be weary, Women do get weary,
Wearing the same shabby dress.
So, when she's weary, Try a little tenderness."
I'm proud to say I have never worn a house dress. But, the childhood lesson stuck--I buy all my clothes at thrift stores. I may dress shabby but it's my choice.
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