Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Getting "Dressed" up

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.


Olde Dame Penniwig said...

LOL, I wear nothing BUT dresses, except when biking.

I am sorry yer mom took that bow off. I am thinking she very likely had her own baggage, probably had the idea of being "thrifty" and "practical" drilled into her head, and maybe some stuff about "being too prideful" in there, too.

My mom acted similarly, only she hated dresses with a passion, as a symbol of oppression for women. So I was not allowed to wear dresses or skirts once pants were allowed in the schools from 9th-grade on. I literally dressed in rags, male-looking rags. And the skirt I did have was an old wrap skirt made from canvas from an Army cot.

They didn't feed me, either. I almost starved. That's why I don't care if I'm plump now.

Stop wearing the shabby clothes unless you WANT to wear them. Wear what you think is good. I wear a lot of long cotton calico dresses, often with a flounce at the bottom, because those to me are pretty. I wear outrageous "penoir sets" too. With a poof of feathers on my slippers. Oo la la.

It's a constant battle to guard against the "twists" bad parenting put into us...

Olde Dame Penniwig said...

Pegnoir, I think I meant. LOL...

Ms Sparrow said...

It sounds like out mothers were quite different. I can just picture you in charming colorful long dresses and maybe a broad brimmed hat with flowers.

I'm alarmed that you weren't fed properly when you were little! We had meat and potatoes every meal because that's what my dad wanted.
Sometimes the meat was only a can of sardines or a jar of pickled pig's feet. I wound up eating lots of potatoes and pork and beans. Having a sluggish metabolism, I wound up being chubby.

BYW-I found it painful looking at the pictures of Midland. Are you in a severe drought? I can't imagine living in such a dry place!

(I never would have known peignor was spelled wrong.)

Sparrow chic said...

I guess I have a little of my mother and grandmother in me. I like to dress "sloppy" and I love to dress up in dresses and frilly lacey things. My daughter is not like me. I don't think she owns a dress either.

Barbara Blundell said...

I love to wear a dress but keep bypassing them for the old trousers ! So much easier and more comfortable !Perhaps ist because I worked in the dark ages when there was a strict dress code for work, Trousers were definitely OUT and one day a friend turned up in fashion boots and she was driven home to change !

Ms Sparrow said...

Thank goodness we live in a more enlightened age where we can dress according to our own dress codes.
Pants are so practical and comfortable, I feel sorry for those poor women who are forced to dress to other people's ideas. The Taliban have shown the world to what extremes that can go!