Prêt-a-porter. Though I wear factory made clothing like the majority of the world. This was a new term to me. This is this month’s theme for Living Out Loud. This month Genie would like us to talk about a piece of clothing that has special meaning to us.
Long before I was ready to get married, even before I’d even fallen in love with a guy, I fell in love with a dress. It was THE dress. The one I was destined to be married in. Well, at least a replica or something similar.
I watched a movie with Lindsay Wagner called “The Two Worlds of Jennie Logan”. I think it had something to do with her character trying on this old fashioned wedding dress and being transported in time. I can’t remember the exact premise of the movie, but I do remember the dress fairly well.
I’ve always said that I was born in the wrong era. I like things from long ago. I like simple elegance. This looked like a dress that maybe my grandmother would have worn. I knew girls who had their mother or grandmother’s wedding gowns handed down to them. There was no dress to be handed down to me, so it became my dream to have this dress to hand down to my own daughter or granddaughter. Sorry, I’m a sucker for tradition. The vision of the dress from that movie remained in my mind and especially in my heart.
When I did fall in love and accepted my proposal, my mother and I went dress shopping. I was paying for my own dress, and I’d saved exactly $385 in my account. We scanned every rack throughout the store. My mother knew exactly what I wanted, but we couldn’t find it. I had almost settled on a similar dress but in tea length when my mother pulled me to a basement bargain, and there it was. My dress. We’d found it. Of course, the sales lady tried to talk me out of it, and said that they’d never have it fitted in time. She and the other lady rolled their eyes at each other because who in their right mind would try to plan a wedding in one month’s time unless of course…and no I wasn’t. I was just in love. Well, I tried on the dress. Guess what. A perfect fit! No alterations needed! The price? It was originally $1200 marked down to $365. You have to realize that in 1982, that was a lot of money, or at least it was for me.
I bought the dress. I got married. Eventually, I had kids. Two boys. Don’t think my wedding dress is ever going to be worn again. Even, if I someday have granddaughter, I don’t foresee her wearing it because I really don’t think it will ever be fashionable again.
And then there’s the biggest problem of all. The condition of the dress itself. I did not have the foresight or the common sense to have my dress cleaned and properly stored. About ten or fifteen years after I’d been married I retrieved it from my parent’s home. It had been in a closet next to an oil furnace. The dress has stains, smoke damage, across the beaded bodice. I didn’t bother to have it cleaned because there is an even bigger problem. The skirt was folded and had been chewed through like four layers by mice! Yes, it has a paperdoll pattern of mice chomps across the skirt. It only affected one panel which could actually be replaced. My dilemma is trying to decide if I want to spend the money to repair something that will be packed away forever or should I donate it to someone who could fix it. But what would they use it for? Then I’ve thought of all the crafting (and art quilting) I could do with those beads, the lovely satin, mushroom pleats, and lace. I haven’t the heart to cut it up, even if the rats beat me to it!