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Too Old to Play Dress Up?


Fashion designer Rachel Zoe once said, “Style is saying who you are without having to speak” which is quite a thought considering some of the outfits I have worn in my lifetime. I have always loved fashion and as a child I couldn’t wait until the moment I got to purchase my first gown…not a dress but a gown! I used to love to play in my mother’s old bridesmaid gowns and wedding dress for hours on end. It was such a magical moment to put on something, that in my mind, was more valuable than all of my closet put together and parade around the house.

I think most women can attest to the fact that wearing a floor length dress changes the way you carry yourself just as high heels change the way you walk. You can’t help but feel like a queen going to her coronation or a bride meeting her groom. You hope you move in the graceful way of those glorious Disney princesses you have loved but let’s be honest if I had to run down palace steps in a full length ball gown, a la Cinderella, I would fall all the way to the bottom and lose my teeth.

Regardless of the potential hazards, when my turn came to go to prom I knew exactly what dress I wanted. I had always loved the early to mid-Victorian silhouette so an A-line, ball gown-esque dress was a must and being the early 2000s that meant a strapless gown. My Barbie heart and favorite color also determined that we were searching for something pink. Guess what? I actually found the dress of my dreams. This was in fact the ONLY time in my life that I have gone shopping with an idea in my head and found exactly what I was searching for and let me tell you…it was a mistake!

I learned something then that has been great wisdom for my life… A beautiful dress on is not as appealing as a dress, that when on, makes you look beautiful. Mother has always told me to try a dress on because you never know. (This was wisdom that she was taught when working in a bridal shop and looking for a wedding gown. She graciously passed it on to me and now I pass it to you.) I hated that dress by the end of the night and the pictures solidified the fact that a big chest and a strapless gown was a mistake, as was the color choice and shape, but it was still my first true adventure into formal wear and by the time I left college I had the pleasure of owning eight gowns, seven of which still hang in my old bedroom at my parents.

Why do I tell you all of this? Because during the quarantine I got bored and wanted to try them on again and made Meg come along! I don’t believe you are ever too old to play dress up and this was a hilarious, albeit, embarrassing foray into the past. I hope you enjoy these ridiculous pictures as much as we enjoyed being princesses for the afternoon.

Oh, and twenty years later, I have to say that my mother is still right. My favorite gown that I’ve ever worn was the exact opposite of what I have ever “dreamed” and I tried it on as a lark because she asked me too. It was green silk with just a small brooch to add some sparkle. Nothing of the Miss America beads and sequins I so desperately adore but I can honestly say that once on, it was by far the most flattering dress I’ve ever worn. Mother does know best…

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