|Jessie and Me (on right in the plaid skirt)|
And this pretty much set the tone for my wardrobe choices throughout most of my childhood (and even now, to be honest). In junior high, while other girls were shopping in the juniors section, I was perusing the ladies department for some elegant wardrobe additions. For instance, a white silk blouse embellished with crystals and pearls paired with some lovely navy culottes (which was an actual outfit I bought at Kaufmann's when I was in seventh grade) Even my eighth grade graduation coat dress and heels were so matronly that I think I am too young to wear them even now some fifteen odd years later.
So, it is really no surprise that playing "dress up" was one of my favorite pastimes as a kid. My sister and I had a large wooden toy chest that was filled to the brim with fabulous fashions that came from a variety of sources.
|Jessie (L) and Me (R) striking a pose|
Our neighbor, Karen, gave us a hideous, I mean gorgeous, peach 80s bridesmaid dress with giant ruched puffy sleeves. It was fit for a queen, which is how we most certainly used it. Another neighbor, Katie, gave us some of her old prom dresses and costumes that she wore in her high school plays. There was a bar maid costume in the collection that often came in handy. My Mom did an excellent job of re-purposing our old dance costumes into some sublime evening wear, with not a ruffle or sequin wasted. And, a family friend with an eclectic sense of style added some exotic jewelry and scarves, perfect for accessorizing.
|Caryn, Me, Julie, Jennifer, Melissa, Jessie, and Bridget--a dress up sleepover!|
But my Mom really hit the jackpot one summer at a local yard sale. There were some adult twins in our town who were exceptionally small in stature and figure, and their mom was selling all of their custom-made prom gowns from their high school years. They fit my 5th grade frame perfectly, and they were spectacular. One that stands out in my memory was the most beautiful emerald green and had a little matching shrug--absolutely divine and perfect for lounging around the house in.
Clad in our best dress up finery, we would have fabulous adventures. Picture this scene: my sister, Bridget, my cousin, Meghan, and I--not young girls, but rich Southern belles decked out in our finest garments--outside on a hot summer day--not in our side yard, but on a lush, verdant croquet green--sipping tea from a sterling silver tea set--definitely not plastic--and daintily wielding our croquet mallets to wile away a long afternoon. Now doesn't that just sound heavenly to y'all?