Day 7 of my fashion experiment landed on Easter Sunday, and like any good deprivation diet, you cheat on holidays … or on a random Tuesday. It did not take any thought at all preparing for the Easter Sunday dress, because Tim had surprised my daughter and me on Valentine’s Day with matching Lilly Pulitzer. Our 12 y.o. daughter was two the last time we did the matchy-matchy Lilly look, so that was fun. Since I was still recovering from surgery around Valentine’s I decided to save our Mommy-daughter matching for Easter. This will also most likely be the last matching Lilly event since my daughter is a tween and we are walking a very, very fine line of almost uncool. Being a former fashion designer does buy me a few years, and Tim likes to remind her of my fashion authority. All the children love when I put them in my fashion drawings as well, so I think with that one I may have bought another 6 months. We will always match the Christmas jammies (that is an absolute non-negotiable, Lord willing). The Easter matching dresses did not last for very long though: the minute we got in from church my daughter went and changed into her favorite getup of jean shorts and a tee shirt. As for me, I kept my dress on as long as possible, maximizing the day of being a bit different. I almost slept in it with thoughts of having to put my static wardrobe back on in the morning.
I almost could not sleep the night before for excitement of the fashion cheat day … and also the fact that I had not tried the dress on since Valentine’s day and I was hoping it would still fit, especially since I did not have an alternate plan. I have pretty much been a fashion traditionalist, loving the old-fashioned “rules of Fashion.” Anyone who knows me knows that I do love rules. When it comes to Fashion Rules, Easter is pastel colors, florals dresses and a hat, no open toe or white before Memorial Day and after Labor Day. No boots until after the first frost. Summer clothes after Memorial Day fall clothes after Labor Day. One I did not learn until I moved to the South back in high school: if you’re wearing a dress you must always wear a slip. Appropriate clothes matched to the activity: workout clothes are for working out, beach cover-ups are for the pool. Always wear holiday colors on the appropriate holiday and so on. The most important rule of them all. You have to suffer for fashion.
For years and years, I tried valiantly to keep the Fashion Rules because I saw them slowly dying around me … almost like the use of please and thank you, common manners, common decency. Rules were becoming arcane, and the Fashion Rules were an all-too-easy victim of that trend. I thought the Fashion Rules were elegant and precious, something to be kept and passed down. I remember sweating to death after getting off the subway in NYC on a beautiful September day because gosh darn it I was going to wear my new fall outfit and fall shoes. I remember staring dreamy eyed at my new sandals just waiting to wear them for the Memorial Day party with my white jeans. Of course this had its regrettable moments too: fashion policing those who were bold enough to wear sandals in March.
Sadly, motherhood and time can team up to wear down even the staunchest Fashion Rule supporter. I do love a really good dressy event or costume party. Going to the Kentucky Derby would be a dream come true, for the simple pleasure of wearing a great hat and matching outfit, the themey-er the better. This Easter I did see many hats and floral dresses in the southern church we attended (but sadly no white glove spottings).
I call myself an occasion shopper: when I know I have a trip coming up an event or a holiday, I love to go shopping and create the perfect outfit head to toe. Since I am an occasion shopper, I usually make sure I can wear the pieces again and that they will go with other pieces in my closet. Well, maybe not all the time … there is probably a reason why I have (at a minimum) 50 dresses in my closet … and that is after I brought 30 to consignment last spring. That was a little heart breaking since the woman at the store explained to me that because some were older than 3 years it was her rule not to accept them (the horror). Eventually she accepted them anyway after I explained that Versace, Valentino and Prada have no expiration date. The check I received was so small, I vowed never to consign again … and that’s not even giving consideration to the time it took and the mental anguish of parting with great fashion pieces. Going forward my closet cleanouts will take place as a closet sale: come shop! Added bonus: if I see who it is falling in love with my outgoing my pieces, it may ease my heart a little and it won’t be so hard to say good bye to some “old friends.” Don’t get me wrong, I am not going cold turkey and selling everything. I am keeping a fashion archive, maybe get my dad to help build a cedar closet in the basement that will double as a storm shelter (I hate storms). The Fashion Archive will consist of pieces I designed, as well as pieces I have significant memories attached to. Like a skirt I bought for my sister while I was working in China and she always looked so cute in it, or the dress I was wearing the night I met Tim. Or our first, second, third and fourth date outfits … I am not kidding: not only do I still remember exactly what I was wearing, I do still have many of them. Some could say they are just taking up space and growing dust, but I do still wear some of my mom’s dresses from the 1960s. I can honestly and boldly say this: it’s good to toss the old stuff, but sometimes it’s good to keep it too, as long as you have the space and it’s not hanging around your neck like a weight. That is my mindset about what I will clean out: I cut where I need to trim a little of the dead weight off.
Having my fashion cheat day did feel good, and I was thankful for the change. It did not exactly make me thankful to be jumping back into my static wardrobe the next day. But that Monday was head shot day, so at least I did not have to beat my head against the wall to figure that one out. Stay tuned to hear how that all went down.