Sunday, April 10, 2011

i love you james dean and paul newman and elizabeth taylor with the violet eyes

warning to any men who may read my blog on occasion: this post will be girly, about girly things, from  a girly perspective. you've been warned.

i forgot to blog about this but a few weeks ago i got to do something that i've dreamt of my whole life. well, a part of me has dreamt of my whole life. it took me back to when i was little, no older than five or six, and i got to try on my mom's wedding dress. i was so tiny that it was more like swimming in the silky fabric but i remember that feeling, of trying on something so special, a treasure from the past, literally a part of my family's history (this is a run-on sentence). even back then, at five or six, i knew it was special to try on clothes from the past.

so a few Sundays ago, maybe two Sundays but it really doesn't matter, my mom and i went over my grandmom's house and she casually said, "i found my engagement dress."

my heart stopped. my eyes bulged out of my head in a very cartoonish manner--i started swooning and the very miniscule part of my brain that cares about fashion rejoiced in a clicking-heels type of way.

you see, for years i've asked my grandmom about her engagement dress. i'd grown up looking the photographs--my grandmother, a German blonde beauty, naturally thin and elegant at 19 or 20 or however old she was when she got engaged, and i spent so many moments growing up looking at these photographs, admiring her beauty and poise and that dress. i couldn't tell from the black and white photographs but my grandmother told me it was a light purple color. it was halter, and layered with gorgeous beading and i looked at the pictures and i marveled at the style and how desperately i wished i could look that good in a dress. i loved the expressions on the faces of the women in the photographs--their eyes dazzled, taking in the painting of my grandmother as she smiled and held out the hand with her engagement ring and how my grandfather, a handsome Italian musician, stood behind her with one of his arms around her waist, drinking in her beauty as well.


but years went by and my grandmother never really knew where that dress went. before my grandpa died, they moved around the corner from where we live and we all just assumed the dress got lost in the shuffle of things. i mentally sighed, wondering if i would ever see that dress from 1953.

AND I DID!!! my grandmother brought up a bag chock-full of her old dresses and let me say, i was floating. i immediately began trying them all on, acting ridiculous--when i put on a gold one that fit me like a glove (YES! all those days at the gym are finally paying off) i quickly knotted my hair at the base of my neck, went up on my tip toes in lieu of not having heels, and walked around the room with my hands on my hips saying in a poorly imitated Southern drawl, "Happy Birthday Big Daddy!" acting like I was anything close to Elizabeth Taylor in "Cat On a Hot Tin Roof."

I looked idiotic but I felt so cool. I tried on dress after dress, sometimes laughing at the styles, sometimes swooning at the material, all the while my grandmom and mom watching me amused.

and THEN. then i pulled out the engagement dress. the 1953 knee-length, halter, tight-waisted, gorgeous, breathtaking stunning ONE OF A KIND engagement dress --

and it didn't fit.

at all.

Okay, so maybe i have to hit the gym and lay off the late night ice cream a little more and i'll be able to zipper it up, but at least i got it over my hips! And even though it wouldn't zipper (i died inside), i still felt the magic of wearing something from another era. even though i looked nowhere NEAR elizabeth taylor, i still felt like a movie star. it was literally an awesome Sunday evening.

i wonder if one day my granddaughters will prance around my living room, trying on the dresses i wear now. it's a funny little thought.

here are some of the dresses i got to keep--little sneak peeks! :) i am NOT a photographer, as you can see from these horrible-quality pictures. but i tried my best!
an adorable little sparkly green dress--perfect for a summer/spring wedding. glad i have so many this summer! can't wait.

ugh wish i could capture the detail--this is the gold, sparkly dress that caused me to act like an inebriated 50s starlet. yikes.

oh i wish you fit me!!!! engagement dress

that beading *swoon* !!! 1953 and still in perfect condition. amazing.

1 comment:

  1. ahhhhhh that is so amazing. i love all of those dresses. i wish my grandma had a box full of old dresses i could play dress up in! :)