November 5th, 2016

My mother’s dresses and Theresa May’s knees

First, it was Theresa May’s scandalous kitten heels with the leopard print.

Now, it’s her knees, and a little bit of upper arm/shoulder on this 60-year-old:


Actually, I’d love to have that dress. And I’d also love to have some fancy occasion to wear it to.

When I was a child, my mother used to dress up regularly: cocktail parties and even a few formal occasions, for example. But even the theater was a reason to get dressed up, back in those days. Heck, even getting on an airplane meant a dress and little heels, rather than sweats or yoga pants.

So I had every reason, when my mother came into my bedroom to say goodnight—gowned in a pouffy cocktail dress and smelling of perfume—to think that some really pretty dresses to wear would figure in my future, too.

Alas, it’s very rare that I get dressed up, usually limited to weddings. And even then some are quite casual. In contrast, my mother had taken over a whole rack in the back of my closet when I was a child, to contain the overflow. It held party dresses only—maybe about ten of them at a time, in various flowing or satiny fabrics, jewel colors and prints, sheaths and full skirts, cap-sleeves and strapless.

This trip down memory lane has made me want to post a photo of my mother in one of those gowns. I certainly have some, but they’re not on my computer, and it would have taken me a lot of time to find one in a photo album and then scan it in. But here’s a photo I do have access to, one of my mother and me in our backyard, although there’s no gown involved. She and my father had just come back from a trip to Mexico, and she had brought back these matching mother-and-daughter outfits, which went a little bit towards soothing the frayed and anxious nerves I’d experienced during their long absence.


7 Responses to “My mother’s dresses and Theresa May’s knees”

  1. parker Says:

    That is a tender and sweet photo of you and your mom. It makes me want to get out the box with the dusty top that contains photos of me with my parents and siblings.

  2. Francesca Says:

    Sweet photo of a very feminine mother and her equally feminine little girl. Thank you.

  3. Susanamantha Says:

    Very sweet, Neo.

    I too have little opportunity to get dressed up but have memories of lace edged anklets, white gloves, pert hats with tiny velvet flowers and ribbons. For church, a bus ride downtown, birthday parties….

    Now it’s jeans, tee shirts or sweaters nearly everywhere. For “Nice” restaurants I still bring out the good black slacks and a fancy blouse or sweater with a little bling. I can’t remember when I last wore a dress or hose or heels. I did recently buy a gorgeous pair of camel 4″ heels. Why? I just thought I might need them someday. Boy, was I dreaming! But i do smile when I see them sitting on the shelf so perfect, so scuff-free, so unworn.

  4. Janet Says:

    Lovely photo. I do remember that time when going to church and going downtown called for dressing up. And yes, seeing my mother and aunts wearing special occasion dresses – never slacks! – made me dream about what I would wear when I grew up. But when I came of age in the seventies, special occasions weren’t that special anymore. I’ve always felt that we could trace the decline of gentility in our culture with our march to slovenliness in our public appearance. But then again, I wore uniforms going to school and was taught that what you wore affected how you felt and acted in public. I realize that everyone didn’t experience that.

  5. Sharon W Says:

    Precious picture, Neo.

    I love dressing up but there are few occasions in my sphere that call for it. I have 2 sons getting married between now and January and am wearing long, elegant dresses to both. The Rehearsal Dinners we are hosting also call for beautiful dresses. Though I am alone in my office the majority of time, I dress for work; lovely dresses or fashionable slacks. I enjoy fashion, always have. At church in the morning, though it is a relatively small group, many people (even people I haven’t meant) stop me to comment on my wardrobe. Part of it I attribute to knowing what best flatters my pear shape and who designs for that.

  6. neo-neocon Says:

    Sharon W:

    Congratulations on your sons!

  7. csimon Says:

    I remember those “dress-up” days. My mother dressed up tofly, heels, hose, silk suit and she had a beautiful carpet bag for travel (it wasn’t magical like Mary Poppins’ but I was always somewhat in awe of it. But maybe that also had something to do with fact that she was going to go on an airplane to somewhere special!

    I LOVE to dress up. But alas, in recent yrs. it is on such rare occasion that I do. I’ve come to call such times “Cinderella moments” – magical (and very time-consuming) temporary transformations. And all too often, they don’t even last ’til midnight. Such is the life of an aging girl (still at heart, if not in chronology) who has left big city life behind.

    Photo is precious, and I’m sure most treasured!

About Me

Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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