Fashion

The Dress I Yessed

30 years ago, I had my wedding dress professionally preserved. I was told that a lot of women make this investment for two reasons: 1) you paid a shitload for the dress, so why not? And 2) if you have a daughter, she may wear it one day. At the time, I think it cost me a hefty $250.00 for this service.

It took about 6 weeks to preserve the dress and it arrived at my doorstep in a sealed, archival bridal box that immediately went into my spare closet of no return.

I have a good friend who wore her mothers wedding dress to her own wedding. When she speaks of it, you can tell that she cherished it. The possibility of that never even crossed my mind when I got married and I could have had a choice of three dresses from my mom—need I say more.

When my only daughter got engaged this year, I realized that my archival-ly preserved dress didn’t have a shot at being re-worn. Not only is my daughter much taller than me, she has a specific style gene that definitely does not scream 80’s.

“Maybe we can re-purpose some of it, Mom”, she diplomatically offered.

Well, maybe, but where was that box now?

After some digging in the closet of no return, I found it. I remembered that another friend, who was downsizing after her kids flew the coop, said that she photographed everything memorable before she gave it away or threw it out. I call it the digital preservation of clutter. Because I knew that I wanted to donate this dress, I decided to film the opening of the archival box with my daughter at my side.

A flood of memories hit me when we broke the seal.

On my wedding day, as I was getting dressed for the big event, I carefully stepped into my gown. As I was pulling it up, the elastic on the left sleeve ripped. Since it was an off-the-shoulder number, this elastic was critical to keeping the dress up.

If ever there was a need for a wardrobe supervisor, this was it. I wasn’t smart enough to travel with an emergency sewing kit…the only emergency thing I ever carried with me were tampons. Good luck with that.

I went a little ape-shit in the bathroom, because I had spent a fortune on the dress at the infamous, formally-Brooklyn-based, Kleinfelds. And now, here I was in Pittsburgh, on a Sunday morning with a teeny tiny safety pin that my sister found underneath the vanity in the bathroom at the synagogue. P.S. Major shout out to that pin.

When we opened the archival box, you could see the snapped elastic but the teeny tiny safety pin was gone…it was probably removed during the preservation process.

The dress was clean, but it had yellowed. A lot.

“OMG, Mom, it’s pretty ugly”, my no-filter daughter observed.

“It looks like you were an extra in “WESTWORLD”, my husband chimed in from afar.

I have to admit; it was kind of thrilling to see that dress again. It looked so tiny…but WTF, I was 20 pounds lighter when I got married. Nonetheless, it brought a huge smile to my face and some honest to goodness belly laughter.

We gently pulled the gown out of the box and a small silk flower that was attached to the elastic of the shoulder floated to the ground.

My daughter picked it up and with the straightest face ever said, “I can use this”.

I’ve left the dress hanging in the closet for now. Maybe some fresh air will bring it back to life before I pack it up for donation. If the air doesn’t do it, perhaps a fresh, tiny, body will.

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And here is the short film:

 

 

 

 

Making The Middle-Aged Hot List

A few years ago, while building a humorous website targeted towards aging women, I filmed a short of myself trying on a pair of Spanx. I did it because I wanted to show our web developers that middle-aged women will do and share ridiculous things that celebrate a self deprecating appreciation of growing old. I really didn’t think it was that funny, but our 20-30 something developers thought it was hysterical. In fact, they encouraged me to launch the website with it. “No one will know it’s you” they promised…except of course, my friends who announced things like, “You’ve got balls sister” ,“Are you outta your mind?” and “What kind of hormones are you on?

Needless to say, we launched the site with MySpanx as our opening video feature and Kaboom, my ass went around the world. It really wasn’t the kind of share I expected. When I landed on a Danish car building site, I thought that having some “power-in-the-tank” was really misinterpreted, but that’s what happens when you release something on the internet for the public to see.

The true highlight came when BuzzFeed picked it up. I found out about the link when I received a panicked phone call from my daughter at work.

MY DAUGHTER: OMG Mom, YOU’RE ON BUZZ FEED! YOU MADE THE HOTLIST!

ME: Whaat?

MY DAUGHTER: YOU’RE BUTT HAS GONE VIRAL. I’M SENDING YOU THE LINK.

ME: Whaat?

MY DAUGHTER: You’re 7th on a list of 40 SIGNS YOU’RE ALMOST 40!

ME: Almost 40? I’m NORTH OF 50.

MY DAUGHTER: Who cares? You already have over a million hits!

I wanted to get excited about all the hits but truthfully, I just wanted to thank the BuzzFeed editor who deducted a decade.

Taking The Pledge

When I was little, this was dress-up of the highest order. With nary a rank, and absolutely no earned badges whatsoever, my six-month brownie stint made me feel like I was a world leader. Where else at the age of seven could you get a pseudo military outfit like that?

There was something very “Princess Grace” about those gloves and I remember that you had to wear them when taking the pledge or posing for troop pictures. This was the closest I ever got to the “service” and was probably my most favorite uniform (Isaly’s Ice Cream, not withstanding.)

Speaking of pledges, for all you nostalgia buffs, here it is:

On my honor, I will try:
To serve God and my country,
To help people at all times,
And to live by the Girl Scout Law.

I take my pledges very seriously as you can see by the expression on my face. Thank goodness this one emphasized the word try. 

Leave It To Cleavage

I was a big sun worshiper in my early years and as a result, my skin has some really weird things going on now that I am trying to correct.

Enter the peel.

I signed up for a series of facial peels that included a little instrument designed to get rid of “age spots”. I’m not sure what its called, but it looks like a pen and it fires a heat blast that burns the surface of the blemish. After a few days, it turns brown and then peels off and brand new skin takes its place. Your face looks a little beat up when the spots turn brown…almost as if you picked your skin with a furniture riveter, so you have to be careful about your social schedule when you do it because the healing process can draw unwanted attention to your face. (Anyone who does anything to her face knows what I’m talking about). So, if you have a busy schedule, it’s hard to find the perfect time to do it. Truth be told, there is no perfect time so sometimes you just have to GO FOR IT… but keep in mind the 3-day recovery.

The last time I did it, my 3-day recovery turned to 5 and I was left with the crusty spots and my friend’s big surprise birthday dinner in the city. OMG… I tried every bit of make-up I could get my hands on but nothing seemed to cover it well enough.

I called my esthetician at home in tears. “I look like I have small pox” I cried, “What can I do?” Like a calm psychiatrist, she simply said, “Show cleavage”. “ Lot’s of good cleavage and trust me, no one will be looking at your face”.

Best advice ever. Not once did anyone say anything about my unsightly spots. They did however; wonder if I had a boob job.