The knock-out dress I’ve yet to own would be made of lace, not sequins. Lace – feminine, seductive without being flashy, and black.
I can picture an elegant floor-length dress from long ago. It had been my mother’s, but found its way to my trunk of clothes for playing dress-up. Gauzy, a filmy soft material, multi-colored delicate stripes set on a pale blue background, the dress flowed and swirled. It had a full bow of the same cloth at the neck. I try to imagine what my mother looked like in that dress and where she wore it. Did she feel beautiful?
Our childhood ballet teacher, Mrs. Wall, sometimes had us over to her house in San Francisco, where she revealed to us a magical closet of retired costumes and mounds of wisps and lengths of soft scarves we could drape over our small bodies to swirl in grace and elegance. I remember one in particular: blue and green chiffon I could wear as a veil or tie at my waist, its softness an invitation to daydreams of a gracefulness I longed for.
When old enough to dress to dress up for real, I wore a rhinestone tiara to the Junior Prom and the Senior Ball. I’ve no recollection of sequins, but only of a gold and white brocade sheath I wore with shimmery gold nylon stockings and matching gold heels for a night of dancing aboard a tour boat on San Francisco Bay, where I felt like a princess.
Those days are long past. Now I’m a queen mother with a crown of silver hair – and a shelf of filmy scarves: turquoise, pink, ruby red, and midnight blue. My granddaughters know where to find them.