Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Dear Dresses

Dear Dresses,

this is a hard letter to write, but I think you both know what's coming. Well, I'm sure you do actually, languishing as you are in the bottom of a plastic bag side by side, waiting by the front door to make the final journey out of my life to the charity shop.

We've been through a lot together, the three of us. You, black satin strapless number; you were the first dress I ever put on that made me feel truly beautiful. Aged 20, I wore you to the Christmas Ball at college and felt I could do and be anything. You were made with love by my mother, and if I do say so myself, together we looked a million dollars. In fact, it was in part down to you and your slinky black satin that I first caught the eye of Sporty Boyfriend, and then spent the next 5 years in an on-again-off-again relationship that -whilst it certainly had it's disadvantages - taught me how to be independent, self-sufficient, and not to rely on any man for ratification and justification.

As far as I can remember, I only ever wore you the one time. There wasn't much call for 1930's-inspired strapless evening wear at my university or indeed through my succession of jobs over the pre-child years that followed - when I could still fit into you. It's a shame, because looking at you this morning - leaving aside the rips on the hem and the scratch across the bodice that mysteriously appeared on your one outing - you really were a knockout.

And you, lilac strapless taffeta number with the trailing sash. How we danced the night away at the college Going Down Ball. (For those reading this who are not au fait with British University traditions, yes it is a ridiculous name, and means the final ball for those graduating that year. Why it can't be called what it is - a Graduation Ball - is something I never understood...) It was whilst wearing you that I put Sporty Boyfriend's shennanigans with that hockey-playing hussey once and all to the sword. She never stood a chance when I put you on, and I knew it - as did he. Whether I should have put them to sword is a different story entirely, but the next few years with him were certainly useful for building foundations for long-distance relationships (like London:Moscow, for example), so I don't regret having done it for a moment.

Again, I only ever wore you once. And apparantly I was so delighted with your performance that I didn't even check you over when I took you off to see the red wine stains on the back of the skirt or the rip under the arm. Still, I was a penniless graduate at the time; money for repairs and dry cleaning bills was scarce. Which is odd, bearing in mind the amount of time I spent agonising over your design and colour before handing the material over to the seamstress for the first non-mother-made hand-sewn outfit I ever owned. But there you are; I used you and abused you. I'm sorry.

We're off to the charity shop shortly. I could hold onto you both of course, dragging you from one home to the next as I have done over the last twenty years, but with no daughters to want to dress up in you in years to come I think it's time I put you 'out there' in the hope that someone else might find some use for you.

I'll miss knowing you're hanging in the wardrobe, reminders of what once was - even if you are now both forever too small and too distressed to wear again at this stage of my life - but I really think this is for the best. All three of us need to find new challenges (or in my case, new styles; strapless really isn't my thing any more, regular work-outs or not) and I hope with all my heart that you find new owners and get to go the Ball once more.

Yours always,

Potty Mummy x


  1. What a lovely post. If those dresses could reply, I'm sure they'd thank you for both eventful outings and would be quite excited at the prospect of perhaps meeting another penniless graduette to give them a secondhand whirl. Tag for you chez moi

  2. I'd love to know which charity shop these are going to - I'd be making a bee line for them!!

  3. Dear Dresses

    If you don't like it in the charity shop, get yourself over to my place, where an emerald green silk ball dress would very much enjoy your company.


  4. Very nice post. Out with the old, in with the new. It's hard, but worth it in the end.

  5. That's a lovely post. It is sad to let them go but I really hope like you said that someone caring will look after them the way you did!

  6. you do the very best thing, pm, and big hearty hugs from here for it. set free, they can go and be loved all over again, and the person who finds them to love will think WOW!

  7. oh dear dresses, I wish you well. and I wish potty Mummy would tell us how she got the rip under the arm...that sounds intriguing.


  8. I've even parted with my wedding dress and can't for the life of me remember what happened to it, which goes to show you how much I thought of that marriage. I spill no tears over it, as I have spilled no tears over all the cute dresses I've had to give up over the years. You'll get used to it PM. Just keep a stiff upper lip.

  9. I got out the black dress I wore to my university graduation party - and it was bloody awful. I don't know what possessed me to wear it! (I kept it though!)

  10. Thanks DD - will be over to pick it asap...

    MM - when I said 'distressed' perhaps I was being a little kind...?

    Iota, you haven't been able to bring yourself to part with yours then?

    Mwa, I do hope so!

    PHM, me too.

    Grit - or maybe they'll think, 'get thee to a dry cleaners'

    Pig - I would - if I could remember myself. Oh, that champagne...

    Irene, well, I AM English, after all.

    EPM, I was surprised by how OK these were, actually. Too small of course, but OK. The black I would wear now - if I were a size smaller and hadn't had two large sons to push out my rib cage, that is...

  11. Dear Potty Mother
    Thank you for setting us free to make hay with another young girl's dreams. Once we've been dyed, altered, and possibly worn as fancy dress.


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