The Dress

Me Flanked by My Brothers Frank and Bob at My Niece’s Wedding

I’m sure you have “a dress,” or “a top,” or “a suit,” or some other article of clothing or accessory you’ve had forever that you truly treasure.

Here are some photos of “my dress,” a Lolita Lempicka creation I acquired in Paris well over two decades ago. I’ve worn it about a half dozen times in my life and each time it makes me feel like a million bucks. I’ve donned it for weddings, very elegant dinners in Paris, and yes, even for a beaux arts costume ball. As fancy as it is, it’s fortunately timeless. And it still fits!

This chartreuse and lavender dream dress embraced my curves perfectly in the beginning. Then there was a time when I filled it out a bit much. (Thank goodness for spanks!) Now that I’m older and somewhat withered (yes, sadly I no longer have the robust décolleté I once boasted), it fits me less than perfectly. But it’s still a showstopper–at least in my eyes.

With My Niece, Rachel, a Maid of Honor

It’s superbly cut from a thick, rich silk, which means that the fabric always hangs beautifully. I’ve kept it in mint condition aside from some pulls. My kitten gained access to it once and climbed up it with ease. I was heartbroken, especially since I normally had it covered with a plastic dry cleaner bag but somehow she caught it when it has hanging outside of the closet after a big soirée. I almost retired it then but I decided it’s so spectacular that most people wouldn’t notice. (Plus, as my almost 84-year-old mother says, “No one can see very well anymore anyway.”)

With My Brother Frank

So I carted it home for my niece’s wedding this spring and it was a smash.

I have another wedding in July, which prompted me to dig deep in my closet for another relic. (Don’t want to wear the same thing, especially with all the photos posted on social media!) That’s the good thing about having lived in Paris eleven years. I still have some nice clothes and accessories from which to draw. But even if I hadn’t lived in Paris, or even if I didn’t consistently buy clothing and accessories of quality, I think my practices would be the same. I only buy trendy on occasion and even those fads come back around again. Eventually.

What I’m most happy about is that this way of living–fishing from something old and maybe just updating it with a pair of shoes–is more in keeping with my philosophies, the more down-to-earth lifestyle I adopted since I moved to Colorado in 2002. I believe in reduce, reuse and recycle, even when it comes to fashion.

I once interviewed Daryl Hannah for my Travel Fun radio show and that’s how she lives. She buys most of her clothing and accessories from thrift stores, creating a hippie chic look that’s the envy of many.

So do you have “a dress,” “a top,” “a suit” or some other signature item you know you’ll cherish forever? Or at least, a while more.

I hope you have many. I’m telling you it’s OK to wear them again and again and again. And that’s coming from someone that authored three shopping and touring books on Paris and one on the French provinces. I also had a shopping service, called Chic Promenade, that organized visits behind-the-scenes at the big names such as Dior.

Whoa, you might be thinking–what a turnabout. Not really. You see I was always about quality, not quantity and learning about goods that you might eventually come to treasure.

Voilà. I hope this post prompts some thinking. Happy closet looking!

I love that you can wear a dress 2 decades old Beth! You are amazing! I wore a dress I purchased for Saratoga 15+ years ago and barely squeezed myself into it in May! Hats off to you! xoxo

As a minimalist, I say, “Amen to that!”

8 Jul 2017, 11:15am
by Julie Gissin


I just love this dress on you! It is a treasure and seems just right on you! I do love to thrift store shop myself. I feel nothing special about purchases off racks that a million others have access to. There is no better feeling than finding something you LOVE while at a second hand store. I have one special vintage hair accessory that always makes me feel lovely. I use it to put my hair up when Steve and I drive with the top down. <3

Elegant and regal, the dress is timeless, and so are you.

 

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