Monday, October 9, 2017

My Sunday Best: 80's Style

For Sunday Mass this morning, I wore a dress that I bought at TJ Maxx long, long ago, in 1988 or 1989, back when the fourth of my five sons was just a chubby baby boy. (And now, he's a husband and a father to three babies of his own--triplets born on August 20.)
I've blogged about this infamous dress before here at String of Pearls.  There is actually a sort of sweet story behind it.  (You can read that story here, in an old post from the archives, if you so desire.)

I have thought about giving this dress to Goodwill numerous times over the years, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it (even when it had become hopelessly out of style and I hadn't worn it in a dog's age).  They say that if you hold onto something long enough, it will come back in style.  Maybe that's why I still have this dress hanging in my closet.  (Or maybe it's because of this.  You know, the aforementioned sweet story, which explains how for me, even a dress can become a precious artifact, a tangible reminder of the long, rich history of my life with my husband.)

Two things made me fall in love with this dress when I saw it on the clearance rack at TJ's.  First of all, there was the fabric: the deep royal blue color; the floral print; the swishy silkiness.  And secondly, there was the beautiful lace collar.  I've always been a sucker for lace.
The puffy blouson-style waist, the lace collar, the shoulder pads, the gathered fly-away sleeves, the well-past-the-knees length (my favorite length); these were all the rage in the late-80's/early-90's. This modest and uber-feminine dress pretty much screams "Princess Di," the fashion icon of the era.  She was the well-dressed woman we were all trying to copy.

My favorite thing about this blouson style is that the waist is completely elasticized, and then the top of the dress blouses over it.  This is the only reason I can still wear a dress that I wore almost 30 years ago, when I was just about the same age as that father of triplets I was telling you about is today.  I remember that even when I bought it, I was thinking ahead to a day when I might be a bit thicker around the middle; I hoped that because the waist could expand with me, I might be able to wear it practically forever.

It has probably been about 15 years since I've had this dress on.  So don't listen to the fashion experts who tell you to purge your closet of any garments you haven't worn in the past year.  You might just miss them down the road.  I think I would have missed this faithful old dress.

I did decide to add a cardigan with pearl buttons, even though it was pretty hot and humid here in VA today.  I was delighted to see that I actually had one in the perfect shade of royal blue.  This sweater matches so well that it looks like it was made to wear with this dress.

I feel like the cardigan makes my 80's frock look less outdated.  It's another bargain find from (where else?) TJ Maxx.  The brand is Audrey and Grace, which I can only assume refers to two other fashion icons with timeless appeal, Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly.  Not bad company to be in, I'd say.

After Mass, I went over to the rental house that our oldest son and his family are going to move into soon and will call home for the next two or three years.  (For the past month or so, our daughter-in-law and four granddaughters have been living with us, while they wait for our son to finish training for his job.)  I had offered to paint their kitchen, which would be very nice if not for the bright yellow walls.  And the rather garish sponge effect.

Speaking of the 80's and bad peers and I, we were all sponge painting our walls back then.  But you'll have to excuse us: we didn't have HGTV to guide us.  So our walls tended to look like this.
Yep, we were all Princess Diana wannabes, with sponge-painted walls.

Well, my second Sunday Best outfit was not as lovely as the one I wore to Mass.  It was the old pair of jeans and the Boston Celtics T-shirt that has become my painting/staining uniform.  It has gotten a lot of use the past few years, as you can see.
The order of the day was NEUTRAL color.
Et voila!  Before and after.
Today was a good day, a productive day.  It made me happy to do this for our son and his family.  When I put on that sentimental dress this morning, I was a little verklempt.  I couldn't stop thinking about how unbelievable it is that I'm old enough to have owned a dress for almost three decades...and more unbelievable still, most of my sons are now older than I was when I first bought it.  I don't know where the years go, I really don't.  It's a bit scary!  But whenever I feel the urge to throw myself a pity party, I need to remind myself that although I'm getting older, there are some pretty amazing rewards for having lived this long.

Remember those triplets I was just talking about?
And those are just three of the eleven-going-on-twelve grandchildren with which my husband and I have been so richly blessed.  And now that our oldest is moving nearby, we will be seeing all of them on a regular basis, without having to get in an airplane to do it.  Life is good--SO good.

Well, that's it for me.  Now you might want to head on over to Rosie's (where you'll undoubtedly find more up-to-the-minute fashions, worn by less long-in-the-tooth women).


  1. When I say "this morning" I actually mean yesterday morning; I was up late working on this, and it was actually Monday when it posted. (But you probably figured that out already...)

  2. The dress still looks good on you! And nice job on the kitchen!!!

  3. That is a lovely dress. So classy. And the blue sweater minimizes any dated-ness. :)
    Congratulations on the grand-triplets. What a blessing!

  4. I think you're right, the cardigan really does update the dress! Such a lovely Marian blue 😊

  5. It does not seem possible the number of years we have seen go by. I love your insights, and true enjoyment of your life!

  6. Love the dress; and the cardigan does update it nicely!

  7. I love the dress, Laura. I would wear that. The cardigan goes perfectly with it and it's beautiful, too!