Saying, “Not bad. “ to a dress

Yesterday my daughter invited me to join her at a sample sale. The sale was from one of her favorite stores. My daughter’s birthday is next week.

My daughter works in the schmatta trade. She has always loved clothes, less for the fanciness of the labels but more for their style. She has an intuitive sense of how to take seemingly random garments and make them work together.

There have been several birthdays when I have given her a treasure from the thrift store. I was able to do this even when she was in her early teens when one would assume that a girl would be most driven to wear only brand label whatever the most popular girl in school is wearing.  I don’t want you to think that I was attempting to pass off a cheapskate gift as something wonderful, but I would select an outrageous fabulous garment and my girl would just get why it was a treasure.

So yesterday, I took my daughter up on the offer of the sample sale and suggested that the purchases be her birthday gift. My daughter ended up with four dresses, a skirt, and two handbags all for the regular retail cost of one of the dresses. 


Like many sample sales there was a giant communal dressing room. I took my role as my daughter’s dresser handing her dresses and hanging up garments as she finished trying them on. I loved seeing how completely clinical she was about the clothes. Dresses were rejected for unflattering fit. Unlike me at her age, she didn’t take the bad fit personally as if the fault was with her. The garments that didn’t suit were quickly rejected, the flaw was with the garment and not with the wearer.

After shopping I suggested dinner either at a restaurant or at home for chicken soup. My daughter opted for the home made soup.On the way home I mentioned the 1952 Bendel’s wedding dress and how I would be meeting the gemach  lady in the garment district next week to hand over the dress.

My daughter asked to see the dress. She tried it on. It fit perfectly My daughter looked at herself in the mirror and said, “It’s a Grace Kelly look. It works on me.” It did. On an actual body the neckline is an almost off the shoulder.


My daughter is not at the point of getting married. this was all very low key. I re-wrapped the dress and put it back in it’s bag and put it on top of the closet. When the time comes, if my daughter is exactly the right weight, if she still likes the dress it’s here for her. And if not, that’s fine too.


My daughter the garment professional noted where the dress needed to be repaired and mentioned that they were very easy repairs.

The wedding dress shows on TV make it seem like the only possible reaction to such a moment would be overwhelming emotion and tears. But it’s just a dress. the really important part is the marriage.




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