I still remember the day my father’s cousin got married to her lover of three years. My mother was frantically trying to comb my little brother’s blonde ringlets as she directed my father on what he should wear. She only had about 15 minutes to pull herself together for the celebration. I was only 5 years old, but that was the day I learned the value of a little black dress.
As I sat in my smocked dress on the bathroom floor, I stared up at my mother. She was naturally beautiful, blonde hair, blue eyes, and olive complexion. Her makeup consisted of mascara and a little blush, something I always begged her to put on me. She would swipe a clean brush over my childlike skin to make me feel just a little more like her. She brushed her hair back with her long piano fingers and secured a pin in the nest of her thick, luminous hair. I wanted to be just like her when I grew up.
I left the bathroom to find my daddy waiting with my brother in the living room. I sat Indian style and watched the very end of The Lion King, tugging at the annoying bow at the top of my head. Then I heard the rhythmic pattern of my mother’s glide as she chanted the familiar “All right ya’ll, let’s go! We’re running late!” I just sat there, awestruck by the woman my mother was transformed into. Her black dress showed her feminity, accentuated her curves and added confidence to her sparkling smile. She looked effortlessly stunning; she owned the dress, the dress did not own her. The dress allowed her conservative personality to show through.
Now, twelve years later, I still remember the lesson I learned that day. The little black dress is not about being sexy, or attention grabbing. It’s about confidence, and letting yourself defy the dress- not the other way around. It’s about effortless beauty and not trying so hard to feel glamorous. My mother’s dress allowed her to escape the motherly role she constantly played to a more youthful place she hadn’t been in years.
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