I saw this dress in a shop window in Chichester last May. John and I were celebrating my birthday (three months late as he'd had a nasty ear infection on my birthday in February, and then we'd moved house and lost track of time) with shopping and lunch out while the children were at school. I saw the dress and I wanted it, I wanted it to fit so badly. I tried it on, just to see what it would look like. I loved it. Knee length and well cut, the dress was full and swingy with a nipped in waist and deep pockets. (I love pockets on a dress). I bought it, justifying it to myself. I'd just applied for my job and said it would be my congratulations present if I got the job or consolation prize if I didn't, and it was kind of my birthday after all.
You see, I'd already imagined myself in this dress. Not what I'd look like in it, no, but what I'd do. What kind of day I'd have in my new dress, the places I'd go, the people I'd see. Everything about the print and pattern said summer and sea. It's bright blue colour made me picture clear skies and flapping sails, made me hear the intoxicating sound of ropes clinking against boat masts and smell the salty sea air. The orange piping cheered me. I like nice little details, and this dress was full of them. I pictured myself wearing it while sipping a drink in a pub beer garden or sitting on the harbour wall, overlooking the boats, Perhaps I'd even wear it to the beach. But in my mind's eye the sun would be shining and I'd be carrying a straw bag and it would be carefree and warm.
There was just one catch: my legs. I don't much like them, which is partly why I live in jeans or trousers all the time. I know, it's such an affliction. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing actually wrong with my legs, they just lack shape and tone and don't meet a media-standard notion of perfection. Thread veins are my enemy and I'm pretty sure there are some varicose veins there too, lurking and ready to pop up and say hello. Perhaps you also have a body part which you don't like very much too, which stops you wearing things you'd otherwise like to wear? A perceived imperfection which is invisible to those around you, who hadn't noticed because they were too busy listening to something funny and interesting you'd just said.
My poor legs. My long, strong limbs which carry me around every day, take me up and down stairs, take me all the places I want to go. My healthy legs which supported the weight of two heavy babies, which, when stretched out, let me run or cycle. My flexible legs which, when I sat with my back against the wall, bent my knees and placed my heels together, made a diamond-shape in which Angus loved to sit and read with me when he was smaller.
And then the realisation: it's not dresses which give you confidence, but age, and I've reached a point in my life where I couldn't give a monkeys what my legs look like in a dress. I'm happy to have a pair that work, frankly. So I bought the dress and I've worn a lot. It's a swine to iron but it's comfortable to wear and people pay me compliments when I do. I've mostly worn it to work, to the school summer fair and a family barbecue. No drinks in pub beer gardens yet - maybe next year. Or maybe even this year, if September is nice! Now, there's a happy thought to end on.
Don't forget to visit the other Colour Collaborative blogs for more of this month's posts, just click on the links below:
What is The Colour Collaborative?
All creative bloggers make stuff, gather stuff, shape stuff, and share stuff. Mostly they work on their own, but what happens when a group of them work together? Is a creative collaboration greater than the sum of its parts? We think so and we hope you will too. We'll each be offering our own monthly take on a colour related theme, and hoping that in combination our ideas will encourage us, and perhaps you, to think about colour in new ways.