Growing up, my sister was always the fashionable one. I remember hearing names like Norma Kamali and Donna Karan; they were very fashionable. I grew up with designers like Liz Claiborne because they catered to a different sense of fashion. The fashion that ran bigger than the other clothing brands.
I have said before, I give my mother a lot of credit for all the patience she had when it came time to take me shopping. It was not pretty or relaxing. It was highly volatile and someone-call-the-police-worthy entertainment for those around us. But, to the good fortune of others, my mother always succeeded in making sure that I was fully dressed — whether I liked what I was wearing or not.
Now that I am a grown-up, I go shopping by myself because I just want to pick out what I like and I don’t really care what others think. (I think you all know that already, no offense.) And my favorite stores, Chico’s and J.Jill, always seem to know what I would like to buy. How do they do that? Do they know what I look like? Do they know my feelings about black shapeless dresses that make me think that no one can see how large I am? How do they know?
A few weeks ago, I wrote about the dress that I planned on wearing to all the weddings I have this summer. So far, so good, because even though we think that people judge us based on our appearance, which for sure some people do, everyone is really too busy worrying about their own insecurities to care how black or how shapeless someone else’s dress is.
In any event, I was at one of these weddings the other night, and all of a sudden, I realized that everyone got the memo about the dress code except for me.
This brings me to the floral dress. The dress with flowers on it. Everyone seemed to be wearing one. They were all long (except for a couple that should have been long — I always admire the people with the self-confidence to pull off short dresses when they are women of a certain age. Good for you!) Long, flowy, and flowery. Pastel flowers, bright flowers, blue flowers, red flowers, pink flowers, poison ivy, regular ivy, black flowers, falling leaves with a floral background, exact replications of the Garden of Eden — I think you get my point. Did this dress code come on the invitation? Like, instead of black tie, it said Floral Dress? It was like all the bat mitzvahs where everyone wore Jessica McClintock dresses and my mom wouldn’t let me because everyone was wearing Jessica McClintock dresses.
Because having a name like Banji wasn’t different enough. Oh well.
The thing about the floral dress is that — and I saw it with my own eyes — it does come in every size. That is what is great about 2023 — they make dresses that fit everyone, even the ones who shouldn’t be wearing the dress. (Which is why I am not wearing it. You’re welcome.) Did I feel a little left out? Nope, I had my own problems that night. Wearing my black dress probably saved me from even more humiliation than I already went through. Hmm, how do I share what happened without sharing what happened? Well, a friend of mine from Hatzalah had to take my blood pressure, a husband-and-wife team of doctors got to take my pulse, and that is all I am going to say about that. Really.
Years ago, I got in trouble for blogging about two women who wore the same fancy suit to synagogue. I am still not sure why I got in trouble and I hope that bringing it up again won’t open old wounds, but I would like to say that everyone wearing these dresses looked beautiful. They all accessorized beautifully, no one was wearing the exact same dress, so that is always good, and really, it was a magnificent wedding filled with magnificent guests.
And I would like to thank those guests that helped me leave the wedding upright. Maybe next time I should wear floral.
Banji Ganchrow of Teaneck sometimes feels that she is falling apart piece by piece….