I simply adore the fashions that Grace Kelly wore, not to mention Lauren Bacall, Lucille Ball, Audrey Hepburn and Elizabeth Taylor. Although these women were all old enough to be my mother, as a little girl I still felt I somehow belonged on the silver screen with them. Not as a childhood star, but as their equal, dressed as regally as they were.
In regards to my love for all things vintage, my mother once joked that there might be a slight chance that I was born in the wrong era. I used to love tagging along with her and my grandmother to antique and thrift shops. I'd ooh and ahh at the antique furnishings and vintage baubles, but, I'd stand in amazement at the displays of vintage fashions.
Those really were the days. In my imagination they still live on. Women wore timeless, elegant outfits that flattered their figures rather than exposing them. It was an era of gloves, hats, and dresses that hit below the knee. And coiffed hairdos. Men wore fedoras and overcoats. When they became a little miffed, they uttered phrases like "Now see here!" instead of dropping "F" bombs. Chivalry was not lost, gentlemen still opened car doors for ladies. Women still knew that sex appeal was a natural trait and not something to be forced by plastering on too much makeup and donning too little clothing.
And the music of that era seemed to match the clothing like the perfect shirt and tie. The fashions of the 30's, 40's and 50's were as Nat King Cole would say, unforgettable in every way.
Those were the days when a shoe string laced up your PF Flyers, and was never confused with being a bathing suit.
Thankfully, there are still some clothing and shoe designers who have not given up class for money. My hat is off to those fine people and I thank them for giving us some classic, fashion forward clothing with which to express our own individual and unique style, all without sacrificing our own dignity just for some fad.
My husband once suggested that I go to design school. He said that one of the first things that attracted him to me was that I dressed like a real lady. Not frumpy or dumpy, but classy. I like knowing that he noticed.
For a long time over the past 11 years, I gave up wearing the type of clothing that makes me feel lovely because I felt anything but. Because of Lyme disease my body looked different and I was in constant agony because of the physical pain associated with Lyme. So, I usually wore sweats or pajamas. Until one day, my sweet husband bought me a new dress and insisted I go dancing with him. I didn't want to, simply because I had no strength left in my body. I was sure I would die soon and truth be told, I was in a very real fight for my life.
"Well then, let's go dancing in the living room. You used to love to go dancing. Come on, baby doll. I'll hold you and you can sit down if you need to."
I shower and fix my hair and makeup. I spritz on some perfume and paint some red lipstick on my mouth. I slip into that pretty red dress and slide my feet into some sexy black heels. He assists me to the living room and I'm already exhausted just from getting ready. He helps me into a chair and puts on some Nat King Cole.
And we dance. He moves his feet a little as he holds my hands and arms up as though I were waltzing right along on the floor with him.
"You look beautiful. Like Grace Kelly." he says. I know he means it so I smile and decide to believe it, too.
Little did he know how much his kindness meant to me, and how fashionably timeless his love is for this soul of mine.
He knows I cannot do without this kind of beauty, and even with Lyme disease threatening my existence, he knows that this is just what I needed. His kindness helped me to remember that I was born right on time, and that my life is beautiful, no matter how many days are left of it.
Here we are about 11 years later and he still buys me stunning fashions that make me feel pretty and he still thinks I ought to design clothing. What I hope I'm creating though, is a life that is generous and humble, beautiful and loving...because those things are the truly classic things that this world can never do without. Those qualities will always, always be in fashion.