Posted by on Feb 12, 2010 in Uncategorized | 60 comments

4345395713_e0c8e76acb_o I don't think I could have pulled the trigger without encouragement from sweet friends.  This was the third blogging conference my Princess Dress had accompanied me to, and she had yet to exit her suffocating dry cleaner's bag. 

It didn't make sense to bring her, not really, but I loved her…for goodness sakes, I refer to her in the feminine and I named her!  {Have you ever named a favorite outfit or piece of clothing…or am I alone on Crazy Island?}

Over a decade ago it didn't make sense to buy my Princess Dress, either.  Away from babies and on an extended date with my husband, he indulged a school-girl's whim of mine:  to try on formal gowns just for fun

A_kRE7NH.jpg The Princess Dress, tempting bait behind storefront glass, easily reeled me in.  While my husband swished through kaleidoscopic sparkle for me to consider, I couldn't peel off my clothes fast enough to try on the singular object of my affection.  Clinging like second skin and accentuating any positive my post-multiple-pregnancy body had to offer, I felt like a princess!    The bodice, strapless and threaded with a silvery garden, veed to my waist where an explosion of black tulle breezily floated to the ground. 

It was beautiful; none of the others seemed to like me as much as the Princess Dress.  The hungry look in my husband's eyes affirmed this.

Reality dictated I leave her behind:  young children at home to dress and feed, a handsome price tag to match her beauty, and the greater truth–I had no balls to attend….  

But love at first site is relentless, and the Princess Dress was simply unforgettable.  I kept my eye on her.  I'd stroll through the mall with babies in tow and often peek in to see if she was still there.

She always was, though her sisters slowly took leave. 

Months later, clearance signs filled the storefront in place of glamor and fun.  My heart, racing, beat me to the sales rack–one Princess Dress was still there!  Two sizes larger than my perfect size, I couldn't've cared less!  I stole her from the friendly sales girls and finally brought her home.

It was the most non-sensical purchase I've ever made but maybe the happiest one, too. 

In the years since, I've worn her out twice (let's not mention dress-up days at home, mmmmk? 😉 ).  The first time was for a 40th birthday party of a dear friend.  The second time? 

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At Blissdom last weekend, where Arianne told me, "You need to wear it but you've got to OWN it!"  She told me how to wear my hair ("big"), not to hide behind the inherited mink stole of my grandmothers, and that I needed a soft, shimmery lipstick to balance the dramatic impact of the dress.  Amber chose my jewelry, and the smile and excitement in her eyes–where I desperately searched for encouragement that this wasn't the stupidest thing in the world to do–told me everything I needed to hear.

These precious lovies encouraged me, protected me, affirmed me, and in a strange way infused courage in me…which led to one of the funnest nights of my life.

Because I couldn't get mentally past wearing the dress in public, it hadn't occurred to me what the response would be.

Oh, my.  It was well beyond anything I could have imagined.

Hundreds of women blessed my heart in the blessiest of ways–laughing at me, laughing with me, does it really matter which?! 

My blogging community declared it's alright to march to your own beat…to be silly…to embrace your femininity…to live large…to own what makes you feel great!  For a few hours I felt like Cinderella, special and loved, and my inner joy could not be contained! 

It wasn't about the dress, though.  It was a response to kindness and graciousness and beautiful hands of friendship.

When the clock struck midnight, the Princess Dress went back to her hanger, happy and well fed.

As I drifted to sleep, smiling, I was mindful and thankful for the gift of friendship and for those who alter my history by sharing life together.  

My last thought before falling asleep? 

Every girl needs a princess dress….

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YOUR TURN:  Do you have a story about how an outfit made a difference in your life?  What about my story, do you think I'm slap crazy or am I on to something?  

Photo credit:  To the amazing and magic-working Secret Agent Mama, who not only made me look on the outside the way I felt on the inside, but whom I'm lucky to call friend.