Dress: Arlene Airess, vintage, thrifted;
Belt: Ann Taylor Loft;
Shoes: Tayla platforms, Target.
Photos by me.
Sorry about the volume of photos, but I was so excited about this latest find that I had to try taking photos in all my favorite farm park locations.
I wish I could claim that I've had this dress for 20 years, because it does look a bit like dresses I wore when I was little, and it looks especially like a certain one my mother made for me. But it does have a bit of a story behind it. I found this at the Salvation Army about two months ago. When I tried it on, I loved it, because it appealed to the seven-year-old in me who was obsessed with "Little House on the Prairie," because it looked exactly like something Laura would wear. I ultimately didn't get because I was afraid of many things: a) that the design infantilized me; b) and it was too costume-y I wouldn't have anywhere to wear it. I put it back on the rack and told myself that if it was there the next time I went on 50% Off Wednesday, I would get it, because it would mean thrift karma exists and that the dress was meant for me to have it. Silly, I know.
Well, guess what. It wasn't there the next time I went, nor the next four times. I moped, and considered myself stupid for believing in thrift karma. Over the next few weeks, I thought of the ways I could have worn it, if I had bought it. The Ingalls Wilder in me weeped.
And then this past Wednesday, I woke up early to be there for 50% Off Day and waited with a crowd as the doors opened. I made a beeline for the dresses, and within two minutes, I saw it. My prairie dress. How could it be? Did someone buy it and return it? Was it hiding in the children's section these last few weeks, only to be hung in its proper section on Wednesday of all days? I didn't care. We were reunited.
Taking it home was another story. As soon as Jeremiah saw it, he made a grimace. "Ehh, it's not my favorite. It's too much like a costume," he said. "How are you going to wear it?"
I have a few ways in my head to style it, but that's not the real point. I first rejected this dress because of how I thought others would perceive me in it, and then spent a few weeks moping about the lost find because it was something that I really liked. Much like everyone else in the style blogging community, I like having positive feedback from others for my sartorial decisions. But I don't want to become so dependent on it that I'm afraid to take my own risks.
Maybe this dress does make me look like a little girl. Maybe it is too dated to wear. It's okay if my husband, sister or friends don't like it. I want to be confident and liberated enough to dress for myself. To wear this dress to the movies, to the grocery, to outdoor concerts and family reunions. To not deny the seven-year-old version of myself, but listen to her, and be happier that way.
P.S. In case you were wondering, "On the Banks of Plum Creek" is my favorite "Little House" book. The Ingalls family lives inside a hill, which is so cool. And Laura gives bratty Nellie Oleson her comeuppance.