Tuesday, May 03, 2011

If the dress fits...

Napa Valley Register
| Posted: Monday, May 2, 2011

When our oldest daughter announced that she was going to the junior prom and needed a long dress, I knew right where to look.

Last year, I wrote a story about a prom dress-lending library at the Napa County Office of Education where any Napa County student can borrow a dress for no charge. Greene’s Cleaners even cleans the dresses for free. And for this mom, nothing is sweeter than free.

I called up Nancy at the NCOE, who gladly invited my daughter and a friend to come check out the dresses at their office on Imola Avenue.

Driving over, I gave a prom dress pep talk to the girls.

Try on as many dresses as you can, I said. You never know what you’ll like, or what will fit. Don’t worry about hems or straps. I can do some basic alterations if needed. Think about the shoes. Do you want to wear high heels or comfortable flats?

It was hard to stop talking. I don’t know who was more excited, me or them.

Arriving at the office, we found our way to the magic dress closet. OK, so it wasn’t really a magic closet; it was a copy room. But inside it was magic. On six or seven rolling racks, next to stacks of paper and office supplies, was a feast of fashion. Hundreds of dresses in every color and size. Jackpot.

I think even they were surprised at how many dresses there were to pick from. One started in the blue zone. Another started at the all-black rack.

My eyes went straight to a pink princess-style ballgown covered in rhinestones. The skirt on this dress was made of tulle and easily four feet wide. Oooooohhhh, I said.

Mom, that is too much, my daughter said.

Yeah, she was probably right.

What about this sparkly stretchy number in deep blue?

Mom, that looks like something you’d see on Star Trek.


I showed her another sparkly dress, this one in deep gray with abstract splotches on it.

Mom, that looks like it has a constellation on it.

I looked at it closer. She had a good point. A white blob/spot on the middle of the dress did sort of look like a constellation.

I saw a multi-colored dress from Nordstrom with the tag still on it. Hmmmmm, this might look good on me. Maybe I should borrow it.

On second thought, maybe not. This is not a mom dress library. This is a prom dress library.

I tried to play it cool as the girls quietly looked, but it was hard to keep quiet. So many dresses! So many choices.

I like this one, my daughter said.

She was holding up a light green and blue gown with crystals on the skirt and a simple strapless top. Mentally, I added straps to the bodice.

Try it on, I said.

Closing two racks around her, she slipped the dress over her head and then peeked out.

I like it, she said.

I stepped over to take a look.

Oh wow. There she was. Our girl who we normally can’t get out of jeans and a sweatshirt was wearing a prom dress. Not only that, a really cute prom dress. One that fit her perfectly, even without straps.

Wow, I said again.

Look in the mirror, I told her.

Yeah, I really like it, she said.

I like it, too, I said. I clasped my hands to my heart as I looked at her.

I looked down at her feet, where her yellow Converse sneakers poked out from under the hem.

Don’t worry, she said. I’ll wear different shoes.

I looked at her again.

No, I said. It’s perfect. All of it is perfect.

1 comment:

CM said...

Wonderful writing, I like how vivid it is.