I've got a thing with clothes. I'm not in any way a fashionista, but I gain comfort and confidence from certain outfits or items.
My day-to-day mom outfit usually consists of sweats or shorts and a variety of nike or addidas, dryfit, short sleeve or long sleeve tees. Despite my rare ability to exercise or play soccer, my inner athlete is reflected in my wardrobe. That, and the fact that my husband pretty much gets me the same thing every holiday.
Today I had a meeting with a new client for a kick-off meeting for my new project. 13 years of Catholic school and daily uniforms has resulted in my need to put on my professional clothes if I'm going to an important work related event. I haven't really had to interact with a client in the past few years, so I was a bit out of sorts late last night trying to figure out what I was going to wear. The pickings were certainly limited by what was clean and what needed ironing. I found a suit jacket that I've always liked, but the accompanying pants were wrinkled and I was too tired to make the effort.
A little black dress hangs in the back of my closet. It's a simple, Ann Taylor number with cap sleeves. It's hung there on its hanger for over three and a half years. It often catches my eye and propels me back to that first and last time I wore that dress. Jeanne and Mike's funeral. For some reason I've never been able to wear it again, despite multiple opportunities. It's always seemed like an untouchable object or a portkey from Harry Potter that would magically transport me back to that day.
I made a quick decision last night in my exhaustion that this dress would be perfect with the suit jacket. Clean lines and professional, it would be perfect. With slight hesitation, I pulled off my tee shirt and pulled the dress over my head. It still fit even though I've lost a lot of weight in the last few years. I put on that jacket and, as suspected, the combo worked great.
When we were little, my favorite game to play with my sisters was what we called "big business." Jeanne would set up a desk in the basement and from what I remember the game centered around taking notes, answering pretend phones and filling out "business" forms that we created. As adults, my sisters and I have joked when one of us was in our "big business" mode.
I decided that rather than look at that dress and think that it was going to sink me in my grief for my sister, this little black dress was going to carry her with me today. I don't know why today was the day. Maybe it was because I was just too tired and being practical outweighed the feelings associated with the dress. Maybe the rawness of my grief is softening. Maybe I just needed my big sister today and that dress was the closest thing I could get.
Whatever the reason, I'm glad I wore it. It gave me comfort and confidence in the stress of the day. I think I'll wear it again.