MKG: Mom, can you describe your relationship with fashion?
CK: From early on I was aware that looking good and dressing well was important to me. I always had nice pieces and was able to put things together.
MKG: Weren’t you a tomboy growing up?
CK: I’m not so sure that I was a tomboy but I wasn’t as interested in clothing until my teen years. I remember when my older Cousin Ruth (MKG: she was fashionable, too!) came to visit my mother in the hospital in New York and she saw me and said, ‘There is my Cousin Claire – the debutante.’
MKG: How did that make you feel?
CK: I felt pretty when she said that.
MKG: Tell me about the clothes you remember.
CK: I remember a pale yellow shirtwaist dress I bought in my teen years. It had a small bud print, a dimity print … is that the word? We have to look it up … I bought it at Orbach’s. I wore it anytime I wanted to look good. The colors agreed with me.
MKG: What else? Didn’t you have a red coat?
CK: Oh yes. I had a red coat that I wore when we took my parents out for their 25th wedding anniversary. I must have been in my early 20’s. It was a princess style, fitted around the waist. A person once stopped me and complimented me. I also owned an olive green Ellie Tahari coat that I loved (originally, I thought Ellie Tahari was a woman). I bought it in Minneapolis. You were a baby – maybe you had something to do with liking it! Years later, I bought a red plaid corduroy jacket at Ann Taylor. It was a Betsey Johnson … is she still around? …
MKG: Yes, Betsey Johnson is still around. I remember that jacket very well. You gave it to me eventually, which you have done so often with your things!
CK: It makes me happy to continue through you.
MKG: The 1970s were a special time for me, in terms of fashion. I was in my early teens, and like you, I was coming into my own style. And you and I always had fun and shopped well together.
CK: Going shopping with you was always a pleasant experience for me.
MKG: What is happening now?
CK: I never lost sight of the pleasure of dressing well. But I just don’t have the ease of shopping that I used to have. The mall shops tend to be like each other and not interesting. It’s hard to find things that fit well when you can’t get beyond the low-slung waist.
MKG: I don’t think they make things for women who are aging.
CK: Certainly not the waistline … But I do remember with affection that yellow dress.
MKG: Thank you Mother, for sharing.
What do you think?
p.s. we did look up the word dimity. It is a lightweight, sheer cotton fabric having at least two warp threads thrown into … and usually white, though sometimes a pattern is printed on it in colors.