The debutante

I am here on vacation with my darling mother Claire. We spent some time today talking about her fashion life as I learned even more about her. Here is a part of our conversation:

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.


Your thoughts?

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2 thoughts on “The debutante

  1. Sweet interview! I love how you’re bringing in women and girls of all ages. Styles may come and go (and come and go again!), but we’re not so different in many ways. Thanks for sharing this special chat with your Mom!

    • Thank you for your thoughts, Pat. I had such a fun time with my mom and I learned so much from her today. I agree – we have more in common than we think and there are certain basics to which we can all relate. Age has nothing to do with it. Melissa

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