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Saturday, October 15, 2016

Tales from #TheDressmaker

One of my mom's favorite sayings is "Nothing perks you up like a piece of fabric." This mantra has been ever-present since the time my mother would either use her seamstress skills or whisk me off on a weekend shopping trip to ensure her only daughter had a plentiful wardrobe. Often I think about my affinity for a trendy coat or a new pair jeans and wonder. Is this vanity? This need to replenish my closet with something new anytime I notice an empty hanger?

My best friend Amy also likes to shop. Throughout the years, we have sketched out several shopping trip plans. Kansas City. New York. Chicago, This year, this has translated into two days. Once in Harlan and the other in Gretna. If you'd ask either of our husbands, they'd estimate we do this every week. But they are quite mistaken. Two times this year. One of those days happened to be last Monday to honor that wonderful celebration called Columbus Day. Whether we were moved by the explorer's historical significance, or enriched by the quick dash to the city, we're unsure. But I am certain our spirits were lifted.

Here's a quick summary of the day:

  • Discovered Nebraska Crossing Outlets by Gretna with its infinitude of stores. As we drove around with our mouths agape, it felt just a little like hitting the jackpot. Gap. J Crew. Loft. Fossil! We were most likely going to do some damage. My credit card was bouncing in my purse.
  • Dashed through some rain (didn't melt). Hit Nike first. The stop was practically an obligation. Kind of like a Target stop for toilet paper. We'd be able to pick up a few guilt purchases for our kids AND pick out those pieces which would either inspire us to workout or allow us to hangout in sweats just a little more than we already do.
  • Dashed through more rain (now pellets). Landed in Michael Kohrs. Amy needed a purse. I had no intentions of making a purchase since I had just bought a purse which I love, but that store was kinda neat. Not only did Amy find a show-stopping suede purse and I find a pair of maroon-jeans that actually fit, we got our merchandise for more than 50% off. Jackpot fer sure.
  • Unbelievably, it had become decision time. Time was flying at Mach speed. We had only made it two stores. But there was this movie, you see. A MOVIE! A movie without the requirement of action or gore. A chic-flick! We decided to cash in on our good fortune and head to the big-screen. Popcorn, candy and Diet Coke would become our most satisfying lunch.
Stef and Amy

We saw The Dressmaker starring Kate Winslet who was amazing and beautiful as a, wait for it...dressmaker. She returns to her gritty hometown in Australia to uncover a great secret of her past and the town's past. (Beyond the engaging plot, witty banter, and colorful attire, there's quite a bonus in this movie: Liam freaking Hemsworth.) One particular scene captured the spirit of our shopping day when the dusty, colorless town suddenly becomes garnished by ladies in extravagant evening gowns, just going about their daily business. This all made for good comedy; but I couldn't help but observe and relate how the attitude of the women had been transformed into an appealing confidence. The power of fabric.

Perhaps there is a sliver of vanity in wanting new clothes. But I think there's more to it. None of that day would've been much fun if I had been by myself. Whenever I decide to break out my new maroon jeans, I'll be reminded of the fun day I shared with Amy. And I can't help but think a piece of fabric not only revives the spirit, but connects people. It fuels friendships. It's only fitting my mother operates a clothing boutique as her retirement gig. She's not just surrounded by fabric–something she loves, but she's surrounded by people–old and new friends.

Mom should probably revise her saying:

Nothing perks you up like a piece of fabric–or a good friend–or a good friend with a new piece of fabric.

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