Dressed for the prom

Annapolis Valley Register - - OPINION - Beth Irvine Turn­ing Point

Dear Grand­daugh­ter:

What are you wear­ing to the prom? I hope you plan to go. Ev­ery woman de­serves to feel beau­ti­ful at least once in her life! Maybe you al­ways feel beau­ti­ful? Even so, if you’re any­thing like your grand­mother, the an­tic­i­pa­tion of get­ting dressed for it may be more ex­cit­ing than the prom it­self!

As you see by the en­closed pho­to­graph, I was once as pe­tite as you are now. Any dress looks well on a fig­ure like that! I felt as if I floated like roy­alty across the dance floor in­side this grace­ful pink bro­cade gown (in an el­e­gant princess line) con­structed for me by my mother, who was ex­cited to have a daugh­ter go­ing to her grad­u­a­tion prom. She let me chose the style from a fash­ion mag­a­zine.

I imag­ine any il­lu­sion of el­e­gance van­ished when the mu­sic started and we danced to things like Pur­ple Haze and Let’s Do the Twist. Still, I re­mem­ber be­ing thank­ful for my lit­tle puffed sleeves. Some of my friends had cho­sen fab­u­lous strap­less styles, which look well in a pho­to­graph but do rather un­ex­pected things when you are danc­ing vig­or­ously.

Women have al­ways fussed with their hair, es­pe­cially when keen to look their most beau­ti­ful. In this photo, my long, straight hair was washed, curled, teased and shel­lacked into a sort of French roll that was as stiff as my dress. It seems to me the hair dress­ing process was longer than the dance it­self -- and meant that I missed most of sup­per.

So, it was a good thing Mum en­cour­aged me to call the res­tau­rant (out­side of town) which mostly catered to tourists. The res­tau­ra­teur was sur­prised to hear how we were plan­ning to come for sup­per af­ter mid­night but she and her staff were pre­pared for us when we came. We felt very grown up to be din­ing so late at night and I, for one, was glad we had an­other place to show off our fancy dress. I imag­ine the evening would have lacked some sparkle if we’d had to grab a burger at some fast food place (not that fast food was pos­si­ble in our lit­tle ham­let in those days.)

The 1970s was a time be­fore there were such things tuxedo and hat rentals. The guys wore a suit if they had one. Church­go­ers usu­ally did but slacks and but­toned shirts were the most com­mon uni­form of young men. Many of them had to bor­row their fin­ery from un­cles and cousins.

I can hardly wait to see your dress! When I search on line for “prom dress 2017,” ev­ery imag­in­able for­mal pops up. There is no de­sign that de­clares “2017.” What a good thing! In this day of stretchy knits sized one-fits-all, it must fire up your imag­i­na­tion to have so many pos­si­bil­i­ties to choose from. It makes prom time so spe­cial!

And what about your hair, young woman? Al­most cer­tainly, a streak of scar­let or bril­liant pur­ple. What else?

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