Home » a penny for my thoughts » The Black Dress: chic or evolution?

The Black Dress: chic or evolution?


It’s Monday. LAUNDRY day.

While hanging my Sunday dress to dry under my bedroom ceiling fan, the thought occurred to me that I’ve become the lady in black…at least on Sunday when I don my polyester black dress. Bought it four or five years ago for a wedding and have been wearing it on Sundays ever since.

Unintentionally and with no designation intended, my “Church uniform” has become me…or I, IT?

But, how did this happen? When did I become this older woman who is now so comfortable wearing black…now so content wearing the same black dress every Sunday?

I recall being irritated by the elderly women in my family who, once reaching the ripe old age of fifty, would only wear black. I excused the women who lost their spouse as it was customary to wear black for one year after one’s husband or a dear loved one passed away. That was for respect! What other sensible excuse could there have been for maturing women to wear black, for donning the same black “Hey, I’m over 50” dress for every occasion for the rest of their lives! Maybe the black dress thing was in their genes! Evolution?

These beautiful women were apparently not interested in being chic. They figured that window of opportunity had passed and they accepted that CHIC was for the young and that DURABLE and DEPENDABLE was what they needed now in their closet. Time was precious. They knew who they were. There were more important things to do than shop for trendy outfits. For some it seemed like, whether their spouse passed away or not, between the age of 50 and 60, black was where it was at. The black dress was a blend of rayon or polyester, no iron, durable, and inexpensive. It usually went well with black shoes or tan sandals.

My Grandmother never wore black because for her it did signify sadness and mourning. She loved color and floral prints and white sandals and bright red hair! I loved her for that because that’s who she was! I am so grateful for all the wonderful things she passed on to all of her children and grandchildren, yet a part of me doesn’t mind the “black dress”. I must not have inherited the vivacious color gene.

I feel very at home when I wear my Sunday black durable rayon dress…my Sunday uniform. It makes me feel like I have an entourage of all my beautiful women from the past following me all day on Sunday reminding me to “Stir the pasta sauce” or “Use the embossed white linen tablecloth.” My Grama is always right behind me wearing an aqua shift fancied up with a string of oversized pearls saying, “Don’t forget to pick the Peonies”, or “Use the fine china today”.

The black dress…

I’ve got to think about this a bit more.

My window of opportunity for being CHIC has passed. I have evolved into a woman of simplicity. I am content to wear a dress that happens to be black every Sunday. I have other things going on in my life that I’d rather spend my time and money on. And when all is said and done, it may not be about wearing the same black dress Sunday after Sunday. It may end up being more about the dear women in my life who wore a lot of black, and the dear women who did not wear it.

It might be about knowing who I am, and never forgetting who they were and how they loved.

Yup, the black dress.


3 thoughts on “The Black Dress: chic or evolution?

  1. From one “wearing black sister to the other,” I loved this post! I opened my closet the other day, and there it was. 95% black. I do not know how it happened either???? So I went and bought me some lighter colored pants and tops. Black is very hot in Texas. I am now in the swing of things again! Loved it and I love your house!!! I could cozy myself within it, with a good book! God Bless, SR

  2. I too like black.

    I think that some of us just value simplicity. I think of it this way: the priests get to be free to turn their focus to other things, and one of the ways they are free is through wearing a black cassock everyday. Makes life simple.

    Same with the nuns (at least the ones who understand the value of a habit) – they wear one outfit every day, and often it is black or sometimes brown or white. There are a few other colors rarely seen, but those are the common ones.

    I used to wonder, why can’t we, as laity, be like them, and have the benefits of such simplicity in our lives too? Why do we need to stand around figuring out to wear, matching this or that color, figuring out what prints go or not – ugh! What a fuss.

    Simplicity has its own rewards, and I think they are much better than the rewards of dressing the other way. 🙂

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