Sundresses

6 Aug

Decades ago I moved from Minnesota (where they wore sundresses) to Corvallis, Oregon where the sun could be a rare treat. A few years later i remember complimenting a Seattle  bank teller on her sundress. She replied that she had had it for 20 years but because she rarely wore it more than every other year she expected it to last another 20 years. The Pacific Northwest is known for its perfect summer days of sunshine and 75 degrees. Over the 40 years I lived there, I bought and discarded a number of sundresses. They looked so cute in the store or catalog but hung in the closet until they went into a Goodwill bag. Some years the weather just didn’t call for a sundress. Because my retention rate was so low, I quickly started to question my selection ability. I was able to find and keep lots of work and date dresses and I have a cocktail dress that has served me well for 30 years.  What makes sundresses so special?

Many sundresses have halter necklines which look really sporty until I wear one for more than 10 minutes. I have very straight up posture and the halter neck seemed to pull my head down and forward.  If the neckline was long enough, then the bust line seems to hang towards my waist. I may sag more than in my twenties but I don’t want to add to it.  I am smart enough now to just bypass the halter neck styles in both dresses and swimsuits.

I’ve had better luck with spaghetti straps and have 3 such dresses in my closet. Only one has the bright colors and patterns to qualify as a sundress. Black may be a useful color but doesn’t present as playful for a sundress. One may get packed for the cruise as a coverup or dress up but never as a sundress. Too many of the styles either make me look like a barrel or are really designed for 20 year-olds who want to show more skin than they cover. What is the appropriate style for a “mature lady?”

When I really think a sundress would be perfect, I turn to the 5 brightly colored sleeveless heavy cotton shirts I have had since 1983. I know they are that old based on pictures with my sons while we were on a trip. They have held up to machine washing and hand washing. They come out of the dryer needed only a pull or two on their tails, placket fronts or on the pocket flaps. They have survived drip drying and are ready to wear the next day.  Worn with shorts or denim skirts, they are presentable for public display.

My neighbor has a large collection of cute knit sundresses that are even presentable for work. She has a rainbow of colors and they always look cool and comfortable. Maybe it is time to ask her to go shopping with me. I really would like to have a sundress that I can wear rather than just having it hang in my closet. Of course that means I will need to get dressed up to go somewhere. With temps over 100, I might want to reconsider that. Maybe I should head to the pool instead.

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