Marc by Marc Jacobs dress and pumps
When I debuted this old favorite dress to my current semester students, it provoked a flurry of compliments as well as some inquiries about where I shop, whether I am into fashion, what my closet is like, and if I am always "dressed up." It made me feel flattered but also a little silly, so I tried to steer the conversation toward the semiotics of dress (since we were discussing de Saussure and language as a system of signs that day anyway). We talked about how within the culture of many colleges and universities, dress is considered a frivolous or even embarrassing interest. And on some level that frivolity might be embedded in deep-seated (and arguably, misogynist) notions about fashion as primarily a feminine and fluffy domain. It was a productive conversation. And it was fun to have something so mundane tie into the topic for that day. I couldn't have planned it better!
I learned yet again that this dress makes an impression on people. It is difficult to capture the richness of the wool in photograph. When I first saw it I remember thinking that if I was lucky enough to find it around second cut sale time, it would be my favorite purchase of the year. I did and it definitely was! In late 2009 and early 2010 I wore it to every holiday party, event, and mundane errand trip possible. I still bring it with me when I travel in winter to cooler climes. It doesn't hold wrinkles. It looks fun layered or belted. And it can speak for itself. This is one of the dresses that I liked so much I bought it twice (in the other colorway). With the influence of sale goggles and the incessant consumerist nag for "new"/"more" it can be difficult to know which purchases will have longevity and which will bore us, eventually. Although I cleared out some of my lesser worn MBMJ dresses on my shop blog, the ones I have kept are beloved. Even treasured. I might bring some of them with me for my upcoming conference trip to wear to dinner one night.