Could you fall in love wearing this dress?

I almost fell in love in this dress. I bought it 22 years ago to wear on a first date with my future husband. We met through Mary Jo Schoppel, a college classmate who had invited to him to Sunday dinner when I was visiting her one weekend. Little did we know he had already had one Sunday dinner, but he came anyway, enticed by Mary Jo’s fried chicken. As we were both leaving her apartment that night, he asked for my number and promised to call in a month. Likely story, huh? I could have cared less, having just completed the one-year anniversary of my freedom from a bitter romance that had dragged on for seven years.

Even so, I was surprised to find myself giddy when he called and invited me to hear the Indianapolis Symphony. What does a girl wear to the symphony? At the time, I had no clue. A good friend and I went shopping and found this 1950s beauty at a vintage store in Bloomington, Indiana. For the sake of modesty, I bought a vintage gold-sequined cardigan to cover the low back. Last came shoes and a handbag. In what now seems like an embarrassing display of striving and matchy-matchiness, I had a handbag and shoes died to match.

When the day came for our date, I chickened out on wearing this dress. I told myself it was a little over the top for a girl who wasn’t interested in a relationship. Why was I trying so hard? Besides that, he seemed like a conservative guy. I couldn’t imagine a vintage dress making a positive impression on him, although I now know he’d have been impressed with the value proposition behind my ensemble.

I wore a black linen dress and pearls instead. He held my hand, opened doors, and guided me across the street as if I were a precious vase. I was an independent girl, but I found that I did not mind a bit. Eighteen months later, we were married.

At 30, I may have had the body for this dress, but I lacked the nerve. At 50, I finally have the nerve, but not the body. That’s the paradox of life in a nutshell. It has been hanging in my closet for the past 22 years, waiting to fulfill its destiny. My destiny was sealed 20 years ago today when I married the love of my life, Jim Hammon. It’s time for someone else to give this dress a chance. I fell in love in a different dress. Who knows? This might be the one you’re wearing when you fall in love. (You can find it in our Bridal and Special Occasion section.) If so, I hope you find a match as good as mine: we’re both nearly impossible to live with, and somehow we have loved each other through it all. (P.S. Happy anniversary, Jimbo!)