This past Sunday, I went to church at my house of worship, St. Target of the Sacred Bullseye. Target IS church for me, much to the dismay of my parents, who sent me to 13 years of Catholic school. But the status of my soul according to my mother is a discussion for another time.
Target is like church to me because it’s soothing, peaceful, and lets me put my faith in simple things like Isaac Mizrahi’s dinner plate designs. I don’t know about you, but clutching some cheap, cute little pop culture pop tart like a Swell nightie or a Proenza Schouler tank makes me feel closer to God’s perfection.
Anyway, I was at Target to pick up a couple of things for the house when I found myself wandering around in the Juniors clothing department. Truth be told, I didn’t “find” myself there…I walked right to it.
“Now come on, Jennifer. You’re 30 years old. You’re getting married. You’re TOO old for this section,” I said, quietly berating myself under my breath as I slid through the racks of cheaply made, mass-produced, totally adorable clothing.
I pushed those thoughts out of my head when I saw a rack of baby doll dresses made out of reproductions of vintage fabric. I literally ran over to the selection and grabbed one to try on. I had always loved the look of these things.
The crazy thing was I remembered the first time baby doll dresses made a comeback, which was sometime around 1992. I also remembered wearing baby doll dresses many times in college, along with long johns, an army jacket, and lipstick the color of a fresh bruise. That was back when I was 19, shaved the back of my head and dyed my hair red, and I could get away with it.
But could I still get away with it now? The fact that I remembered the first time a trend had passed me by gave me the sinking feeling that I couldn’t anymore. But I brushed the sensation away and hustled to the dressing room.
Locked inside a stall, I tugged on the dress and gave myself the once over. On one level, I thought I looked pretty darn cute. But on the other hand, there was part of me that was wondering…did I look like a freak? I stared at myself in the dressing room mirror. Was I really too old for this nonsense?
“You’re going to be someone’s wife for the rest of your life, and it’s time to start dressing like it,” I whispered to my reflection in the mirror. Hand to God, I seriously did this. Because after all, I was in church, and my mother always taught me you can’t lie to the Lord in His house. And in my heart, I knew I had to be honest with myself. I was really getting too old for baby doll dresses. I just was.
I got dressed, glumly slung the dress over my arm, and walked out of the dressing room. As I wandered around the adult women’s clothing section, I sighed as I fingered the elastic waistband pants, the skirts made out of stretchy jersey material, the oversized t-shirts with high collars. The shapeless, boring, bland outfits on display for the over 30 set. Was this to be my lot in life, now that I was to be a grown up married lady? I had visions of myself in 10 years, wearing a lavender sweat suit with a puffy paint kitty on the front.
I’ve got to start acting like a grown up, I reminded myself.
Then I had a vision of myself in a pantsuit complete with pantyhose and enormous wooden jewelry. I broke out in a light sweat, and I started breathing heavily. Looking at the dress still in my hands, I made a beeline for the cash register.
And as God is my witness, I bought that freaking dress!