I went out and bought four dresses. Not for me. For Donna. She decided that, while her leg is in a cast, it would be easier to get dressed and undressed if she wore a dress. It would keep her from getting her knickers in a twist.
I suggested that she could go on-line and order a couple of inexpensive cotton dresses. Instead, Donna sent me to Gudrun Sjoden.
Gudrun Sjoden is not a store I would normally shop in. It is full of bright-colored, loose, flowing, and artsy Scandinavian women’s clothing. The clothes come in bold stripes and flowered patterns. They are meant to be worn in layers. It is a look that one either likes or loathes. Other than some striped socks, there is nothing in the store that I would consider wearing. While I wouldn’t wear the clothes, I am attracted to the kind of woman who does. It is Donna’s favorite store.
I arrived in blue jeans, a black turtleneck, a black Patagonia fleece pullover, and hiking boots. I brought along a flowered red tunic, from last winter’s collection. Donna wanted something just like it, but longer. All the other shoppers, and the sales staff, were wearing Gudrun Sjoden outfits. I felt uneasy; I knew I didn’t belong there.
I approached a salesperson, and asked for help. I told her that my partner broke her ankle, is wearing a cast, and wants to get a couple of dresses. The dresses should be loose, stretchy, and long, but not too long. Preferably in red, maroon, or purple; preferably striped or flowered. I showed her the tunic. She nodded and we looked at every dress in the shop. She picked out an armload of dresses that might work.
Then I remembered the last time someone handed me an armload of dresses. I was thirteen. I had already stopped wearing girl’s clothing. My father died, suddenly, unexpectedly. I was too heavy to fit in my old dresses or my mother’s. I didn’t have anything to wear to his funeral. Continue reading