How A Simple Dress In A Vintage Store Sent Me Back In Time

If you ever want to take a trip down memory lane, just go to a vintage clothing store. If you’re of a certain age you might find bell-bottom or color block jeans, maxi dresses or one of those silky polyester shirts from the disco era. You may even find the exact shirt or dress that you once wore. That’s what happened to me one weekend this summer.

Girl’s Trip To Nashville

I met my daughter in Nashville to attend the baby shower for my daughter-in-law and soon-to-be first grandchild. We attended the shower, shared several meals with my son and his wife but also simply enjoyed a girls weekend together. We stayed at a very feminine hotel and did some shopping in our spare time. It was so much fun, and much needed as well in this rather difficult summer.

One of the shops we visited was a vintage clothing store in East Nashville. 

My daughter and her husband were planning a 70’s themed party with their group of friends and she was looking for some jewelry to go with the outfit she had put together. We walked into this small but neat vintage store. It was well-curated.

I started looking through the racks of clothes and came across a pair of jeans similar to ones I used to have. If you grew up in the 60’s or 70’s you may remember color-blocked jeans. Very mod at the time.  There were also lots of the silky polyester shirts, flowing maxi dresses and shifts popular in the 1960’s.

My eyes were drawn to a particular dress on one of the racks. 

“Oh, my goodness! Katelyn, I owned this dress! It was one of my favorite dresses!”  Well, not that specific dress as it was a couple of sizes smaller than my dress but it was the same dress.

Memories Sparked By A Simple Sundress

My thoughts immediately went back to 1985. I wore that sundress when my husband and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary. We spent the weekend at The Grand Cypress Hotel, a relatively new five-star hotel in nearby Orlando. It was fancy. Of course, now there are dozens of swanky resorts in the Orlando area.

But, in 1985, there was only Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom and EPCOT which was just three years old. No Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom or even Universal studios.

The Grand Cypress was the place to celebrate a special occasion.

I remembered that I had a picture of me in the dress I found at the vintage store so when I got home from my weekend in Nashville, I dug it out of my 1980’s photo box and texted a picture to my daughter. (Is anyone else’s photo storage box from the 1980’s much smaller than say the 2000’s? The effects of digital are almost staggering). 

I’ve been helping my mom sort through old pictures; getting rid of the blurry photos, duplicates and pictures of things or people we can’t identify. I was sorting through one of the boxes and I found the infamous dress again, but someone else was wearing it. That sparked another memory.

The Origin Of The Dress

My husband was an avid golfer. He still enjoys playing in North Carolina but years ago, he played more often. One of the activities he used to participate in was the Member-Guest Golf Tournament at the golf course community where we have lived for twenty-nine years. (Yes, I’ve lived in the same house twenty-nine years.)

Member-Guest weekend was always fun. On Saturday, the club hosted a luncheon and fashion show for the ladies whose husbands were playing in the tournament. For several years, a local women’s clothing store called Rheinauers provided the clothing for the fashion show. It was a great store, the kind where you went in and the manager would help you find the perfect outfit. (She actually helped me pick out my trousseau for all of the events surrounding my wedding, from my showers to my going away dress.)  The fashion show was fun because they used women from the club as models. My mom and I both modeled at one time and believe me, we are by no means professional models. One of the perks of being a model was you got first dibs on purchasing anything from the show. That’s when I purchased my colorful sundress.

My last blog post was about how a building can hold a special memory for us because of the people or events associated with that building. I guess this post is about how an article of clothing can stir up fond memories. Seeing that dress in the vintage store reminded me of a special time in my life — the milestone of celebrating my first wedding anniversary.

A Tiny White Suit And A Different Memory

Along the same lines, I gave my daughter-in-law a special article of clothing at her baby shower that weekend. It was the tiny white cotton suit my son, now her husband, had worn for his six-week baby photo. I included a framed photo of him in the suit. It was one of those articles of his clothing I just could not part with. I saved it thirty-three years in the hopes that he would one day have a son to wear it. I can’t wait to see baby Leo in his daddy’s little white suit.

How about you? Have you ever found something you used to wear in a vintage store? Have you held on to a special article of clothing? I’d love to hear about it. Isn’t it funny how seeing a dress, shirt or baby outfit can take you back to a memorable time in your life.


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