Chapter 5: Dior Therapy

Before I had my happy life with my husband, I had a considerably less happy life with a different husband. I certainly don't harbor any ill will toward him, but it really was best that we went our separate ways and let the nine years we spent together simply belong to the ages.

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We moved to San Francisco when we first married and had a great Victorian flat in Noe Valley. One day, I happened upon the loveliest vintage Dior nightgown in what I thought of at the time as dusty rose but turns out is Millennial pink. Every time I wore that floor-length dream gown, he made a sour face at it and said it was a very odd thing to wear, which was really quite a disappointment to me because when I put it on I felt like a princess.

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Eventually, he expressed his dislike for the gown so many times that I sighed and put it in the giveaway pile.  And then I gave one of my all-time favorite vintage pieces away.

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Fast forward to a different vintage shop in a different part of San Francisco during a different marriage where I happened upon this elegant Dior robe.  It was love at first sight, and also, really one of the most therapeutic purchases I've ever made. Not only is it a timeless and stunning piece that I can style in retro as well as contemporary ways, but I feel like a princess again when I wear it. And this time, I've got a husband who smiles and says I look beautiful in whatever makes me happy.

Chapter 4: Rural Life, Interrupted

I grew up in a pretty rural part of Connecticut.  When a lot of people imagine Connecticut, they think of the place New Yorkers go to escape the city for weekends, or Yale, or if they're the historically-inclined types, the Revolutionary War.  A lot of modern Connecticut is just farmland with houses few and far between.  Believe it or not, you see your fair share of cowboy boots in the Nutmeg State. I knew how to drive a ride-on lawn mower, tend chickens, can tomatoes, and mulch a garden way before I knew how to use the Internet.

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This look takes me right back.  When I was a kid, my neighbors across the street had horses and cows. Growing up, I liked all the farm stuff, but I was really, really curious about what else there was to life, and I packed up and headed West as soon as the college acceptance letter came in the mail.

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I was kind of surprised about what a rough transition it was.  I thought I would love living in Northern California, but I was only eighteen and I was kind of overwhelmed.  I moved from the third smallest to the third biggest state in the country and I really, really felt it. I felt very small and more than a little bit worried.

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I remember calling my mother and telling her that I had made a big mistake to move so far away on my own.  She told me it was much too soon to be sure, and that I should wait out the year, and at that point, she would be ready to open the conversation again and help me decide where I really wanted to stay.

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The year wore on, and I made lots of friends. I loved my classes. I met the person who would become my husband (and later ex-husband, because some seasons come to pass). I figured out who I wanted to be.  And when my mother called me at the year's end to ask me what I wanted to do next, I could not believe I had nearly thrown in the towel so early in the game.

And so I stayed, and now have lived as many years here as I lived in Connecticut. Time only passes more quickly as the years march on. The places we come from are fated, and they leave an indelible mark on us. In some ways, the places we choose to go are much scarier, but they are also what gives life it's dimensions. With the right mindset, we all get exactly where we need to go.

Chapter 3: Made by Hand

When I was growing up, my mother handmade a fair amount of my clothes, especially for special occasions.  Halloween, first day of school, family portraits and so on typically featured me and my siblings in (usually matching or coordinating) attire made by mom.

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At the time, it was kind of hard for me to appreciate how uncommon an art form my mother was practicing. Especially in adolescence, I really wanted store-bought things that mimicked what all the other girls were wearing; not unlike most teens.  However, as an adult, I have come to realize what an incredible indulgence it can be to have something handmade.

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Handmade garments, especially those made to order, fit so well. And as a person who cares deeply about social justice and environmental stewardship, it means a tremendous amount to know who made your clothes, and from what materials.

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My friend Meileena of The Sartorial Muse shares this love for all things bespoke and handmade, and my love of quality lingerie as well.  The look I'm sharing today features two local designers whose garments are both handmade and incredibly beautiful: Harlow & Fox  and Angela Friedman (on Meileena) and Evgenia Lingerie (on me and Meileena).

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Cheers to slow fashion, classic glamour, and friendship.