Fashion inspiration can come from unlikely places. This Written Wardrobe piece shows us just that. Have you found a surprising gem of fashion wisdom in an unlikely place?
“Mrs. Grace, haven’t you forgotten something?” I looked at the elderly woman who I was to be escorting to tea at Van Dyk’s Nursing Home, slightly horrified at her fashion faux pas.
It was obvious that Mrs. Grace was a woman of style. This elegant lady had her silver hair perfectly coiffed. Her shiny coral nails matched her lipstick and pumps. She was always very prompt for showing up in the hallway for tea time and used this event to dress to the nines. Her floral skirt swished as she steadied herself on her walker.
But Mrs. Grace had a bit of a problem. Although she never forgot that she needed to be ready for tea, she couldn’t remember little things. She often forgot my name or that she no longer lived in her home in the South. Perhaps it was this forgetfulness that brought her to the nursing home.
Today she forgot to put on her blouse.
She stood in the hallway in nothing but her sturdy lacy brassiere, her long string of pearls, and her Sunday-best skirt.
“We need to get going to tea, my dear, or we’ll be late,” Mrs. Grace fussed.
“But, Mrs. Grace… Let’s finish getting you dressed.” I pointed her in the direction of her room.
“But I got my pearls on!” Mrs. Grace regally raised her chin daring me to defy her logic. According to the pearls, she was dressed.
It took a bit of cajoling to get Mrs. Grace back into her room for the rest of her clothes. I could hardly blame her. Wearing her fine strings of pearls must have given her a sense of completion. With her pearls, she felt whole. With her pearls, she felt fully clothed.
I was only a thirteen-year old girl then, volunteering at the nursing home, but that little phrase never left me. But I got my pearls on.
I used this phrase often in a code to my family and friends. You see, I too have a personality that can get a bit forgetful at times. Perhaps it’s because I’m so focused on finding little bits of beauty in details that I can miss what is obligatory or necessary in the big picture. Isn’t your final paper due tomorrow? Yes, but I’ve finished the cover-page with the perfect fonts! Where will you be applying after college? I don’t have that narrowed down, but I do know what I’ll be wearing for the job interviews. Don’t you know which hospital will deliver your baby? No, but I know how I’m going to decorate the nursery and I’ve finally narrowed down my lists of middle names.
I’m not saying that I won’t eventually figure out what I need to, but it’s Okay to say, “But I got my pearls on!” I want to say now, Mrs. Grace, I understand you a little more. Life is so much more than doing just what is necessary and expected. Finding that sense of security in a bit of beauty is like wearing that string of pearls. May we all adorn ourselves in something that can bring about that kind of wholeness and satisfaction.
Heather Rose lives in a small mountain town in Colorado with her three kids and guitar-playing husband. She collects lots of little thoughts about living in a big world in her blog Words Whittle Down and is currently writing and illustrating a children’s fantasy series called Knindrome.