The Art of Occasion Shopping

24 Sep

There must be dresses that crawl and dresses that fly. The butterfly does not go to market, and the caterpillar does not go to the ball. – Coco Chanel

While many girls outgrow the need for a new dress on every Easter Sunday, I still believe in the importance of the bewitching feeling that results from such a purchase. What better way to mark a significant day than with an ensemble chosen specifically for that occasion? (It may only be October, but I’ve already purchased the perfect white dress from French Connection for next Easter’s Sunday service.)

Just as I often connect the people in my life with a particular outfit that they once wore, I have a habit of remembering memorable events based on my choice of clothing. Because of this innate tendency of association, there is a dire need to plan ahead and dress accordingly for each and every holiday – whether it be as unexceptional as another Christmas Eve celebration with my family or as meaningful as start of the rest of my life.

A dress may gain its noteworthiness from the wearer as opposed to the circumstances.  Already in hibernation mode by early December of my first (and only) Chicago winter, I was more than ready for the holiday season to roll around, allowing me to spend some much needed family time away from the Windy City. With that said, I began planning my Christmas wardrobe even earlier than usual (purchasing ahead seems to be a habit of mine). In late fall, I stumbled across a ruby red silk, cap-sleeved Marc by Marc Jacobs dress with a pleated skirt – and I knew it was the one. When it was time for the Christmas Eve church service, that dress paired with black tights and black Mary Jane patent leather pumps made the long, cold winter well worth it. After all, I had made it to the merriest time of the year.

matching the berries on the mistletoe

Other dresses carry an heir of importance simply because of the event for which they’re bought. For my college graduation, I needed a dress that would adequately mark my entrance into the next chapter of life’s adventures. I had a desire to make a spirited exit following the fulfillment my studies, and I wanted to feel fresh and charming as I spent my final day as a college kid. With these thoughts in mind, it was time to shop. In no time at all, I found it: a bright yellow tiered-skirted dress with ruffled sleeves by Julie Haus. Ultimately, my dress choice served as a fitting end to a fantastic four years – and an appropriate beginning for what was to come.

Now, as I find myself navigating the twists and turns of the real world (or taking a break from that bumpy road), I realize that dressing for success is more important than ever. My first of day of work, my first client meeting, my first business trip – all of these corporate milestones deserved an outfit with which to mark the memory, and I always did my best to comply.

me & mama on easter sunday - i always loved getting dressed up!

the perfect graduation dress


One Response to “The Art of Occasion Shopping”


  1. Music & Memories « Right Road Now - November 18, 2010

    […] A big mile-marker in my little girl world was my first dance with a boy. I’ll forever think of this moment and this boy every time I hear “Strawberry Wine,” by Deana Carter.  We were at a middle school Christmas dance (very romantic, I know), and I was wearing a long-sleeved, knee-length red crushed velvet dress.  As tragic as this fashion choice seems, it was selected with incredible excitement for this very event (an early example of occasion shopping). […]

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